The view of Lompoc
Our bikes were starting to wear down, and we realized we really don’t know anything about bikes. A quick stop here taught us everything we needed to know, and they lubed up our gears and chains for free!
My finger had also gotten infected from a metal shard and I stopped in at a local health clinic where they cut the shard out and gave me some antibiotics.
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Three Days. We think it has been three days since our last real update, but we aren’t completley sure. These past hundred or so miles have been some of the best, and some of the most trying ones so far.
We last updated in Monterey, which was beautiful, but it has nothing on Big Sur and the surrounding area. Big Sur is the name of the coastline from below Carmel to just above San Simeon. You have probably seen pictures, and if not, we posted a panoroma the other day that was just a sample. The hills here were unreal. You know how regular hills end? Yeah, these didn’t. We climbed for literally miles at a time, thinking that the end was just around the bend. The pay off was the equally long decent on the other side. For the 100 + miles in the mountains, we were either going 6 mph or 36 mph. (top speed so far: Ben-48.6, Jason-52.2)
At the Big Sur State park we met three people our age who were hiking from LA to Oregon, and were two weeks into their trek. Everyone in Big Sur (the actual town of) was extremely laid back and hippyish, were were partially shuned in the general store because we let it slip that we didn’t give a damn about the organic food, we just wanted something cheap, filling and fast. A little later we were at the top of a hill and came upon a little gas station/ spirit garden. We went looking for a bathroom in the hut on the hill, and it literally was a hut, only to walk in and freeze because there was a full expresso bar full of hippies typing away on laptops drinking double mocha lattes. We were 40 miles from anything! We slowly backed out, as to not upset the techno hippies, and went on our way.
On friday we stayed at Kirk Creek campground, which was directly on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. Beautiful. This was still in the Big Sur area, and we hiked down to the water and explored for the entire afternoon. In the hiker/biker section of the camp, aka where we were, there was a bum who was on his 14th day there. He was selling walking sticks and outer trinkets he created to fund him self. He also let us know he was willing to trade for weed if we had any, as he was running low. He woke us up on saturday morning talking about the whales he could see out in the water. I think Jason got a glimpse, but I missed them.
From Kirk we headed to San Simeon, which brought us out of the hills and back into flat land at last. San Simeon was nothing special, but the town past it, Cambria, was almost like a dream. We stumbled in to it to buy groceries and ended up staying all evening. We stopped at the bike shop for minor bike repair, and interupted the clerk, a typical California burnout, and his girlfriend. He got us going, and we ate dinner at a great italian place, followed by desert at a french bakery. I had finished my John Grisham book, so we stopped by a used book store we saw. This little gem was a trailer from the front, but inside it was a goldmine. It was piled full of books everywhere, old ones, rare ones, romance, philosophy, you name it. Papa, this store was made for you. The little asian woman who ran it said she had 400,000 books, including some in storage out back. She admited to us that she hasn’t read a single one of them in the 8 years she has been running the place. Sad and ironic. Because JAson and I spent a good hour in this little 5 room shop and we were talking about how much we loved it, se gave me a discount, and Jason a free map.
My thumbs hurt from typing this on my phone, so here is jason. We will tell you about today tomorrow when we can think back on it… It always seems better that way!
Jason: Well I am currently holding the flat tire record at 4, two this morning alone. The shoulder fairies must not like me. I’m gonna write a letter to the California DOT about the poor condition of their roads…or not. Oh and I am doing a wonerful job representing east tennessee. I managed to fall off my bike and land on the side with my fake tooth mouthpiece in the pocket. Yea, it shattered to pieces. Ben enjoys the look on people’s faces when they realize I am missing something quite important in the front of my mouth! Subdued disbelief followed by an awkward smile, we will call it.
Other than that travel has been ebjoyable and stumbling upon “pleasantville” last night was interesting to say the least. The people we met there and Cali in general–bums included–we have come to realize as ‘pretty cool, but a little crazy.’ I mean where else can you wake up next to a hitchhiker or a dad drinking Jager Bombs on a Sunday morning as camp neighbors?
We are finally in what is considered the start of southern cal, but can’t really tell because the temp is still 65° for the high. 60 miles to go tomorrow so goodnight.
First reliable cell service in 3 days. We just reentered civilization. We have been in the mountains near Big Sur for the past 100 miles. We will update tonight!
Nice view huh?
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Day 3: After lunch at the seafood place there was a great deal of flat land and a strong headwind. We usually average a little above 15 mph but with the wind we were fighting to keep it above 10. We got to Monterey around 5:30 pm and took some time to look around. We went out to the end of the warf, took some pictures and cruised around. Jason needed some black and white film, so we found a camera store downtown that ended up being the nicest camera store I have seen in a while. They had a room full of rangefinders… At over $2500 a pop. We also made it down to the Rolex Antique Auto Race Show which had a hundred or so amazing cars. Matt I took some pictures, prepare to drool. At this point we were lost, but we met a guy who led us part of the way and pointed us the rest of the way to the Monterey Veterans Memorial Park, the only campground in town. We decided that a 70 mile ride tomorrow that would make us fly past Big Sur and Carmel wasn’t worth it, so we are possibly forsaking Mexico (according to the bums, it isn’t that nice of a place anyway…) to enjoy more of California.
Jason: West coast bums are cooler than east coast bums. They don’t beg, they just talk with you, offer advice, and carry on happy as can be. One guy even related our trip to a Bob Dylan song…in strange bummy way of course. Anyway, sea lions are loud but funny to watch, Monterey is awesome, and tomorrow will be one of the best stretches of the trip–Big Sur. For now it is bedtime, goodnight.
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We have stopped for lunch just outside the artichoke capitol of the world, Castroville, and had to treat ourselves to some deep fried artichoke hearts. A little while ago we passed through miles and miles of strawberry fields that had hundreds of mexican laborers toiling away in the sun. I stopped to take pictures and they became frantic, pointing and yelling at us until we moved on. Just out of sight we stopped and helped them pick a few…delicious.
Jason: its day three and I hope yesterday doesn’t repeat itself in any way. When I was changing my flat (a result of glass litter) I thought about that old commercial where the indian is walking down the road and a car drives by throwing trash out the window into the road. For the first time I undrstood his frustration. Trash on the side of the road is not cool. Then a few miles later, like the indian, a single tear fell from my eye as a passing RV threw gum at us. I’m gonna find you license plate 7E889G9 and stick gum in your hair. I will calm down. So its day three and in the spirit of Santa Cruz the song of the day is “Surf Wax America” by Weezer. Sunny skies, 63° and 80 miles behind us.
Ben: Yesterday my chain came off going up a huge hill and I fell over into the road a foot away from a motorcycle. Still alive don’t worry mom… Anyway, about 2 miles from Santa Cruz I got a flat from a rusty nail that lodged itself into my tire, and I, like jason now hate litter on the side of the road. Jason was ahead, and we had already used our C02 on his bike, so I threw my bike on my shoulder, stuck my thumb out and started walking to town. A farmer picked me up not 10 min later and my first attempt at hitchhiking was a success. Oh yeah, in the middle of the hills, we paused at the top and met a guy our age who was headed the other way, loaded down even more than we were. We talked, and found out that he has been on the road since May 1, and biked here, via San Diego, from Boston! Needless to say we felt like wimps and continued on our way. Today we are heading to Monterey. More later…