2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Wipeout! But, Eagle Has Landed…..

Thursday, August 9, 2012 — Day 50 — San Diego, CA to Mexican Border — 25 miles today, 3634 total miles

Alaska to Mexico in 50 days ….has a nice ring to it…..

Today was to be a ceremonial cruise to tag the Mexican Border ….short, relaxed, and a simple easy conclusion to this journey…… An analogy would be the last day of the Tour De Fance …..where the winner has his ceremonial ride in all his glory…….

My brothers, wife, Cathy, wanted to make the ride with me …she’s active and bikes a lot and knows the route to the Mexican border… Perfect! I don’t need to think and I’ll just follow her……

We start making out way ….and are having a nice ride ….and then DISASTER strikes……

We were riding through the San Diego Harbor area ….there is a lot of construction and road projects going on …..I, following Cathy, not pressed too close …..but about 2 bike lengths behind her…..we’re cruising …..she sees a new pavement patch and naturally thinks its ok to cross …my mind is adrift …and I’m just following her …I didn’t need to think anymore. She hits this patch, and in a flash she’s going down …I had just a millisecond watching her fall and having this sinking feeling of how shell be injured….when WHAM! I’m down hard in an instant …complete digger into the concrete!!! We’re both down and hurt!!!! I get up and see her get up …..she’s very dazed and talking incessantly, trying to make sense of it and what happened. I’d hit hard and am doing a self inventory of how hurt I am. When you have a blunt force blow, you don’t immediately know how bad or which areas are injured. I hit my head but knew my head but was coherent and could immediately think clearly. Cathy could too ….but her defensive mechanism about the extent of her injuries was more cautious ….so she wanted to talk it out …..I could tell pretty clearly that outside of superficial damage ….she was ok …she wasn’t as sure for the first few minutes as she was really dazed.

As it turns out , the concrete section was just freshly poured and hadn’t even begun to set ….it was about 3 feet wide and about 12 inched deep …..our front tires went right into the pit jammed against the opposite side and dropped each of us like a ton of bricks. I was following Cathy and like a lemming walking off a cliff ..i went right into the trap. It happened so fast there was no time to think or react.

We both blew our front tires on the wipeout and I was bleeding on my face and hand …after an assessment ….it was time to try to fix the bikes and proceed to that border …..I was going to touch it come he’ll or high water …..that’s what I set out to do….. But, I also knew I would need to get to an Urgent Care center due to a deep gash in one of my knuckles……

I had unloaded my bike of all my gear for is ceremonial ride ….so I didn’t have tools or spares. My front tube was blown and wouldn’t hold air, I didn’t know right away if my front wheel rim was bent because it would no longer spin. We called my brother Steve, and I told him which tools and supplies I needed out of my gear bag. He gathered them up and came and found us. I replaced Cathy’s front tube and her bike was operable. We determined that if mine wasn’t fixable, I would take hers to the border. I proceeded to replace my front tire but it still wouldn’t spin, lucking the problem was the front braking system was all messed up from the crash ….so I grabbed my tool bag and loosened all the right junk to free the front brake …and SHIZAM! ….my tire would spin. But, now I didn’t have a front brake …not to worry …. No hills and taking it easy.

We were only about 7 miles from the Mexican border before we took the digger. So, we proceeded to the border ….tagged the border …..loaded the bikes in my brother’s car as he met us at the border …..took Cathy home ….and me to the Urgent Care Center. As I turned out, they thoroughly cleaned my wounds and gave me 10 stitches in the knuckle ….2 interior in the gash and 8 to close the outside ….the bash was to the bone …they could see the bone and the tendons but luckily I didn’t hurt the bone or the tendons so my hand works fine ..they just had to close the nick and prevent infection …especially in that type of scratch.

So, Cathy and I are both a little scratched up and stiff ….but ….all-in-all it could have been a lot worse.

Several interesting thoughts come from this…….

Like a mountain climber …..most accidents are on their way down when they are tired, have tagged their objective, and have let their guard down ….this feels very much the same.

The human spirit drove me to complete the tagging of the border …that day …at that moment come hell or high water …despite the circumstances ….why was that really so important …. I don’t know ….but it’s the strength of human spirit. It is not my unique strength ….I think everyone and anyone would have done the same thing ….who knows why……….

