PCS Day 22

May 26, 2016

San Luis Obispo to Refugio State Beach

90.1 miles, 6:23 in the saddle, 3995 ft of climbing

Total Miles: 1197

Today was a big day, although that wasn’t my plan. My plan was to reach Lompoc, where I had enquired about the city run RV park, and was told that there were hiker/biker campsites available.

I left SLO around 7:45 after coffee, oatmeal, and a cinnamon roll at Peets Coffee. It was a perfect day for riding, and I enjoyed rolling out of SLO.

Leaving San Luis Obispo

I stopped just before the route arrived back at the ocean for a quick, well, bathroom break beside the road. As I was doing my business (facing discretely away from the road and into the woods) I heard crashing noises like something big was moving my direction. Suddenly a deer bounded out of the woods just feet behind me, surprised to see me as I was him/her, did a quick u-turn and bounded back into the woods. Had I not already been doing my business I might have peed my pants. But luck was with me I suppose.

I really enjoyed rolling through all the Beaches, Shell, Pismo, Grover, and Oceano. They were neat little touristy towns.

Where the ACA route does a circuitous route outside Oceano, I decided to use a signed alternative that also seemed to be a nice short cut. It was great for the first mile, and then went up an abrupt, shoulder less, and very steep climb up a bluff. I was huffing and puffing up the hill in my granny thinking this maybe wasn’t such a good idea.
But soon enough I was rolling through agricultural lands again. Folks were out picking strawberries.

Picking Strawberries

I found a cool little cafe in Guadalupe to eat my late breakfast. It was spotlessly clean and neat, while obviously well used. The lady serving me was quite nice.

La Simpatia Cafe

I had the climb over Harris Grade Road to look forward to, and the tail winds picked up so that I was there in no time. Once on Harris Grade Road, I briefly had to fight the wind as it turned but soon it was in the hills and the wind wasn’t a factor.

Harris Grade Road

Summit of Harris Grade Road, looking towards Lompoc

Once over the hill I had to use caution on the downhill to Lompoc due to the gusty winds. I pulled into the Starbucks about 12:50 pm. I sat and debated going on. The next hiker/biker site is at Refugio, some 33 miles and a big 1000 ft climb over Gaviota Pass. But as I looked at the winds, up to 20 mph, at my back or at worse a quartering tailwind, I thought I could go on.

I needed food though, so I went to the Cajun Kitchen Cafe, a spot I had lunch at on the 3CR in 2014. I ate quickly as I wanted to keep moving while the winds were blowing. After lunch I went to the nearby Big 5 Sporting Goods and got a Freeze Dried meal for my dinner, and a Red Bull, which will give me a good boost if I’m starting to loose energy. I left Lompoc about 2:15 and headed up Hwy 1.

If anything the winds were an even greater help than I imagined. I was cruising up the gentle grades at 13-14 mph without much effort. On the steeper sections I still had the cooling breeze at my back. I arrived at the summit about 3:30. This was a turnaround on the 3CR ride, and the sign is still on the post there.

Gaviota Summit

The descent was fast and over in what seemed just a few minutes. The winds became really gusty as I arrived at Gaviota, becoming severe cross winds that buffeted me about. Fortunately this did not last too long and after a bit of effort I arrived a Refugio about 4:45 pm. Logan had just finished setting up his tent, and was happy to share the wonderful beachside site. The only downside is the stiff breeze, that I thought would die down as darkness arrived, but as type this it seems to have picked back up a bit. The breeze is warm though, and from the north, or land side (the coast here is facing south).

Regugio SP Campsite

I had no intention of doing such a big day, but it was really an enjoyable day, although a lot of hard effort to capitalize on the wind.

PCS Day 21

May 25, 2016

San Simeon SP to San Luis Obispo

37.4 miles, 2:39 in the saddle, 1396 ft of climbing

Total Miles: 1107

My plan for today is to ride to San Luis Obispo and get a motel for the night and do some laundry and relax a bit.
So I said goodbye to Logan again, not sure if I’ll see him again, as he will be going further today. Also said goodbye to Carl. He’s ending his tour today. He was great to talk to, and has put in some hard days!

