I slept incredibly well last night and woke up almost refreshed with legs that only felt like they had been riding for 5 days. After a good breakfast at the aptly named Quality Inn (highly recommended) I looked at the map and figured that I would just follow highway 1 and 101 and be done with this navigation nonsense. I ‘accidentally’ took the on-ramp to 101 south right outside the hotel and was almost immediately rewarded with a nice gentle uphill climb. Not so bad I thought as I drifted down the other side. I was going to stop here, but it didn’t sound like much fun…
After about 5 miles there was yet another long uphill climb and I was too lazy to get off and take a photo of it. You’ve all seen hills, you get the general idea. What was great about this one was that it was really the last one of the day, although I didn’t know that yet, and had a long downhill after it. It was perfect.
After 12 miles or so I came to Gaviota, yesterday’s destination and it suddenly dawned on me why I didn’t make it here last night. I’m going to have to edit yesterday’s entry because this is what really happened….
“With endless reserves of energy left, but the light fading quickly, I had a tough decision to make. Do I head for Gaviota, only to arrive in the dark and miss the beauty of the low hanging power lines and off-shore oil rigs, or do I head to Buellton and see Gaviota in all its glory in the morning sunlight. It was a difficult decision to have to make….”
After spending the 30 seconds Gaviota deserved, I set off again and was in great spirits as I was now pretty much following the ocean. The scenery would just get nicer and nicer and I was making great time.
After an hour or so of riding I stopped at one of the vista points and it had some great information, including something about a bicycle revolution that I’m going to need to research, right after I learn to speak Garmin and Spanish.
I got back on the road and a few miles later I found this lovely thing, correctly labeled too if you ask me as I was just a little tempted.
I was making really great time and had covered about half the distance in only two hours when I heard the siren behind me. No, it wasn’t Herzog back for seconds, but a lovely officer from the California Highway Patrol. Since this was the first time ever I’ve been pulled over where this is unlikely to apply, I just had to ask. “I’m sorry officer, was I speeding?”. He smiled and I think the foreign accent helped as much as my naturally angelic look. He kindly explained that this was not a stretch of the road where bicycles should be and that I should leave at the next exit, which I did. I was sorely tempted to ask for a photo, being a foreigner and everything, but I didn’t want to push my luck and have him ask for some ID and learn that I was a fellow Californian. I grew up watching the tv program CHiPs and was a huge fan. I even got Larry Wilcox’s autograph but that’s for another time.
So there ended the rapid, navigation free progress and I had to start finding my way again. After stopping for some refreshments at the Java Place (smoothie was awesome, chicken pot pie too dry), I headed towards downtown Santa Barbara hunting playing cycling orienteering again.
When I found the occasional one of these puppies it was like Christmas.
After cycling through beautiful downtown Santa Barbara I ended up at the wharf where I took a breather. Thank you Santa Barbara for your “cross town” and “coast path”signs. You are truly awesome.
The route pretty much follows the coast and then you get on this beautiful bicycle path for not long enough.
After running parallel the 101 for a few miles I came to Summerland, which is a really quaint place. I did a u-turn and headed to the deli/grocery store for an ice-cream treat. Twix or Haagen Daz? Not which one to have, but which to have first.
I am under orders not to loose any weight on this trip so I’m doing what I can.
The road continues to meander alongside 101 with no meaningful hills to speak of and then you cycle through the beautiful town of Carpinteria and out the other end before rejoining highway 101, this time with the blessing of the CHP.
Eventually you end up on this amazing bike path that’s separated from the main highway and the scenery gets truly spectacular.
At this point my phone packed up and refused to charge any more so I’ll have to you leave you with that last visual burning on your retinas.
The last 17 miles or so were pretty easy. Riding along trails, past a long line of RVs camping and facing the upcoming sunset. I found the hotel area of Ventura, accidentally rode past the hotel, did a u-turn and was in the hot tub in short order.
After a great Italian meal I met an old race buddy that I haven’t seen in 7-8 years who lives nearby and caught up over a beer at the hotel bar (thanks Will!).
Tomorrow is the “home stretch”, well technically that’s actually heading home on Saturday, but you know what I mean. It’s about 55 miles to Santa Monica and I am confident that I can somehow make Santa Monica be just a little further away than Google thinks it is.
Totals so far:
I have been following your adventures since the second day. I’m here in Seattle dreaming of riding the coast myself.
I’ll be heading that way on May 19th. Your pictures and narrative make me want to drop everything today and just go!
I congratulate you on winning the battle against your cancer and commend you on your choice to follow it up with a bicycle communion with nature. Well done!