heading out and on down the coast was an odd feeling. this past week has been full of the well usual bag of mixed feelings and observations. i actually thought it would be somewhat easy to find vegan foods in california, but nope…at least not on the coast! (i’m so looking forward to meeting up with vegan friends down in san diego)!
when i stopped in this little town for my first break/some coffee, i met some local cyclist all who recommended moro bay’s campsite, so that is where i was heading. whatever town i was in was really cute and friendly. it’s where i posted my last post from. so i point toward moro bay and started peddling.
then there was a series of little towns with names i struggled to pronounce for some reason, so i won’t try to spell them, but finally my hunger won out and i had to stop at one of them for some food. i was told there was a good taco place, but when i found it…all smoked meat! as i walked away, so did another couple (from moro bay!) who was also looking for at least some vegetarian food. i finally gave up and went into a “saloon” hoping for at least some fries. nope. just booze. damn it! so i had a beer and sat to decide my next move. iv’e found that if i just sit for a minute, things will work out.
just as i was taking my first sip, two women saddled up next to me…and we all rode the evening out together! the two women were mother and daughter-in-laws. the mother just started asking me questions and we just kept going. next thing i know she buys me another beer and then rushes us across the street to this other place that faces the ocean, so we can watch the sunset…and she wants to buy me dinner! ok!
eventually i had to pull myself away. i still had 45 minutes to a campsite and it was dark! i rolled in and found the hiker/biker area, but just pitched my tent quickly and dozed off. it was saturday night and the campgrounds were not quiet, pretty, but not quiet. there is a golf course on one side and the bay on the other, and that water just carries sound so well. so i got up and out before anyone roused and found a breakfast place in the bay and try to decide my next move….and my heart got broken!
breakfast was fine….more potatoes and toast. however, the owner (and host) moved here from china and wrote a book about his adventures. i walked around the bay for a while and decided to sit down trying to figure out how a bay that was this beautiful let a power plant be built RIGHT ON THE BAY! i mean really who thought this was a good idea. it was built in the 1950s (before the clean air/water acts) and decommissioned in 1914 by a houston based company, dynegy.
so there i was sitting and looking out over the bay at the paddle boards, kayakers, sail boats, people living on boats waking to their morning routines, and all of a sudden i heard these screams coming from behind me! i turned and saw the moro bay aquarium and the sea-lion sign. then i heard the calls from the sea lions on a pier in the middle of the bay. and then i felt the tears roll down my face. those amazing beings behind me are certainly suffering. i could hear the pain and eventually anger in their voices! and then i heard little kids laughing (they get to feed the sea lions). i can’t imagine what kind of pellet food they feed them. i immediately started searching for a way to let them out. there had to be a trap door somewhere….
i decided i had to get out of town so i just started cranking the pedals. half way up the hill i spotted a juice bar, so i pulled over and sat down and did some research…still needed to decided where i was going. i found a petition that was old, but still going and then i found out that due to the family that owns the aquarium not willing to update and improve the space, it is closing down in 2018. supposedly the city wants to open a bigger better faster aquarium, but please no! NO!NO!NO! no more aquariums or zoos, just stop! there is no need for it.
but while i was at the juice bar, i met a really nice guy who grew up in the area and was getting ready to take his two kids to do some work in community gardens and then spend the day at the beach with the cousins. i started to feel a little better about moro bay but needed a little break so i book a hostile just a little ways up the road in san luis obispo (slo). as i rolled into town, two things happened. one, i remembered the bugs bunny episode where he got lost “should have made a left at albuquerque” and ended up in slo. the other thing that happened was all kinds of signs that put to mind the industrial prison complex, like the california men’s colony…really? sometimes i let myself forget that california has a huge prison industry.
the people at the hostel were super nice. check in wasn’t until 4:30, but they said i could leave my bike there and wonder the town….wow what a town full of homeless folks right next to very wealthy. i found a little tavern to sit and chat and do some writing. there was some religious festival in the park, otherwise i would have stayed there.
when i got back to the hostel, there was a full on party going on at around the table. more than a few people were living there while they were trying to find homes….an recuring theme in hostel land these days. some already had jobs. one person was born and raised there, but couldn’t find a place to live. i got in an argument with a young guy who just graduated from college and got a job right away in the area working with satellites. our argument was about resources allocated to space vs. the ocean. i should have known better, but couldn’t help myself. he was so smug and sure of himself.
