August 14 – 55 miles (turned into 64), 2,160 feet, 3,050 calories
I said we had liked dinners at Giuseppe’s Cucina Italiana our first night in Pismo Beach. We proved that by going back the 2nd night. I even had the same dish, Ravioli stuffed with squash and covered with a cream sauce. Alejandra had a green salad and pasta with meatballs. And we both had, and loved, their Italian bread with that scrumptious cheese/garlic/olive oil/balsamic vinegar dip. No dessert this time, though. Not because the strawberry shortcake wasn’t good, because it was, but because we had cinnamon rolls for lunch. Enough is enough, after all.
Last night in Lompoc we had sushi. Good, but not great.
On to today. The first glitch came a very few miles into the ride. I saw 2 bicyclists and a 3rd man stopped on the road so I asked if everything was ok, something we always do at home. (More on that later.) They were fine, but Highway 1, the route from Lompoc to Santa Barbara, was closed. Because bicycles can often get through even on closed roads, and because there was a turnoff where the road was closed, we decided to ride ahead to see what we could do. It turns out that what we could do, at least within the realm of reason, was to go back the mile we had just ridden and take a route through Buellton which added 10 miles to the trip (they were also headed for Santa Barbara, a ride they had made from Cambria numerous times over the years).
There were 2 reasons we had to turn around. The first was that we were emphatically told that Hwy. 1 was closed to EVERYONE, including cyclists and even emergency vehicles. Work was being done on a bridge and there was no way around, even by walking. At least that is what we were told. The second reason we turned back was that the same person who told us we couldn’t take Hwy. 1 also told us that the road we had planned on turning onto was so bad that he would only suggest it to his ex. He convinced us that it was in such bad condition, and so dangerous, that we shouldn’t even try. We decided to take his advice.
I had planned on riding to Santa Barbara with them but they were so slow that I just couldn’t do it. I had wanted to get their names and a photo but they were so far behind that that didn’t work out.
The ride to Buellton and onto Hwy. 101 was fun. Good roads and no interfering wind and shoulders wide enough that traffic really wasn’t a problem.
That changed for about 10+ miles when riding through some mountains. The shoulders were still adequate but there was enough crosswind that I didn’t enjoy that at all. I pulled into a rest area for a break, to stretch, to use the facilities and to take stock of my attitude. While there I talked with a woman from Germany who was riding a Harley from New York to San Diego after having gone across the northern part of the country. I enjoyed the conversation and I think she liked practicing her English, which was really pretty good. Although I appreciated the break, and any excuse not to get back out into the wind, I knew I had to get started again.
Then after 2-300 yards, the second glitch. My 4th flat tire. No big deal, but it led to another problem later.
The good news was that after I started riding again, everything was better. No more crosswind so I stopped riding my brakes to a ridiculous extent on the descents and I started picking up speed. In fact, from that point on, the rest of the ride was fun. The conditions were friendly, meaning wide, smooth shoulders on the highway and bike lanes when in towns.
When Ale caught me I got another tube and cartridge out of the coffin (the name Nick bestowed on our roof top carrier on Laura’s Ride 2016) to replace what I had used on the flat. I took the saddle bag off my bike to rearrange it to get the new spare tube and cartridge to fit. And then I did something that led to the next glitch. But I didn’t know it yet.
I got back on and started riding again. With about 14 miles to go, I got another flat, this time the front tire which is pretty unusual because with more weight on the rear that is much more likely to flat. No big deal, right, because I had 2 more spare tubes and 2 more air cartridges. But it turned out that I had left the device that is used with the cartridge to inflate the tire in the SAG. And the bicyclists that rode by were no help. None asked if I needed help and when I flagged a couple down, they quickly said they couldn’t help. This is in stark contrast to what we would do at home.
Thankfully I had Ale to call but she had to spend about 20 minutes getting back to me. It turned out that I needed most of that time to remove the small piece of wire that had penetrated the tire and punctured the tube. I could feel it but couldn’t grab it. Oh for some tweezers. I finally pushed it through enough with the valve stem of the flat tire to be able to pull it out. Then Ale rescued me by showing up with the pump and the device I had managed to leave in the truck.
The final 14 miles were a pleasure. Good roads, good conditions and my legs were good. Even the pain in my back was much improved since I had gotten past that one stretch on 101.
I also have to say that, as always on this trip, the weather was great. It varied from being misty and cool enough to put on a light windbreaker to warm enough to have to take it off. But there was nothing extreme and it was all good. Including Santa Barbara where the sky was blue and the temperature comfortably warm.
We walked from our motel, from which the ocean is visible just out our door, to a pier that had a few restaurants.
We chose one at the end. Ale had mussels and I ordered the local abalone but should having realized from the low price that it wasn’t what I had in mind. It was ok, but nothing like what I was hoping for.
Ventura tomorrow where we will stay with a very good friend from UCLA, but more about her after that ride. Kristina will also join us there for lunch. So I am definitely looking forward to it.