Day 51: Hello Scott!

Day 52 (2016-10-17): Long Beach, CA.

I chat with Ken and Kenny briefly this morning but hit the road early to get breakfast with Scott and Amanda. It is 6.1 miles to Scott’s house but I missed a turn, enter cul-de-sac-ville, and get lost in suburbia. Every time I try to leave I find my way blocked by a dead-end, fence, or cul-de-sac. I hate this shit. I add three miles to my morning and try really hard to maintain a good mood despite my rising frustrations at this ridiculous place. But then I roll up to Scott & Amanda waiting outside for me and I dismount the bike straight into a hug. So good to see such a friendly face!

We ride with Matt, Scott’s younger brother, to I for breakfast. Chicken-fried steak with two poached eggs on top of a biscuit. Potatoes on the side. So good! Not too bad on the wallet either, $16.50 with tax and tip. Expensive, yes, but this is LA. And it was an intentional splurge, tasty, and very fulfilling after my exasperated morning. Also, everybody uses Venmo. Love it.

I thought today was going to be a day to visit my friend Carly because Scott was with Amanda, but it turns out Amanda is at a memorial service for one of her old co-workers. Scott and I spend the day together, first joining his dad to watch his brother Matt at a fencing tournament. Fencing is not a spectator sport and I find it far less exciting and romantic than Hollywood would have you believe, but at least it is novel and I learn a lot about the sport.


Matt (right) fencing his first bout against a relatively new fencer. Matt wins this one but goes on to face very stiff competition in this open (all skill levels) competition.

Afterwards I run to Grocery Outlet and Scott goes to Target to buy some study supplies then we just hang out around the house. Dinner is a gross-out salad and some pulled-pork from Trader Joe’s that we mix with cabbage and put on toast. Meh. My generation is so dependent on Trader Joe’s and other ready-made meals.

The funeral service ends around sundown and shortly after Scott and I travel down to the waterfront to join Amanda on the boat she previously worked on with a small crew. It is a tall boat (pirate style) doing some kind of science work. Amanda’s description and photos from the memorial service show a celebratory, not mournful, service honoring the captain’s life – which sounds like what I want for myself. Scott and I join for the after-party on the boat where current and former employees are joined by significant others and friends for drinking games and general good time.


Party on a boat!

We stay for a few hours and I meet a couple of cool people who, of course, want to hear about my ride. It’s nice to share and sharing sometimes leads to very good conversations but it can be tiring to always be the different guy. To be “amazing.” I never want to be famous

Day 50: Into Los Angeles

Day 50 (2016-10-15): ~70 miles from Leo Carillo State Park to Long Beach, CA with a detour to Topanga Creek Outpost. Highway 1, beach trails, and the long streets of LA County.

I hit the road this morning and ride peacefully along Highway 1 until I hit Malibu. I briefly get off the highway and drive down Malibu Dr, a place of enormous wealth. The top 10 most popular cars:

  1. Ferrari
  2. Porsche
  3. Bentley
  4. Maserati
  5. Lamborghini
  6. Tesla
  7. Range Rover
  8. Rolls Royce
  9. Dirty, old trucks used by the worker’s building and cleaning homes
  10. Something else that costs $$$

Okay, that’s not really factual. Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus were probably the most common cars like any upper-middle class area but I saw more exotic cars in 10 minutes than in the previous 25 years of my life. And that only counts cars visible from the road, never-mind what is hiding in the many garages.

Riding through Malibu and into Santa Monica is a crappy section with a lot of traffic and a shoulder blocked by a ton of parked cars on Saturday afternoon. If you have flexibility it might not be a bad idea to either ride through real early on the weekend or else during a on-rush hour time on a weekday. I detour to Topanga Creek Outpost, a very cool bike shop on CA-27. It’s about 5 miles off-route and up a pretty steep climb so I would not recommend doing it loaded unless you enjoy punishing yourself. I had heard about the place from another person touring and happily took the detour. At the shop I learn a lot, from first-hand experience, about the Great Divide route from Canada to New Mexico – something I am considering doing next year. They also gave me fresh banana bread with M&M’s. I love this place! Don’t expect to find all your basic needs here though, they specialize in bike packing, touring, and local bags & accessories.