As I checked into the urgent care, they took my blood pressure …..the nurse said “well, you’re pretty calm despite what you’ve been through….your blood pressure is 112 / 67 ….that pretty remarkable”. What’s interesting is that is by far the lowest blood pressure I think I have ever recorded ….which speaks to the value of vigorous exercise and it’s effect on your systemic measures…… There is a theme here for all of the USA to GET UP AND GET MOVING for your own good.

So …..in what was to be my celebratory ‘victory lap’ turned into everything it wasn’t supposed to be…….and all within 10 miles of completion of a 3634 mile trip ….sheesh! Go figure. But no worries …I’m ok. ….all is well. If you enter the arena, these things can happen …it’s what you must accept.

So …..this is the conclusion of the operational, or riding portion of this journey. I’m going to wait a few days or weeks before I write concluding comments. I’m not sure I truly comprehend this entire journey yet. I need a little time to breathe it al in ….and reflect before I exhale concluding comments.

Thank you all for your ongoing interest and comments throughout this trip …they have been inspirational and meaningful to me and I can’t adequately express my gratitude.

Stay tuned ….and in the meantime …Godspeed to all …..

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Marines …the proud and few…..

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 — Day 49 — Costa Mesa, CA to San Diego — 91 miles today, 3609 total miles

Yet another gorgeous start to the day…..sunshine and warm as my brother directed me from off route Costa Mesa back to The Pacific Coast highway….

So…..as I got back to the coast road it was rolling hills into and through the Laguna Beach area. It’s funny how your mind works ….because ever since I hit the Santa Barbara area ….the route has been flattish relative to entire previous weeks in the journey….and the hills of the trip have been strenuous ….so once you hit the ‘flats’ …it feels like vacation! And your expectations become flat from there on in ….which it essentially is ….except when you hit a hill or series of them, you don’t expect them anymore …and even though they are tiny in a relative sense ….you are just thinking ‘please, no more hills!!!

Also, the Pacific Coast Highway routes you through a series of beautiful beaches and seaside towns through Southern California ….but, you need to really be on guard….because numerous cars are parallel parked along all the beaches and through every town ….and as you’re riding, you are seeing; doors open, cars pulling in and out, buses pulling in and out …..all into the bike lane.

The strands of beaches are teaming with youth and vigorous life with all the surfing, kite-boarding and other activities …it just reinforces ones desire to always stay active.

For some reason, today, there were a number of different people who stopped, or went out of their way to strike up a conversation, to find out from where I came, what I’d seen, and to try to be especially helpful in directing me through what they thought might be a tricky section, or area where you could get trapped by a harbor, etc…. It was just a day of honks, waves, well wishing, and compliments. I’ll remember to keep that in mind to extend to others in the future when I see them on their journeys …in a small way, it’s a really nice lift.

I had to make my way through Camp Pendleton today …the Marines allow a bike path through the base. but at Camp Pendleton, I missed a turn and went about 2 miles the wrong way to the wrong gate ….this section was hilly, and the temps were about 95′. Is was compounded by my front derailler loosening from my bike and interfering with the chain…. So, as you make have deduced from previous notes, maintenance and mechanics is not my thrill or strong suit. So I had to work on my bike by the side of the road for about a half hour. I could see what was wrong, but I could not fix it to,put it back into the right adjustments ….so I just jury-rigged the front derailler it to be inoperable and set the chain on the middle sprocket …so, now i lost my lowest and highest gears by this rigging. Also, all the handling of the chain left my hands completely black with bike grease. There is a silver lining though ….after I wipe my hands on the asphalt to get the first grease layer off, I perform the next wipe on my bike shorts ….but what really ultimately cleans my hands is when I wash my hair later….so I get the dual benefit of clean hands …and darker hair!!!!

While I was working on the bike….2 really good men stopped on their bikes to ensure I was alright, and had the necessary tools. We struck up a conversation …again, where I’d been, what I’d done, my thinking and motivations ….etc. one of the men proceeded to tell me at one point he started biking the Big Sur area a few years back, but it was so treacherous that he lost his nerve and pulled himself off the road very early in his trip as a result. They also asked about if I ever got despondent on the trip… Saying that people on these types of journeys often hit period(s) of despondency. And I said ‘never …not even an inkling as ….1) I never had a serious problem, 2) my problems are minuscule compared to people with real problems …. 3) my worst days are better than many people’s best days …and they would give anything to change places to be healthy.’ So, it’s pretty easy for me to keep that all in perspective …..thus no despondency.

