Sea Monster in Santa Barbara


The fact that we spent a Friday night in the dugouts near the school meant that we had no rush getting up early.  Only 2 days and 60 miles from Santa Barbara, our easy pace meant we could spend more time writing and getting sidetracked.  We awoke to light rain and after reloading our bikes (no tent to put away-thanks dugouts!) we headed to a bakery in town.

The bakery was an interesting place.  The coffee was fine and we sat for a while, catching up on journalling (I at least; Lizzy says she stopped on day 8…) and writing post cards.  The owner gave Lizzy and I looks that said, “I am a grumpy man that is overly concerned about the presentation of my food and I’m not going to treat my customers equally.”  I won’t spend much time on him but the take home message is DON’T EVER GO TO BOB’S WELL BREAD BAKERY in Los Alamos, California.  Lizzy and I were bummed about our negative experience as we wrote- but a nice waiter asked us if we wanted coffee refills and that helped heal our spirits.

We left, took some dumpster bread, and headed a couple blocks to the post office.  After dropping our outgoing mail, we walked inside to see the long row of P.O. Boxes with alphabetical combination locks.  We were alone, or so we thought…  “OoooOoooOoooooo…” we heard in a ghost-like tone (or something like this).  Lizzy and I got real spooked and heard some rattling in the PO boxes.  Before we were able to speed out of there the woman loading the PO boxes informed us that the post office wasn’t haunted but that she was just doing her job.  She was another friendly Los Alamonian, and even ran outside to collect our “late” mail.  Maybe there’s just one bad egg in Los Alamos (Bob).

 

Lizzy and I biked a short while to Buellton, where we planned to make a library pitstop and grab some groceries for our final stretch before Santa Barbara. In town, while looking for the library, we stopped at the visitor center where Lizzy and I found books for the train and chatted with an incredibly helpful woman running the center. Not only did she give us very easy to understand library directions, but she made sure that we left with a very helpful Santa Barbara County bicycling map. The map was soon marked with points of interest in Santa Barbara like our host’s house, grocery stores, the library, and the train station.

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The library won the very special award of world’s slowest computer (and blocked the blogging site after 25 minutes or so…) We went to Albertson’s where we loaded up on snacks and where we received a very nice phone call from our friend Kyle (RIP Kyle). UPDATE: Kyle is NOT DEAD, and is really enjoying his farming internship, and totally went over his handlebars when he was riding one-handed in Berkley and hit a pot hole.

We left town after applying a shiny sheen of shea butter sunscreen. The signage along the highway reminded us of how close to our destination we were getting… After a final climb we made a memorable descent from around 1200 feet to sea level. Cruising through mountains and over rivers we reached our saltwater comfort that we’d been with for so much of the tour.

We’d been away from the ocean for a while and we all reunited at the bottom of this hill. It was nice to be back. To no one’s surprise we also encountered 15-25 mph winds. Luckily they were from the the north/west, which meant we had tail/cross winds. It was a pleasant reward from the cyclescoot lords…

Lizzy and I biked about 20 miles more to our campground, with 3-4 oil rigs on the right and hills owned by wildflowers on the left. Lizzy stopped at one point and pointed to something on the road. I thought, “what cool garbage did you find Liz?” I inspected as I approached Lizzy and SNAKE! BIG SCARY SNAKE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOULDER.

The wind continued late into the evening- This provided much entertainment and even though it was very windy, the sun and warm Southern California air made for lovely conditions.

Lizzy and I collected firewood and cooked the celebratory veggie dogs we’d bought earlier. We used a perfect rack we found at the beach to cook our dogs on; FLAWLESS. The breeze through our open tent on our last night of camping kept us cool and was a nice treat.

The next morning we had a symbolic 17 miles to our host’s in Santa Barbara. The day of riding would be short but we had a “busy” day of “things to do” ahead of us.

We rolled into town- We had made it the 1000+ miles to Santa Barbara. We felt good for this accomplishment; but honestly we never doubted we’d make it, and we didn’t achieve any amazing feats (although getting around that landslide on Highway 1 and all the sneaky camping we did will be included in some of the greatest heists of the century…)

We were both happy to arrive without the use of buses or cars (except for the 50 miles during the high wind advisory). We dropped some gear at our host’s and we headed to the library.

Lizzy and I had made very specific plans to swim in a very specific body of water once we arrived in Santa Barbara. Once the library closed we were off; determinedly we waded in to the Pacific. Slowly. Brr. My numb fingers and toes made the water a little more bearable as the minutes passed. Lizzy and I dunked our head and then swam for 10 minutes or so before Lizzy let out a high-pitched yelp (but nothing compared to the high pitched yelp we’ll be leaving for Bob’s rude bakery). “Something got me! Something got me!” Lizzy exclaimed through giggles and quick breath. Lizzy and I headed to shore and Lizzy showed me exactly what the sea monster that nipped her foot felt like.

We dried off and got dressed, then began looking for a place to eat out. We rode all around Santa Barbara and searched for so long that we had to stop at Trader Joe’s to get a pre-dinner, hanger quenching snack. Eventually we became desperate enough that we opened yelp. We called our potential Mexican restaurant and asked a very important question: “Do you serve complimentary chips and salsa as an appetizer?” This was all Lizzy- actually her only requirement… We got to Los Agaves and ordered and were very pleased; we were able to talk them into making us 2 vegan chimichangas, and our server gave us free gauc- really great guac! The salsa bar was rather impressive, and the house-made chips were great, not to mention our main dishes. We definitely saved the best for last here. Lizzy and I left with full stomachs and a 25 minute bike ride in the dark. A little potato-belly throwback perhaps.

We made it back to our host’s without vomiting and hobbled on in. Our host Michael was a true character and entertained us while we made dinner for our evening on the train the next day. The sweet man told us about some longer rides he’d done, including the AIDs ride when he was 69 years old (which included some 100+ days). He entertained us while we prepped for our 27-hour train ride and Lizzy and I didn’t climb into couch until late. We’d made it to Santa Barbara and we were ready to ride it all backwards the next day.

The journey had been (and was) great. I think all of Team Dynamix would agree that the tough weather in Oregon was just a good spicy challenge for the trip. I especially appreciated the range of experiences and challenges; I’m guiding kids on overnight cycling tours through the San Juan islands this summer, and I definitely feel better prepared than before the trip.

Lizzy and Kyle and I would also agree that ANYONE CAN TOUR; you just pedal your bike, then keep pedaling your bike. You might sleep, then do some more pedaling and then you get to go to grocery outlet.

Lizzy will be publishing our next post soon so stay tuned! I hope this post finds you all enjoying early spring weather.

S.T.

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