Carl, really great guy.

Logan, great camp mate!

I was really feeling a bit down last night for some reason. We had no cell reception, no showers for the 2nd night in a row, and the campsite was really mediocre, located close to the highway. So I really felt I needed to take a break and take stock of things.

Not many pictures today as there wasn’t much interesting to see. At the suggestion of Carl, I took Hwy 1 into SLO, instead the back roads on the ACA maps. This was a good choice as Hwy 1 had a nice wide shoulder an I didn’t feel like I needed any extra miles.

I got into SLO and got my room, and the lady there was very helpful in getting my load of laundry done. And I got a call from my best friend, Gary that was encouraging. I went to dinner downtown and ended up in a quite expensive place. My dinner was more than my room! Oh well, it was a really good steak.

PCS Day 20

May 24, 2016

Kirk Creek CG to San Simeon SP

41.1 miles, 3:37 in the saddle, 2578 ft of climbing

Total miles: 1069

I left camp a little before Logan but he soon passed me on one of the climbs. I was definitely feeling sluggish today.

Kirk Creek Campmates, Me, Edric, Logan, Kaitlyn, Dan

I stopped at Plaskett CG about 5 miles down the road to fill up the water bottles. Then it was off to attack the climb to Gorda. When I got there Logan had already appraised the cost of goods ($3.50 for a Cliff Bar) and was headed onward. I decided to stay and have breakfast, which was very good, if not a bit pricey.

Next up were a couple of climbs/descents before Ragged Point, which would be the end of the dramatic coastline. I continued to feel a bit tired on this section.

It was sunny when I arrived at Ragged Point. I bought a Starbucks chilled mocha and made a couple of PBJ sandwiches while sitting in the sun and watching all the (mostly foreign) tourists.

There is one final downhill after Ragged Point and then it’s mostly flat with a few rollers all the way down to Morro Bay. Our destination was San Simeon SP, about another 18 miles. This drug on for me but I did enjoy seeing the Elephant Seals. The things are huge and just lay in the sand, sometimes using their flippers to flip sand on top of them. They just fill up certain beaches, and leave a noxious stench in the air. But still cool to see.

Surly and Seals

Just laying around

I eventually pulled into San Simeon Village, 2 miles before the SP, and found Logan at a small convenience store getting supplies and a couple beers for tonight’s camp.

The big disappointment was that the showers were closed due to drought conditions, so all they had at the campground were porti-potties, and taps for drinking water. Also, we had no cell service again, even though we had good service in town 2 miles away. I had hoped to do some internet/planning for the next few days.

We cleaned up as best we could and made our dinners. Carl, another southbound rider, showed up and pitched camp.
I’ve run into Carl before, and he camped at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Monterey the night I was there. It was fun to visit with him again and compare notes.

PCS Day 19

PCS Day 19

May 23, 2016

Monterey to Kirk Creek CG

61.0 miles, 5:01 in the saddle, 4893 ft of climbing

Total Miles: 1028

I got up and headed out on a route suggested by Thomas, one of the colorful locals that were staying at the campground Hiker/Biker site. The route went up even more after the big climb yesterday. But soon enough I was descending into Carmel on 17 Mile Drive through the exclusive Pebble Beach community.


I then went to the last grocery store before starting down the Big Sur coast, and the last Starbucks, which again had a deja vu feeling as I had stopped here on my 3CR ride in 2014.

Fueled up I headed down Hwy 1. I got a text last night from Logan that he had stayed at a family friend’s place in Carmel, and was expecting to get to Kirk Creek CG for the night, so I was excited to possibly meet up with him again.

Sure enough when I got to the Bixby Bridge, there was Logan talking with a gentleman touring on a BMW motorcycle. He took some pictures of us.

Logan had heard great things about the Big Sur Bakery, so we planned to stop there. It took Logan asking to discover we had to keep heading south, and up a big hill to get to the Bakery. I arrived sweating buckets on the climb. I had a fancy grilled cheese sandwich which was delicious. While there we met some other cyclotourists, Kaitlin and Dan, who were traveling south. We shared information, and met another tourer that was from the area, who gave us good information on our intended destination. He said the campsite had a great view but no water.