So…….going to the wrong gate in Camp Pendleton, and having a mechanical issue cost me about 4 unproductive miles and about and hour…. You learn to appreciate how nice it is to NOT lose and hour …and be that much further toward your destination in a day

I eventually got to the right gate to proceed through Camp Pendleton. I was struck by the young Marines assigned gate duty at each of the gates ….how young they were, their fresh faces, their sunny disposition and politeness towards me. As I looked at and spoke to them, I just thought ‘this could be yours and my kid’ …their innocence with a 45 on their hip ….serving. It made me really proud of them and how they conducted themselves ….but I have to admit, it pulled my heart-strings contemplating what they may be called to do. I inadequately but simply thanked them for serving…….

I was uncertain whether I would make San Diego ….but about an hour out of La Jolla, I knew it would be a piece of cake ….so I called my brother Steve and said I would be hitting San Diego and arriving in a couple of hours.

There is a big hill off the Pacific Coast highway that climbs up to Torrey Pines….Ug …but get on with it …..as I was nearing the top of the hill …I was surprised and burst out laughing ….my brother, Steve, went and waited and intercepted me at the top of the hill!!!! We were cracking up as he said, it’s about time to have a beer as you crest this hill ….so we went into the Torrey Pines Golf Course ….and fired one down by the putting greens. The golfers were laughing as I wheeled my bike past the pro shop into the outside courtyard ….they thought I was completely lost and confused as to what sport you perform at a golf course.

From there ….I made my way to my brother and sister in law’s (Cathy) house ….from there ….it would be an easy ceremonial cruise to tag the Mexican border the next day…

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Gnarlyman

Tuesday, August 7, 2012. — Day 48 — Malibu, CA To Costa Mesa, CA — 76 miles today, 3518 total miles

The day started funny …. as I turned in my room key, the woman at the front desk was laughing, she said she saw me traipsing down the alley-way with just a towel around me and a huge load of laundry in my arms …. yea ….I said ‘I had to do EVERYTHING’ she said you could have split loads …..which my reply was ‘yea, but REAL guys only do one load’. As an aside, they didn’t have any laundry detergent ….so…..I told her to give me 4 room shampoos ….and did the load with those ……soooooooo …….if I smell like a French massage parlor……………….that’s my story.

The morning was gorgeous yet again…..and I rode along the Malibu Beach strip. The beach activities and life were already in swing …..and just observing all of it made the miles just blow by …..I was hungry but decided I wanted to get down to Venice Beach about 20 miles away and have breakfast there ….there is a nice sidewalk breakfast spot I’ve eaten at before …and it’s a great vantage point to enjoy the freak show of Venice Beach. In a voyeuristic way, somehow I like to observe the underbelly of beach life …and more-so bizarre areas like Venice Beach.

Sooooo ……When I pulled into the Venice cafe, I wasn’t going to leave my bike out of sight in that area ….so, I scouted a place to lay it in the grass so I could watch it as I ate. There was an unkempt guy milling in the area, so as I walked over to lay it down, I said to him “hey man, how’re ya doing’” …. What’s interesting was to engage him kindly ….but I looked him in the eye and my body language and wordless communication was saying ‘Fokker …I’ve got my eyes on you …you know the movie scene with the two fingers to the eyes shtick’ …

Then he and I struck up a conversation……and seeing the fully loaded bike he asked where I was coming from…… I said “Anchorage” ……he burst out in a shout “GNARLY MAN!”. So for purposes of this conversation, I’ll refer to him as Gnarlyman. Just about the same time there was an old man shuffling by… He hardly lifted his feet when he walked and to me looked like the walking dead. Gnarleyman shouted “doc, doc, ..this man just rode from Anchorage”. …then Gnarleyman looks at me and says he is the doc who is registered to prescribe medical marijuana in the shack at that location. They all know each other in their little zone of influence. Doc was the most dead man I’ve seen in years …like maybe he consumed too much of the store product.