Topanga Creek Outpost has a chill outdoor area to relax.

Banana bread with M&M’s!

Unfortunately, I have not found a Warm Showers in Santa Monica, Culver City, or anywhere near the beginning of the route through LA so I call Ken Francis, a Warm Showers host in Long Beach. He messaged me on Facebook after I added some info on Big Sur and offered to host if I should need a place. He thankfully offers to host me on short notice and I set out from the shop for another 30-35 miles. Long Day. I expected to enjoy a sweet descent through the canyon but strong, gusty headwinds keep me pedaling the whole way.

For 10+ miles I ride directly on the beach through a winding, crowded, and sandy bike path filled with people biking, walking, scootering, skating, loitering, and doing pretty much everything you would imagine. Off the beach, Los Angeles county is an unpleasant place to ride. On, and on, and on… this these roads go on forever! Notice I said “Los Angeles County.” LA itself is only a small piece of sprawling metropolis that is LA county. LA, Long Beach, Santa Monica…there are many different cities within the county that all blend together since the terrain is one expansive low-density urban area with patches of denser urban development.

I think I can fit in with the beach bros🙂

I pick a 6 lane road with low traffic and ride straight.  On many of these roads there is more than enough room for a bike lane alongside the other 3 lanes on this side of the centerline, but nothing exists. Even where parking is restricted! I’m glad traffic is so low right now…it basically feels like driving on a major highway on Sunday morning.

Driving lane? Parking? Bike? Who knows.

By the time I reach my host I hit 70 miles and lose all motivation to keep riding. My host welcomes me in and I cool down and shower before an amazing dinner. Chicken in mushroom sauce, steamed broccoli, stuffed mushrooms, rice, and a beer. Damn, what a feast! They keep pushing food on me and I fill my plate twice while we chat about everything from Trump and politics to parenting, travel, and more. Then I take a little more rice with the mushroom sauce. So good!

A bed! A room! So luxurious.

By the time we finish talking it is almost 23:00 and I clean up and hop in bed to look at my options for getting around this mega-suburb city. Geez, everything is so far away!

Day 49: Back to Riding

Day 49 (2016-10-14): ~50 miles from Carpenteria to Leo Carrillo State Park. Mostly highway and parallel bike path.

After two full days off, one of which was extremely lazy, getting back in the bike was a bit slow but not nearly as hard as after a week off in San Francisco. I double and triple checked I had everything before I left, since once I left I wouldn’t be able to get back in. And I have a habit of leaving things behind…

Riding along the parallel road and then bike path is a nice way to start the morning but it is still loud as hell. I listen to a bit of news but eventually just put on music since I keep missing parts of the conversation. Not more than 10 miles in I spot something in the water and stop for a better look. Dolphins! I know they’re dolphins because there are quite a few that call the nearby Channel Islands home and they are distinguished from porpoises by their curved dorsal fin. Dolphins! If you look very carefully in the photo you can just make out it’s back. Too bad I did not already have that camera…

You probably cannot see, but there is a tiny tip of a dolphin out there.

Welcome to SoCal, where oil rigs dot the ocean horizon and also just sit around everywhere.

The rest of the day is uneventful and I stop at the free Seabees Museum in Port Hueneme. It’s all about the Seabees, a military engineer/construction squad that also sees combat. It started in WWII but still exists today. It was okay…I am not a big fan of war museums. I like memorials because I believe we should respect our soldiers and the gravity of war. But I don’t like the way some museums, this being one of them, glorify war and military. It was free though, so I recommend stopping. Plus, the bathrooms are nice.


After Port Hueneme it was back on Highway 1 with a nice tailwind all the way to camp. Nothing special tonight, just some Ramen and an early bedtime.

Days 47 & 48: Musing from the Trail and R&R in Santa Barbara

Day 47 (2016-10-12): Hiking the Franklin Trail from Carpenteria High School. ~8 miles (RT) and 2500ft elevation gain.

