Leaving Point Loma hostel is hard. I meet a Dutch cyclist, Tina, during breakfast. She just completed the same route as me, solo. My eyes almost pop when she begins to tell me how a dog bit her leg in Oregon. She has done the Southern Tier with a van supported ACA tour a few years back and she liked the western part more than the east.
I stare at the Pismo Beach Oceano Campground map at the entrance; there are no hiker-biker sites. The camp host is friendly and he talks to the ranger on duty. Soon they let me stay anywhere I want for $5. Next morning, the road leads to Guadalupe where farms occupy the horizon. Next is Orcutt, another small town which I skip and stay on the road. A four person cycling group appears before Harris Grade. Any hill that has a name deserves respect. The group is travelling from San Francisco to San Diego. I suspect they are an ACA group since they carry those huge yellow triangles at the back. We criss-cross each other a few times but when we arrive Lompoc we get separated and I never see them again (not until San Diego).
My blogging workflow: Write article on tablet, offline. Copy pictures from camera to tablet. Insert pictures to article. Go into a town, find wi-fi. Open article to upload. Stare at blank article. Oh well, write it again, I guess. It’s not so bad though. Second time around, I’m like, maybe I shouldn’t have said that, and type something else, arguably better. Life should have been like that…
I am used to seeing Mexican restaurants since Oregon but around here everyone looks like from Baja. Children scream in Spanish. Moms with strollers talk excitedly to their phone in Spanish. The cashier in the cafe has a thin mustache with a don’t care look. Suddenly, I’m a señor. “Señor says wi-fi is not working”, the woman calls to (assuming) her husband. He walks in to a dark room with a phone glued to his ear. A moment later emerges with his eyes aimed at me. I give a thumbs up. He nodes with eye lids closing slowly: “you owe me one”. No, I don’t.
It’s still dark outside. I press gently on the thermarest to push the air out. I start to push the sleeping bag slowly into the compression sack. I load the bags onto the bike quietly trying not to wake my fellow cyclists from their dreamy sleep. I feel like an intruder, a thief. It’s true. I am stealing time. I am stealing calm streets, the cool morning breeze, the gentle lights of the sun, the first cup of fresh brewed coffee. Something like that.
Continue reading “Pacific Coast: Mendocino, Sonoma”
Entering California, from Brookings towards Crescent City. There is food inspection at the border; the guy waves me away. This is Del Norte territory. Small farming towns, curious cows, barking dogs. One of them barks from the rear seat of a car just as it passes me, giving me a jolt. I find a Starbucks in Crescent City and have a different jolt and continue up a steep hill towards redwood forest. Humboldt County begins just after an enjoyable downhill outside Klamath. The road leaves 101 and enters deep into the woods. Last winter we drove here with Bengul and hiked among gigantic redwoods. This time I just admire them from the road, going very slowly and stopping often.
Continue reading “Pacific Coast: Del Norte, Humboldt”