Thursday, 26 March 2015

Random Meetings and Catching Some Waves

Location: Nipomo, CA, USA
We left San Simeon early and headed off to our Warm Showers hosts in Nipomo.  We knew we had a long day ahead of us but we were feeling confident, especially after the charge through Big Sur the day before. We were starting to get into the rhythm we had found while we did our shakedown in East Anglia and the earlier frustrations from short days was melting away.  The morning ride to San Luis Obispo was mainly on highway and we managed to grind out those miles quite quickly but when we arrived we were starting to have a food low and needed fuel and a chill out.  This also gave us a chance to confirm the arrangements with our hosts before the final push to Nipomo.  After a map reading issue we arrived safe and sound, but a wee bit late to Don and Mary's.

So, you may or may not know but I have Danish roots. This might seem like an odd statement but stay with me. Our hosts Don and Mary were fantastic and on our rest day they took us on a tour around the area.  We went to a mission near Lompoc and learnt about the Spanish Missions in the area and then headed to Solvang. Solvang is a Danish City within California and was on our list of 'like to do' but it was a bit off our route, but since this is about detouring we were going to make the effort, especially because of my Danish heritage.  However Don and Mary drove us there to have a look and pick up some pastries and headed back to figure out our change of route with Don, who has cycled in every one of the 50 states of the US.

All rested and refreshed we moved off down the coast to El Capitan State Beach.  On route we bumped into Andrew again and cycled with him for about 20 miles before our routes split.  It was great to ride with another cycle tourist and gave us the energy to get to the camp site early.  We had time to pop into the ocean and try our hands at body surfing.  We rose early the next day and headed off to Santa Barbara where we knew there was an REI to buy camping gas.  REI also has free WiFi so we got online to double check some stuff and found out some friends from back home were working around Santa Barbara and were available for a meet up.

The hook up with Bert and Neil was brilliant, we chilled out in Santa Barbara, did some long boarding and just had a brilliant time in the city on Paddy's Day. It was a short day on the bikes and meant we were pushing it to get to our next stop in Thousand Oaks, but the route looked pretty flat and we knew where we were headed so we said goodbye to the Pacific Ocean until Vancouver and headed inland.  Further map reading issues meant the day was longer than we were expecting but the main issue of the day was the crazy steep climb to get to Sue and Cal's house right at the top of the hill. After 40 minutes of pushing our bikes we arrived safe and sound, if a little sweaty to our friend's Auntie's house.

We were given a suggestion of a route to get to our next destination by Cal, and looking on the map it looked like a long, winding road through the hills and was called Grimes Canyon Road so we were expecting a tough day climbing.  After a gentle climb for a couple of hours we had a brief stop before a blind corner.  We both were expecting the corner to reveal the final steep push up to the summit; however we were wrong.  The road dropped away into a long, sweeping descent that lasted for miles and miles.  The views were amazing, the road quality was brilliant and it was such an unexpected descent it made us smile.  We arrived at Peter's house in Santa Clarita and headed out to watch the March Madness College Basketball, our team won and we headed home for an early night in celebration.

We were now on our fifth day in the saddle and were looking forward to another rest day with Ron in Quartz Hill.  The riding was fairly standard with some nice climbs and descents, with the scenery slowly changing to rocky and desert-like.  The hospitality we received once we arrived was outstanding.  Ron was a brilliant host and fantastic cook and both nights after a delicious meal we talked long into the night about almost everything.  We planned the route to Las Vegas and got ourselves ready for the long lonely riding through the Mojave Desert; watching out for heat stroke and rattlesnakes.

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