Big Sur Coast

Surly on the Big Sur Coast

The bike I road in 2014, considerably lighter!

I arrived Lucia to meet another tourist, Edric, who was planning a ride that ventured off into the hills on a road near Kirk Creek. When all the others had arrived in Lucia, there was a lot of discussion of what to do. I headed out eventually, loaded with all three water bottles planning on staying at Kirk Creek.

Logan and I finally got to Kirk Creek and I thought it was wonderful. The sun was shining and the site had a great view of the ocean. The ranger came by and we were able to buy a gallon of bottled water so that was not a problem. The others eventually arrived and they decided to stay as well. We all made our respective dinners together and enjoyed sharing stories.

Then night for me was interrupted by my first encounter with pesky raccoons. They came into our site and were up on the table messing around. Our food was in the food locker, bolted to the table. But it didn’t have much of a latch and I was concerned about them getting into it. I never though to worry about the water bottle. I got up and chased them off a couple times, and leaned out of the tent shining my light on them a couple more times. Eventually I got some sleep I guess. But in the morning we discovered the water bottle on the ground drained.

But it was a great day of cycling. The traffic was moderate on the narrow twisting road, but not as bad as I remember from 2014. We had some great tail winds in sections (blowing us into Big Sur) that made the ride even more fun. The ride had lots of climbing and I was certainly tired at the end of the day, but what a great day

PCS Day 18

May 22, 2016

Davenport to Monterey (Veteran’s Memorial Park)

60.4 miles, 4:60 time in the saddle, 2698 ft of climbing

Total Miles: 967

The Weather App said it was 45 outside, so I got dressed with my tights and fleece top. Once I got outside, it didn’t seem that cold.

Davenport Roadhouse, my home last night

I could see all the way across Monterey Bay to where I was headed today. I know it doesn’t show up well in the picture. I was surprised by the number of vehicles at waysides, with people obviously sleeping in them.

I’m headed way over there

What was the big change today, is that I had headwinds for most of the day. Not real bad, but enough to wear me down a bit.

I followed the ACA route through Santa Cruz without a hitch and stopped at a Starbucks off of Soquel Ave that I remember stopping at on the 3CR ride I did in 2014. While the fleece  kept me somewhat warm both it and my jersey were soaked from sweat. I don’t know why I sweat so much even in cool weather.

I dried out a bit and soon found myself in acres and acres of strawberries. The ACA route takes you on a bit of a circuitous route to avoid Hwy 1, but the bonus was the strawberries, which I was even able to sample when I came upon a bunch of them scattered on the shoulder of the road. The were sweet and delicious.

Acres and Acres of Strawberries

Ah, some free ones for me!

Once back on Hwy 1, I just had to push through the headwinds to Moss Landing, where I got some fish and chips at a restaurant on the water. There appeared to some sort of kayaking event taking place as there were tons of them about.

Fish & Chips at the Sea Harvest Restaurant

Moss Landing

Fueled up I headed out for Monterey. The routes gets on a bike bath that runs for miles. The first part appeared to have very little use, but it was nice not to be on Hwy 1 which was freeway at that point. I was still battling the headwinds so it seemed to take a long time and sap my energy to make progress.

I stopped at a Starbucks in Marina to recharge a bit. The trail ran right down by the beach at one point.

Sand City, really.

Almost to Monterey

I finally got into Monterey, where the wind wasn’t so bad, and found a Trader Joe’s for some supplies. Then I headed to Veteran’s Memorial Park which is run by the city and offers Hiker/Biker sites. But boy, I had to climb almost 500 ft to get there. Fortunately I had been warned by a cyclist I saw today that there was a big hill to the campground. I was disappointed that Logan was not there, and didn’t arrive after me either.

Big climb to the Campground

PCS Day 17

May 21, 2016

Daly City to Davenport

59.5 miles, 4:50 in the saddle, 3041 ft climbing

Total Miles: 907

I didn’t sleep well last night in spite of the comfy bed, got packed and over to a Kripy Kreme for some energy food, those soft, succulent round things they make there. They were rolling off the assembly line so mine were nice and fresh.