i tried to go to bed, but there was an insane snorer and the only one in the room who slept that night. so up early for the free breakfast, (the staff member was so nice), and off to pismo beach. this area is full of campsites, but no h/b so i shelled out 25 bucks for a campsite, but the place was pretty nice and a great little walk to the beach, but i was so tired that it was dinner and an early pass out for me…didn’t even get a page in the book read.
the next few nights were pretty uneventful. some long rides in rolling grass lands that look like the area of kansas i grew up in. in fact kansas has been on my mind so much lately. maybe its the landscape. maybe it’s getting closer to time to return? i don’t know, i’ve said i’ll never go back….yet i’ve returned twice. 3rd time? can i really live anywhere? i don’t know.
when i rolled into el capitan campsite i went for a stroll. it was a long ride for me (54 miles) and wanted to put my knees in the cold ocean, but it wasn’t cold! in fact i waded in up to my waste. i wanted to jump in, but i already had tar stuck to my legs. there are 3 off shore oil rigs in sight. as i was gazing off into the water i noticed a splash, and there they were, the porpoises i was told i might be able to see! it was a joy to watch them jump and play. i decided to stand there and watch them vs. trying to go get my camera and try to take a pic that wouldn’t come out anyway. oh ya! and when the raccoons woke me up, i watched the half-moon set over the ocean-big bright pink! thanks raccoons!
oh ya! and in pismo beach, while i ate dinner, i watched hawks and estreals soar around! one buzzed some peoples’ fire rings checking out the meat on their grills.
yesterday was another 50 some odd miles to my first warmshower host. todd with sandbox coffee lets people stay in the enclosed patio of his coffee shop after they close at 8 pm. so i arrived, said hi and went to explore the area. i have to say that i really enjoyed the ride into ventura. in fact i enjoyed the ride all the way from goleta (and the university of santa barbara there has the most magnificent bike trails. infact! they roll all the way through santa barabara (though confusing from time-to-time due to construction. but portland and psu, you could learn a great deal from how they have things set up and labeled! i was giddy with all the people, of all ages, using the trails!
i actually was pretty much on a bike trail most of those 50 some miles into ventura! and i went through this amazing surfer dirtbag kind of r.v. area just outside of ventura. there was a whole area dedicated to overnight r.v. parking. people had their stuff set up! there were r.v.s and vans of all kinds. people with bikes and surfboards all just doing their things and waving and saying hi as i went by.
so i dropped my panniers off at the coffee shop and rode around town until hunger got the best of me. the two people who served me (caught shift change) where amazing. the first person was born and raised in ventura! also her former partner was in a popular punk band that i have listened to. when football came on, it was time to return to my nest at the coffee shop, plus they were having open mic night out on the patio!
it was nice to watch the sunset and listen to some kind, older, white guys play old folk songs…i did like the woodie guthrie and bob dillon. as people left, i made my bed and tried to sleep. as great as this setting seems, it was some gosh offal sleep! the patio was lit up! and is right next to a busy road. now that i’ve started to get use to as most camps are next to the highway, but the lights! so when the person who opens the shop showed up at 5:30, i was prepared. by six i was packed up and ready for the already made coffee and a bagel sandwich!
and here is where i sit now, having watched the sun come up. i’m going to go a little easier on myself today….30-40 miles. i’m excited to get to my friends and then on into mexico. its a few days off yet depending on my pace. but i’m starting to feel like i should be doing something with my time right now with all the relief needs due to natural disasters. or maybe it is time to finally do an internship with an animal sanctuary? i guess i’ll know when i know.
i feel like i should mention that i haven’t listened to music at all on this trip so far (well the songs stuck in my head from who knows what), i tried to listen to a podcast but fell asleep. i do go to facebook (my friends post news i can trust) to check some news and small updates. last night i thought i might watch a movie on the ol’ laptop, but didn’t feel it. my mind feels really good. its only been 2 weeks on the road, but already feels like a lifetime. i haven’t had a day off the saddle since big sure and i’m feeling the need for it; to just be in a place for a little while. but i’m also excited. the woman at dinner last night told me there is some bioluminescence on the beaches in the area right now! hope to stay up long enough.
whatever happens – i’m having the time of my life! and with all the sweat and lack of shower, my hair is looking good! for real no sarcasm!