What is funny is that through striking up a conversation, Gnarlyman assumed ownership of my presumed problem of bike security. As it turns out, Gnarlyman was seething up his folding table and chairs…..and said, bring your bike right over next to me …”ain’t nobody going to touch it with me here”. So, without ever saying a word about bike security …he became the new guard. He turned out to be a decent guy …but was old beyond his years …..And sort of had a cross eyed look where you didn’t know which eye to look at! When he asked where I was from …I replied “Minnesota” …..to which he replied “you betcha”….

Gnarleyman then proceeded to introduce me to a couple of his friends as they walked by …..so …. I met Buda and Ocean. I’m impressed that Ocean’s parents had the foresight to name him Ocean at birth knowing his ultimate destiny. :=)

Gnarlyman also didn’t have any front teeth….which in a quirky way, made me think of when my daughter, Julia, brought me into the student section of a Wisconsin Badgers football game. For those of you who don’t know, the student section at those games has a ton of fun and gets rowdy…. At different points of the game, an entire section of students yells “Fuck-you” at a neighboring section ….to which the reply comes back in unison “Eat-Shit”. And so the cycle proceeds “F-you” “Eat Shit” “F-you” …….and so on….. Well, it occurred to me that Gnarlyman would have to be in the Eat Shit section as without front teeth … there is no possible way he could shout F-you!!! You just have to play to your strengths.

Gnarlyman turned out to be a good guy …we talked for a bit ….. But he was just sitting at a blank table ….I said to him ‘what are you selling? …you don’t have anything on the table ..you don’t have any signs….’. He said, when I’m ready you’ll know what I’m selling… Incense ….this whole table will be smoking’. It occurred to me that that was his front to a larger venture. Gmarlyman then proceeded to inform me on how to get south past the marina area without getting boxed in. In a funny way, I really liked him.

As I was sitting at the cafe ..a young guy was riding up the boardwalk on his bicycle rapping loudly with a scowled face and all the commensurate hand thrusts and splayed fingers …in my mind, he was just too young to have a scowl …and, I think the poor kid was confused on the difference between profound and profane. I just wanted to take him to the side and say ….’I don’t care which one you do …just do it well …and more importantly, know the difference’.

On the rise nearby a Muslim was singing morning prayer under an umbrella with a sole admirer as his sidekick……

Again, beach life is counter-intuitive ….you’d think in some ways its the fountain of youth …but too many of the young people are old beyond their years.

From nearby Malibu to well past Venice, there was a great bike trail right on the beach ….in fact it took me south even beyond LAX. As I was riding, a really good guy hooked up and rode beside me …and we rode for about 10 miles just yapping away about my trip, family, what he does/did, he led me all the way down to Redondo Beach and pointed the way to get back on the Pacific Coast Highway leading toward Long Beach.

I think part of everyone’s education should be navigating through LA on a bicycle. You learn directions, traps, and cultures…… Long Beach was an especially interesting section ….it was dirty, noisy, very heavy industrial, poor road, and stop and go ….I think I got stopped at every traffic light. It took me forever to get through Long Beach. It was in excess of 90′ out when I navigated Long Beach ….every retail establishment had the folding barricades for nighttime. The McDonalds prominently advertised Spicy McDonalds. At one point I stopped into a market to buy a sandwich and drink …..when I checked out, the cashier was behind floor to ceiling bullet-proof glass. It was like buying chocolate milk from the window of a Brinks truck. I hung out in the ‘hood and ate my lunch on the sidewalk in my highly stylish biking outfit.

The contrasts between Malibu, Venice, going through Long Beach, and eventually into Huntington and finally Newport Beach were amazing. And then on a larger scale, contrasting it with the Glenn, Alaskan, Cassier, and Yellowhead highways just a few weeks earlier …..whoa ….what a trip in contrasts….from one of the last remaining true wilderness areas on the planet ….to the mass of humanity in LA ….and, through the demographic spectrum …the good guys and ding dongs, irrespective of their demographic status…..