I have told people, on occasion, that by doing this trip I am living my dream. But what does that mean? What are dreams? Is this really the dream I dreamed? Dreams have been on the mind, and during the quiet solitude of today’s hike they came to my thoughts.

What is a dream, but a subcobsious representation of the struggle between man and social order?

It’s okay to measure dreams by perfection, but measure life by experience.

From stop the hills behind Carpenteria I can see and even here suburbia. But out here, with few trees and vistas stretching for miles, I feel exposed. I’ve been to far more remote places but there is something about the vast expanse that makes you feel small and insignificant. Thinking about this, and about the Valley Uprising movie from last night, I really want to go to Yosemite.

Avocado trees! I managed to find one super ripe avocado that fell on the trail. Otherwise, these were all in private property.

No bears today. Or mountain lions or coyotes either.

Cacti! And very different hiking scenery From what I am accustomed to seeing. Beautiful in it’s own way but I miss the forests!


Day 48 (2016-10-13): Off Day in Santa Barbara
Lazy morning, watching The Wire. Thinking about biking to Mexico. Beyond? Flagstaff is going to be in the 30s/40s in November and below freezing at night. Perhaps I save this one for another spring? Should be a more beautiful ride then anyway. I also read about digital photography. I have long thought this would be a hobby I would like. And while my phone has a great camera for documenting its poor for capturing the feeling and vastness of these landscapes. Plus I have limited abilities for low light, distance, etc. Maybe I will try and pick up a cheap, used DSLR in Lis Angeles.

I watch about 4-5 episodes of The Wire today and don’t leave the house until Chloe comes home and we go out with her friends from high school (who are visiting) to a wine bar. I get one glass. $10. Gah.


Day 46: Into Santa Barbara

Day 46 (2016-10-11): ~ 45miles from Gaviota State Park to Carpenteria, CA via Santa Barbara. Highway 101/1 & Mixed path/street riding.


Slept terribly last night. The wind howled and woke me up a couple times…the leaves hitting the tent had me thinking it was raining they were so loud. And camping on hard packed ground means no stakes, and no stakes means a floppy tent – imagine sleeping in a tent made entirely of flags flopping in the wind and blowing into your head. Yeah, that was my night.  I finally got up, unable to fall back asleep, and went outside to recover a few items that had been blown around. I also scared away a raccoon. Returning to the tent I still could not fall asleep, and tried several times before giving up and reading. This was off-and-on for an hour or two. Great night of sleep after a monster day yesterday…

Anders and I chat while we break down camp in the morning and I hit the road towards Santa Barbara. I am a day early, but my friend Chloe in Carpenteria, a suburb a few miles beyond Santa Barbara, has okay’d me to stay tonight. The ride into Goleta is on a poorly paved shoulder on Highway 101/1 and although I started off strong I am soon lagging. After last night’s dinner fail I should have eaten a good breakfast but I did not really have anything left, so ate peanut butter on bread with honey. And another pack of Annie’s bunny friends cookies. Breakfast of champions.

The ACA route meanders through Goleta and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus. It’s a nice looking campus and loaded with bike paths and tons of bikes parked everywhere. It reminds me of Denmark but unfortunately it is incredibly suburban. The UCSB campus is NOT EVEN IN SANTA BARBARA! It’s in Goleta. Well, kind of. It’s actually separated from that by the airport, so really it is in its own little bubble. Nice bike infrastructure, poor planning.

I hit 1500 miles in the UCSB campus, home of so many bikes!

I continue crawling along, wishing I was eating a scrumptious meal and taking a nap. I stop at a roadside stand to buy some strawberries and chat with the gentleman about Mexico. I’ve been thinking more about Mexico recently – since I am going to be a few weeks behind schedule (and weather near Flagstaff could cause trouble if I go too late) I may go to Mexico instead. For a while? Instead? I don’t really know.

