Day 43: Naming Day

Day 43 (2016-10-08): ~35 miles from Plaskett Creek State Park to San Simeon State Park, CA. Highway 1.

Today is Naming Day! You already know her, but say hello to Josie!


Josie. From the hand-built wheels I made myself and the box of parts, through drop bars and many little tweaks with more to come. to fully loaded crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, pumping through Big Sur, and on to wherever the road ends!

Sometimes people see their bikes and name then immediately. Others take a little time to get to know the bike but then the name becomes obvious. That’s how it was for me with Pita and Old Knobby. But my Surly is different. It’s been through so many forms and done quite a few things. Much like my old Cannondale (R.I.P) Penny, it took more than a thousand miles for the name to present itself. But today, I happily name Josie as my riding partner.

Where does a name come from? I tried to think of something so many times but for some things you just have to wait for the name yo come itself. And as I rode through the beautiful morning in Big Sur I knew it was time. This last week has been my first week of riding solo and it has been quite a ride! I met Joe and Sophie the very first night and have spent a lot of time with them in the last 5 days. We never ride far together but meet up at camp and enjoyed beers, live music, and many good times. In a way, they’ve helped define my solo touring experience. It just hit me this morning. Joe. Sophie. Josie. Perfect.

I barely noticed the big climb this morning. I was engrossed in a Freakonomics podcast featuring Presidential candidate Gary Johnson and so glad to be hot and sweaty! I know that sounds weird but I love it and it sure beats cold and wet. The terrain was splendid and the hills big but smooth. I’d have lost myself in the riding for another hour or two if I had not rolled into Ragged Point after a descent and saw a live band setting up.

It is lunch time so I consider buying something but my options are ice cream or typical american food: burgers, fries, chicken tenders…I just want healthy good! Plus it was all over priced. I’ll settle for a PB&J for now I suppose. Joe and Presley, Sophie join me for a while and we all listen to covers of classics from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Elvis, The Weight from The Band, and more. After a while I decide to continue on – I could sit here for hours with some beers but there is still a decent amount of road ahead and the price of beer makes me want to cry.

Pulling out of Ragged Point I put Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors on to continue the vibe and absolutely flew. I pass a roadie – uphill – and look back occasionally to see them drafting me when I slow and falling behind when I push harder. Damn. Sometimes I forget how strong this ride is making me. Well, only in terms of cycling. I still have wimpy cycling arms lol.

After about 8 miles of hard riding I see a sea lions and turn off to investigate. The beachis loaded with them, most basking in the sun but some jousting in the surf. Reading an jnfo pamphlet I kearn the juvenile males often joust playfully, but as adults this is how they determine dominance to control a beach for their pack (name). Also incredible – although mammals that spend a few months a year on land, female sea lions go 6-7 months without touching land! They also fast the entire time they’re on the shore. Nature is amazing.

Elephant Deal colony at Piedras Blancas

Also, Zebras at Heart Ranch.

Tonight I’m staying at San Simeon State Park with quite a few other cyclists. I strongly crave real, healthy food so I’m drop my bags off at camp and ask if anyone wants anything healthy from the froceey store – it’s another 4 miles down the road so most people don’t go but I cannot go another day without a healthy meal. A Belgian, Johannes, joins me and we ride into town while discussing politics, immgration, language, and more. I am over the moon at the grocery store – the first real grocery store I’ve seen for 3 days! Kale salad, bananas, strawberries, yogurt. 24oz bottle of Corona. Hell yeah. I down the entire bag of salad when I get back to camp. Mmm so good.

I spend the night socializing and topping off my salad with pasta with red sauce and animal crackers and milk for dessert. Tomorrow I’ll make some eggs for breakfast and eat it with strawberries and a banana. I am so excited!


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