I remembered about a week earlier, when I was still north of San Francisco, my brother Steve sent me an email saying ‘just on a lark, I stay in Orange County every Tuesday night …just in case you make it this far’. Well, when I was coming through Huntington Beach, it was about 3:30…. And I didn’t know geographically just where he might be ….so I called him. He said he had been expecting my call, as he had been tracking my daily progress ….and as luck and supreme timing would have it .. He said he was just a few miles away. He even said he took a room with 2 Queens that night expecting my call. He gave me the address ….I plugged it into my GPS and as it turns out, he was 8 miles away…..and only about 3 miles out of the way of my route. So we hooked up, I cleaned up, and we headed into Newport Beach for dinner. We had a couple frostys at Blackies …a classic Newport Beach dive bar (beach bar) …..and then went out to the end of Newport pier for dinner. We had a blast as the sunset into the ocean….and there were seals and dolphins screwing around just off the pier.

when we got back to the hotel … We yapped another hour …laying in the dark in our respective beds …just reminiscing on old stories and things we’d done together over the years ….laughing away. Priceless … What a great night….. and ….always good to have a bed!

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Cal Highway Patrol, My New Best Friends

Monday, August 6, 2012 — Day 47 — Gaviota State Park (about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara) to Malibu, CA — 105 miles today, 3442 total miles

Well folks ….for the first time in what now seems several weeks, I awoke to beautiful sunshine….. It seems like every day along the Washington, Oregon, and California coasts started in fog or light rain … And then it either burns off, or you travel down coast, get beyond a certain point or spot and you have a different weather pattern. This morning it was crystal clear and warm from the gitgo……

And, this was perhaps the flattest terrain day I’ve had on the trip …so ..instead of starting cold and wet, I started warm ….and you guessed it ….got wet quickly …from sweat

What a gorgeous day all around ….the only problem is that Hwy 1 sometimes runs concurrent with 101, or, turns into a freeway itself …..I missed a sign when I was supposed to get off 1 / 101 …..and there I was speeding along on the freeway again …and ….guess what? Yep ….I was pulled over yet again by the highway patrol. My first question was ….’where did I miss my turn?’. He said. ‘about 10 miles back’. He was another decent guy ….directed me off the freeway …and then proceeded to tell me 100 turns I needed to make to navigate through Santa Barbara and stay off the freeway. Too much info …I got the first 3 turns and checked out by then and my eyes glazed under my sunnies….. Good guy tho….many people want to be too helpful and give you tons of insignificant info that just crowds your memory bank. They also all end with ‘You can’t miss it!’. Ha ha ha ….guess what …I missed it.

So, the problem is you get lost, you get into traffic lights, and you have to do the drunken sailer’s weave through the cities …and it slows you down …but …it also brings you to much more interesting areas.

Tomorrow, I will essentially spend the day weaving and finding my way through LA …they obviously don’t want me on the freeway …so I’ll see if I can avoid the police for a day….

The last 3 hours of the afternoon were right smack on the coast watching all the surfers and kite-boarders as I was riding.

So it was pretty much a straightforward day of crunching out the miles …..

The funniest story is that I checked into a cheesy motel in Malibu ….I was woefully overdue on laundry, but due to previous days’ circumstances ….there weren’t laundromats. So, the laundry is 2 doors down from my room …and, I had to wash everything …so, for the first time in my life, I wore just a towel to the laundry …so EVERYTHING else could be washed ….pretty funny ….again …probably TMI ….but funny to me.

Soooooo ……that’s it for today …. Go to bed!

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Elmer’s

Sunday, August 5, 2012 — Day 46 — Morro Bay State Park, CA to Gaviota State Park, CA — 100 miles today, 3337 total miles

Well? I’m laying in my tent and it is HOWLING outside ….this could really test my tent design and sturdiness. And, contrary to Oregon where the tent blew and rolled across the campground like a beach-ball …I stapled it to the ground this time. If it collapses on me …so be it, I’ll just sleep like a mummy and worry about it in the morning.

I just finished my nutritious dinner of 2 gas station sandwiches and 2 Arizona Green Teas, the big oil can sizes. My body is a sponge and I just can’t seem to give it enough fluid.