I stop at Savoy Deli & Cafe which is quite busy for the lunch rush and get a vegan wrap with grilled portabello mushrooms and red peppers plus avocado, greens, and dijon on a spinach wrap. It was everything I wanted but not actually that tasty. Dang. Afterwards I check out the 99 cents stores I keep seeing and discover them to be on my list of favorite stores, right alongside Grocery Outlet. Everything is 99 cents or less, unlike some so-called “dollar” stores and there is a pretty good selection. Sure, there is a lot of cheap crap, but I found 70% dark chocolate bars, decent snacks, and other good food items for cheap. Plus they have small quantities of items important to touring cyclists such as medicine, laundry detergent, envelopes, etc. I highly recommend.

Small sizes, low prices at “99 Cents Only” stores.

Tonight I am staying with Chloe, a friend of mine from my 4K for Cancer Ride, in nearby Carpenteria. I pick the keys up form her at work – unfortunately  she works late hours so she will be pretty busy while I am in town. Still, when she returns from work we catch up and watch Valley Uprising, one of her favorite movies about rock climbing in the Yosemite National Park. I’m not a climber, and I think some of these people are bat-shit crazy for the stunts they pull, but I respect them for their dedication and love of climbing. Also, makes me want to go to Yosemite. Real bad.

Day 45: In which I Test my Mettle & Discover the Beauty of California’s Central Coast

Day 45 (2016-10-10): 80 miles from Ocean-Pismo Beach Campground to Gaviota State Park via Santa Maria, Tres Olivos, and Solvang. Mainly country roads off the ACA route on this inland detour. Climbing  almost 3,000 feet.


Heads up, this is a long one. It was a day full of highs, lows, and an important mental change.


Alright, so here is the deal. I am tired of riding along the highway. It’s not that it bothers me, but who really wants to ride on the side of a highway? Today and tomorrow’s routes, according to ACA maps, would be heavily on Highway 1 and pass through or at least near an air force base to stay in Lompoc, a military town. I looked into another option last night and here is the plan:

  1. I tried to find a host in Santa Maria last night.  No answer this morning but it’s early so I will ride towards the city regardless. It’s only 25-30 miles, which means a host would make a nice short day to charge/rest but it’s not necessary.
  2. If no host is found, continue on towards  Los Olivos and then Solvang via the route I saw from this blog post. Get a warm showers near here (there is only one) at about 60 miles.
  3. From this Warm Showers host, follow route 154 into Santa Barbara over the mountains, coming from the backside and avoiding highway 1.

Sounds like a good plan right? Ha.

I hit the road right at 9 having woken up a bit earlier this morning and gotten a good night’s sleep. The ride to Santa Maria is not unpleasant, with most of it on a road with a pretty small shoulder but only moderate traffic until Highway 101, and then very little traffic for the last few miles. Crossing into Santa Maria I laugh at this long bridge (thankfully with a separate bike path) because there is nothing to cross on the bridge. I presume there was once at least a small creek if not a small river, but right now it’s just a slightly depressed field of sand.

At one point this was some sort of water body

Santa Maria is a place I never intend to return to, unless forced. The urban planning here gives me nightmares with its ridiculously auto-centric focus on long, straight roads and suburban homes with very little height. I mean, just look at this road. Fences on both sides, and not even simple wood or wire fences – can’t see anything through these things. And what you’re looking at is one road, straight, with quarter-mile blocks and big electric transmission wires on both sides.

Urban wasteland?

I find the library and feel extremely concerned about leaving my bike outside. Sure, between my cable lock and u-lock I’m not worried about the bike in broad daylight – but taking everything off (4 large bags, lights, frame pump, two palm-sized handlebar bags, everything bungie’d to the racks…) is a ridiculous proposition for a short layover. And this place gives me the creeps. I know stereotypes and the feelings they cause can be harmful, but the fact of the matter is that cyclists need to be wary of certain types of people which signal an unsafe place to leave your bike or belongings unattended. There are a lot of people, possibly homeless, sitting around smoking, apparently doing drugs, and overall looking quite dirty and ragged. Not exactly a bunch I trust with my bike.