I left Krispy Kreme at 7:30 with a Google plan to avoid, or a least make easier the hill I knew I had to climb. Big mistake. What looked on the map like it would kind of switchback up the hill became multiple hills and then a wall. I know it doesn’t look like much in the picture, but my computer registered 21%. I had it in the 24-36 and just gutted it out.

21%. Really

Once back on route on Skyline Drive (that in itself should worry a touring cyclist) I was on another long climb, only to crest, and immediately drop back down nearly to the ocean. Character building. But I was glad to get out of Daly City.

Hill I came up

Hill I gotta go down

I cruised through Pacifica, and it looked like a cool place but it was too early to stop. Soon I was climbing again through a eucalyptus (I think) grove in route to the Tom Lantos Tunnel.

Pacifica Beach

The tunnel was actually quite long, but dead straight, downhill (going south anyway), and with a large and smooth shoulder to ride on. Quite a pleasure to coast at 19 mph. And the air was a bit warmer which felt good.

More dramatic coastline into Montara where I stopped for an Americano at a small coffee shop. My computer registered I had climbed nearly 1200 ft in the 13 miles I had come.

I took this picture of a little store (Easy Mart) that was one of the controles on the Central California Coast Randonee that rode in July 2014. I would now be traveling some of same roads I was on back then.

There was a really nice bike path that went along the coast into Half Moon Bay SP. Once I was back on Hwy 1, I realized that may have missed a chance at finding a convenient spot to eat, as I was getting hungry. But you can never go back. I stopped at a Pub/Campground that was open but they weren’t serving food yet (about 10:15). The Krispy Kremes carb burst was completely gone and I needed food. I decided I would pull off the road and make my freeze-dried breakfast lurking in the bottom of one of my panniers. But, then, suddenly a large nice diner appeared, Half Moon Bay Joe’s. Life is good.

Bike Path into Half Moon Bay

Fueled by a 4-egg omelette I headed south. The terrain is mostly open fields leading to bluffs or beaches, allowing for long vistas, and long rollers, not too steep. I passed through an area of U-Pick strawberry farms.

Interesting how clould affect the water color

I had been worried by the forecast of WSW winds, and I did have to battle the quartering headwind much of the way. Fortunately they were mostly less than 10 mph, and often there was some protection so it really didn’t seem to bad.
I felt pretty good so I kind of put my head down and just motored on to Davenport. I encountered a group of women, who were training for a trip they have to cycle in Ireland. I chatted with them a bit and eventually moved on ahead of them.

I got into Davenport at about 2:15, and cooled down in the restaurant with a beer and a bowl of soup for a late lunch.

Beach near Davenport

I’m splurging on this stop, but there weren’t any camping options without going to the far side of Santa Cruz, another 15+ miles. I didn’t want to do a 75 mile day.

I got a nice room and had a fancy dinner, that was quite delicious.

PCS Day 16

May 20, 2016

Daly City – Rest Day

5.9 miles, 00:40 in the saddle, 474 ft of climbing

Total Miles: 847

Only one picture today.

I took care of laundry, bought a fuel canister for the stove, and bought a long sleeve thermal top. I spent several hours at a Panera Bread shop updating the blog, and then more time sorting, drying, dealing with gear, and blogging at the motel.

The motel worked out great. My only issue, is the windy conditions and the stinking hills! Doesn’t matter where you go in Daly City, there are hills!

I had dinner at a mediocre Mexican restaurant tonight, the same place I ate last night, because I did not want to deal with more hills!

I booked a room at the Davenport Road House in, well, Davenport for tomorrow night. It is just under 60 miles down the road, and will give me a chance to catch up with Logan, as he is planning a rest day in Santa Cruz tomorrow. Depending on how I feel after tomorrow, I’ll decide weather I’ll try to catch him! In order to catch him I’ll have to put in another 60 mile day to meet him at Veteran’s Park in Monterey.