The reason I ate that dinner is …basically I’m lazy. I was in Lompoc with 75 miles logged thus far ….and could have stayed put …there was even a Motel 6 advertising $45 …and I’m not proud ….but, it was about 5:00 PM ….and I knew I could easily knock off another 25 miles …I also found out that Gaviota has showers (thats a critical factor for me), and, I knew they don’t have food or anything nearby …it here is nothing between Lompoc and this park. Soooooo….. I stopped at a gas station and picked up the pre-wrapped sandwiches and a couple teas….. That way I just tear and eat ….that’s the way I operate when I’m on my own …..what I didn’t know was the terrain between Lompoc and Gaviota….I didn’t know was the terrain between Lompoc and Gaviota State Park …but looking west I saw ……you guessed it …..HEADLANDS!!! It turns out that there was about 2 miles of flat getting out of Lompoc ….then 18 miles of up-hill, but not steep …and I had a nice tailwind ….I finished it off with a 5 mile steep downhill ….7% grade….and cruised into the park without peddling for the last 5 miles. I got here at 7:00 PM and sunset is at 8:00 PM and set up.

The campground said FULL ….but again, California State Parks accommodate the hiker / bikers and I have a nice spot. Several other campers stopped over to welcome me as I pulled in late ….one saw me eating the cardboard sandwiches and offered to make me something. They became entranced with the Alaska to Mexico shtick and wanted some stories …..

WHOA!!!! …I thought that gust was going to split my seams!!!!! Love sleeping in this stuff …let ‘er blow!!! As one of my good friends says ‘You Can’t Break Me’ !!!

The day started dreary with very light rain in Morro Bay, I didn’t have any breakfast as squirrels stole my cow pie sized chocolate chip cookie this morning from a lower side flap on my panniers, sooooooo …when i reached into the bag to get it ….it was gone ….i found the wrapper 10 feet away. I knew i would ride this morning for a bit before breakfast ….that cookie was going to power me there ….It’s funny because I heard squirrels chortling outside my tent at about 5 AM …but was semiconscious, and didn’t put 2&2 together.

So, I kind of struggled 13 miles to San Luis Obispo and reached there about 9 AM ….the sun started to come out at that point and it was warming up ….with a good breakfast under my belt ….I speeded up. But …I got pulled over coming out of San Luis Obispo by California’s finest for being on a section of Hwy 1 they deem is freeway …and got kicked off the Highway …he was a decent guy tho, said get off the highway, and just pointed to the bike route ….and I’m a natural at playing dumb ….perhaps I just am.

Pismo beach is only about 10 miles from San Luis Obispo …by then the sun was bright and the temps were really warm, the ocean was beautiful And ….fit the first time I felt like I left the central coast, and it felt like Southern CA.

However …I really didn’t see the ocean much today …hwy 1 goes inland ….so I was back into heavy agricultural areas ….Guadalupe is a town in the thick of that industry, is heavy Hispanic ….and has all the service and support industries for ag …all the signs in town were in Spanish. The migrant workers were in the fields ….very by that point.

I then made my way to Orcutt …this is a small out of they way place …I had a chocolate shake and a sandwich …but I was drawn to a small funky bar in town called Elmer’s …full of Harleys ….I saw elements of the biker crowd smoking outside, the rest obviously in the bar ….everyone in their leathers ….I just HAD to go in in my bike shorts and canary yellow shirt …it was too hilarious not to!!!! I said ‘hi guys’ and shortly they were saying ‘where ya comin’ from’. I said one word …”Anchorage”. There was a collective YEEOOWWW!! They wanted to buy me beers. I said …I’ll only have one …I still have 50 miles to go today …..the collective YEEOOWWW again …. I fired down a Bud draft all in one shot ….slammed the glass on the bar like a western movie …and strutted out like a bullfighter in all his glory ….they laughed their asses off …and as I was leaving ….it was ……’good luck dude’ …. ‘Be Safe Dude’ …..etc. Seriously …it was a pretty funny scene.

(As a footnote, one of my brothers, Steve, and I learned the bullfighters strut after running with the bulls in a festival in a plaza in Spain (not Pamplona) what now seems a thousand years ago …but you don’t forget the strut ….)

Whoa again! You guys should be in my tent! So cool! Leo Kottke has a song ‘Hear the Wind Howl’ ….I may just need to dial it in………

Lights out everyone.