I try to set up outside but none of the outlets work but after 4-5 days with only brief charging opportunities I desperately need to juice up my electronics. Before I even get halfway through the doors with my bike the volunteer desk attended is harassing me about brining the bike inside. I get it, I do, but I need this to be a safe pit-stop. I try explaining the situation and asking where else I can keep my belongings safe while using the library but he doesn’t give.

Thankfully, a nice woman from the bookshop intervenes and allows me to wheel my bike into their back room. Thank goodness for her! I fully charge my phone from 4%, pump a little power into my battery pack, ensure my rear light has enough energy for the day, fill up my water (last chance for 25-30 miles and it’s getting hot!), use the restroom, look up directions and make a cue sheet, and do a little journaling/blogging while I wait for things to charge. This was SO important, especially looking back and knowing how the rest of my day went. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Outside the library I scarf down some yogurt-covered pretzels and eat peanut butter on bread as I realize I have barely eaten since breakfast and it is now going on 14:00. I leave town, heading for Foxen Canyon Road. Supposedly, this will be a quite, scenic ride. It does not disappoint. The first few miles out of town are okay, with a decent shoulder and mostly just farm traffic. Then I turn off the main road onto Foxen Canyon and suddenly it is quiet, rural, and peaceful. The patches of bright green amid a sea of brown remind me that somehow these farmers continue to find water despite the severe drought. That’s a social/economic/political debate he whole country needs to address…

Irrgation (noun): Bringing water to the desert.

For the most part I’ve seen nothing but farms in the central coast but today it’s wineries. Everything is still dry as heck but these little oases sprout up everywhere with green laws, gated driveways, and fancy architecture to draw in wine tasters and sell what I imagine to be very expensive wines. Very few cars actually pass me going the same direction and only a handful more are heading northbound. I see almost as many small fuzzy friends as I do cars.

One of the spiders I saw out here. Sock for size. The thing’s legs are so long it is at least a few inches across AND its body is an inch or more above the ground.


I am slowly climbing for a while until about 20 miles outside of Santa Maria (45 miles so far today) when I hit the first long climb of Foxen Canyon Road. The slow climb has drained me and I move pretty slowly up the twisting road through scrublands, distracted as much as possible by Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton of Ask Me Another. Flying down the other side I feel refreshed, that is until I come to the next climb and am forced to stop and pull out my Camelback because my bottles are empty. I really don’t have any food and have been eating shitty snacks all day so, after eating a few more handfuls of snacks, I decide I need to be healthier. So I pull out a piece of bread and eat it. Nothing else, just the bread. I get out a second and munch on it as I continue climbing at a paltry 4-5mph.

Cresting the hill I cheer and soon notice the beauty I had been missing in the canyon. In the spring time the road’s attraction is the blooming flowers and (hopefully) green growth but after a long, dry summer the real beauty is in the outstanding views over the land. By this time it is going on 5pm and as the days get shorter I start to see the land in a new light as the sun sets. Photo’s do not even come close to doing this justice. From my spot atop the hill I could see for miles in every direction. I see the sun, the shadow, and all the space between where the light is absorbed by scrub-land and vineyard and reflected off the sand. The downhill comes, and I know I am on my way into the small town of Los Olivos. I forget speed and stand up, feeling the wind wick away the sweat and the sun bathe me in golden light. I will always keep a snapshot of these moments in my mind (sketches to come)

Los Olivos is a tiny town in wine country and it is filled with Tasting Rooms. I ignore these, which are mostly closed anyway, and immediately head to church. Yes, you read that right – church. St. Mark’s is a bastion for the weary traveler, with free bathrooms, water, a courtyard and lawn to rest, and even wifi. The sign reads “These doors are open for people of all faiths or none” so I gleefully rest and get much-needed water. At this point I still haven’t heard from a Warm Showers host and I heard riding route 154 is akin to accepting death, so I don’t know where I will stay tonight or how I will get there.