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Big Sur

Saturday, August 4, 2012 — Day 45 — Pfeiffer State Park, Big Sur, CA to Morro Bay State Campground, Morrow Bay, CA — 97 miles today, 3237 total miles

Saturday night at the Marina Cafe right outside the gates of Morro Bay State Park. This place is a cookin’ because …it’s a fun spot and it’s immediately outside the gates of the park

I just had fish & chips …one of their specialties ….I ordered the large vs small meal …by the 5th piece of fish, I could have quit …but forced it down ….I need the calories. I have boysenberry pie on deck…….

I know I’m not drinking enough while I’m riding ….so when I stop at a general store and buy chocolate milk, or those big oil cans of Arizona tea …they go down in one gulp ….I just shoot them like beer in college!!!!!! My body is just a sponge and absorbing and craving the fluids….

The state parks in California are jam packed….but it looks like people are having a ball. There are big groups with tents and RVs and big spreads of chairs around their campsite made for large gatherings …I see huge cookouts and kids scrambling around …these parks are teeming with life!

I’m lucky I have all my camp gear ..because ….every Motel along the Big Sur and south is filled ….no vacancy on the weekends in any of these towns. even the campgrounds all say FULL ….but ……but ….but…..they make accommodations for hikers / bikers. So, I slide in …and all the campgrounds that I come into have shower facilities ….so …I’m really happy!

I could have stopped in San Simeon at 70ish miles ….I heard that campground was great, But it was 5:00, the weather was great …so I decided to knock off another 25ish miles and get to Morro Bay …I knew this campground had showers and food just outside the gate …that’s why I decided to press on ….I arrived at about 7:30 and set up quickly ….sunset tonight per my GPS was 8:05 PM ….a far cry from Alaska a month ago. (which now seems so long ago)

I didn’t think I would possibly knock of 97 miles today because right out of the gate I stated with a 1000′ climb in about 3 miles …..Ug. The weather was overcast and fog …generally dreary for about 2/3 of the day …but not raining …it was actually good riding weather. The coast road terrain in and around the Big Sur has huge climbs, and is very rolling in between the climbs. The scenery is killer …but it’s not a fast road on a bike. Today, I climbed to 1000′ immediately (so I was drenched from the git go)…went back to sea level, Then rolling hills for a while …climbed to about 800′ ….went back to sea level ….rolled again……then climbed to 800′ went back to 300′. And immediately climbed back to 700′ …..

I ….just …plain ….recommend …..everyone ….drive …..from Monterrey to San Simeon at some point ….

After the last uphill / downhill …you roll out into flat sea level riding all the way to Morro Bay …. That’s why I pressed on …I was flying the flats pretty well.

There was a beach just before San Simeon that w packed with sun bathing elephant seals ….full of all their grunts …and they constantly use their flippers to toss sand on top of themselves .but it’s very funny because they hit their neighbors in the face with clods of sand as much as they get it on top of themselves

Also, at 1000′ above the sea …I was alone ….I was very quiet, and you could hear the seals squawking and barking away way down on the ricks below. And, it was cool because I love the big pelicans …they look so prehistoric to me …so at elevation today I saw a couple clocks of them from above …it reminded me of a Planet Earth type sequence where they film the birds from above.

I met a women, Catherina, from London on her bike today. She is going solo from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas. She is 40 and is an assistant principal in a school in London. She has done a lot of bike touring over the years as she gets nice summer breaks to do it … She also told me she got into a bad situation in Turkey and Syria a few years back …it had to do with predatory men ….she said she had this foreboding feeling on a specific road in Turkey …and her instincts were right. I didn’t press for details…. She and I had lunch together in Lucia …but I didn’t ride with her …I just kinda move a little faster. She likes to do about 100k, or roughly 60 miles a day and was planning on staying in San Simeon State Park tonight. I pressed on to Morro Bay. I never did see her again today after lunch. Sweet woman …. She is 4 days into her ride. She said every year she has a huge cry at day 3 ….and said yesterday was no different…and then she gets on with it. I’ve been savin’ mine up!!!! :)

So….I’m about 200 miles from LA …..that city will be a total trip to navigate!!!

So there you be for another day……

Now to leave the Marina Cafe ….and find my tent in a sea of tents in the pitch dark…… Done that before.

Night.

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