I try the local market for info, and ask a few folks about where I can pitch a tent nearby. I am hoping to get an offer of “oh you poor thing, you’re so tired and dirty. Come stay with us!” Instead I leave with a banana, a 22 of Firestone IPA, and still no idea where I am going to stay. It’s abut this time that I say to myself, “It’s okay. Stop worrying. You have water. That alone is your concern, so now just let it go. Just let it go.” I feel myself calming down, accepting that my plans have fallen apart but all is not lost. I feel rejuvenated and, once I let go of my concerns, a weight is lifted from my shoulders. All I can do is make a plan and hope for the best, but when it goes awry I must just carry on. And so I do.

I return to the church and give the Warm Showers host one more call and this time get an answer. He’s in the wine business and has been working doubles to finish the harvest. He apologizes but cannot host. Okay, not surprised. So now what? He is helpful with information but I am not taking his advice to backtrack a few miles and then ride 20 miles on Highway 101. I went this way specifically to avoid the highway. Instead, I hop on the wifi and look for an alternate route. Google routes me through a few country roads to 101 way further south, just a couple miles north of where I would have come out had I followed the ACA route. Okay, I can do this.

I return to my bike, say farewell to the church oasis, and continue south. I neither push nor lag, but ride at an steady pace. What’s the rush? I still have 20 miles to go and about an hour of light. I won’t make it to Gaviota State Park by then but I have lights. So I ride. Past orchards, vineyards, and through the weird touristy town of Solvang that is supposedly a Danish town, but I think it’s mostly kitchy. I’d love to stop and examine it further but it’s juts not in the cards today.

Past Solvang I descend into the coolness of a valley and get 360 degrees of breathtaking sky. Golden rays streak through puffy clouds on a backdrop of pinks, reds, and yellows. The road briefly becomes a quite country road before turning into a one-lane road through the most trees I’ve seen in days. By this point sunset is in full swing and the noise of the world silenced by dusk, the stillness, and the soft glow of sunset coming over the hills. This quiet, this odd shelter of trees amid vast openness is odd but immensely comforting after such a long, dusty day of worry. I bid farewell to the sun until I turn a sharp corner after a quick climb and it’s final rays blow up the sky. Now back into the valley and darkness with its chill.

My front bike light dims to a pitiful glow before dousing completely, and I pull out my headlamp and flashlight extension for my little speaker (thanks Lindsey, this thing rocks!). I wedge the flashlight between the junk on my front rack so I can see the road and strap the headlamp on so I can see my handwritten directions. Through the night I pass a few people sitting in trucks along the road, presumably waiting for the sky to unleash a furry of stars. I pass a plenty of quite places and a small county park knowing I could stealth camp under the cover of darkness. Still, I press on. I am still uncomfortable with the idea of stealth camping anywhere but at this point I am not even worried, just determined to finish the day my way.

I come to a T in the road, my directions indicating to make a left to continue south. I see 101 in the distance and know I need to head south but the way is marked. “No Outlet.” From Google Maps I know this will drop connect me to 101 but perhaps Google is outdated. What the fuck, I’ve been out for 10 hours already, found solace i a church, and came to terms with my inability to control all the pieces. SI have faith. I make that left. Thinking about the church makes me consider what would happen if I had met the priest. Would he ask if I was a believer? The answer comes easy.


“Father, I do not know about a God. My faith is in people. In the goodness of them. Like your faith in God, sometimes I have doubts. Sometimes I find faith hard. But we are a people, a shared humanity. What are we without faith in ourselves. And my faith is in the Earth. She gives us everything, far more than we deserve. And she keeps giving. That’s faith.

I round a bend and ignore the “Do Not Enter” sign as I ride down an off-ramp for northbound 101. I ride the wide turnout for a minute before crossing to the southbound side at a whole in the median. I fly downhill, slowed only by the distance of my light and the threat of unseen debris on the shoulder. Down to where 101 connects with 1 and on to Gaviota State Park. Of course, beginning October first the campground is day use only during the week. it’s Monday. I apologize to the to the innocent plants as I trample through succulents to bypass the gate. A loop around the park exposes Anders, my fellow cyclist, who has talked to the camp host and had a shower and bathroom unlocked. One more loop around the campground puts me at a slid 80 miles. Longest day yet.

I set up my tent, enjoy a very hot shower, and drink that incredibly rewarding beer. Dinner is peanut butter on bread inside the tent. I just don’t care enough to cook, even though I should. It’s time to rest. What a day!


For those who are curious, here is my route. I would totally recommend this as an alternate, especially if you can find a Warm Showers host, stealth camp, or stay in an AirBnB/hotel.


Day 44: More Brown & Yellow

Day 44 (2016-10-09): ~55 miles from San Simeon State Park to Oceano Campground in Pismo Beach State Park, CA. Highway 1 + some side roads.

Last night I was up pretty late, first reading then struggling to fall asleep with the people in the next camp site yelling and banging on shit pretty late. Eventually I yelled out from my tent (which got a negative response) but someone else must have come over and said something because they soon quieted down. I slept in a bit and by the time I emerged at 8:00 most of the other bikers had already eaten and were packing up.

I leave by 10 and pass through Cambria again to seek wifi, a quick charge, and to check out the scarecrows. October is their annual Scarecrow Festival where the whole town is decked-out with beautiful scarecrows. Check them out!

This is an annual event in October. I highly recommend stopping in Cambria if you come through at this time, even if it is a detour.

From Cambria I cruise onto Chayucos, listening to podcasts when traffic is low enough to hear it. The landscape is rolling hills of brown and yellow with very little to see. I roll into town and stop at Top Dog Coffee shop, where I get an ice tea and publish two blogs to try to catch/keep up. I’m trying to find a Warm Showers host in San Luis Obispo so I can check out the town but so far I’ve received three no’s and a few other folks don’t have phone numbers so I cannot follow-up my request with a call. I really hope I can stay there – a bed would be really nice and I have not showered in three days. But mostly I don’t want to bypass the town to make it to a hiker-biker campsite to the south. The rest of the day passes like most of the days out here in this barren land…hot sun, cool breeze, and hills of brown and yellow towards on the way to San Luis Obispo. I’m trying to drink enough water and eat enough food but still feeling out of it today.

I’m striking out hard on Warm Showers. I messaged 6 people and so far 5 have responded with a no. Right now I’m at Grocery Outlet just outside the city. Of I don’t get an answer soon I will regrettably pass the city by and head to Pismo Beach for a hiker-biker.

This is what the terrain is going to look like for several days.

Speaking of Grocery Outlet, let me reaffirm that I LOVE GROCERY OUTLET. It is by far my favorite store. In addition to super deals on a variety of goods from candy to health smoothies, they are the perfect place for touring cyclists. Snacks are varied and affordable and – best of all – I’ve never had a problem wheeling my bike inside to protect all my things. When I rolled up some guy tried to sell me acid (like the drug) or weed. Talked about being homeless and asked if I had an extra front light. I was super sketched about leaving my bike outside so asked to bring it in – no problem. Most stores I don’t even ask, but today I was worried about blocking the aisle because there was not much room. Not a problem. Thanks Grocery Outlet!

By this point I am not excited to continue on since I had hoped to stay in SLO for the night, but I ride another 10 miles or so along frontage roads to meet Anders, Joe, and Sophie at Oceano-Pismo Beach Campground. It’s not a hiker/biker setup as there are none in this section, but splitting it between the 4 of us is only $7 each. I take a long shower, the first in 3 days, and check the maps and talk to Anders about plans. I consult the same blog that gave me the detour to Pescadero and find an alternate route to get off Highway 1 and follow some country roads towards Solvang. Perhaps a back route into Santa Barbara as well.

See the little guy in the center, between the bushes? At one point he was like 15 feet from me!

My plan is to start out towards Santa Maria tomorrow and contact Warm Showers hosts there to make for a short rest day where I can rest and charge my electronics. From there, a medium length day to another Warm Showers host near Solvang. Finally, the back road with a lot of climbing into Santa Barbara, past Lake Cachuma. Perhaps camp there instead of the Warm Showers. I’ll figure it out tomorrow.

I hop in the tent early and rad for only a short while, since I  am feeling tired and am unsure how tomorrow will go. I’ll try to get an early start.