About Me

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Vacaville, California
I started this to chronicle our first tandem bike tour. Not sure where it will go from here. I do know that where I go I hope Deborah goes. "Life is not just a destination but a journey. While the expedition can be long and arduous, it can be full of beauty and pleasure as well"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Once again I visit this blog after a long dry spell.  I have been very busy at work and dealing with medical issues I had rather have not dealt with.  It was a long dry spell and was off the bike for about 2 months mostly working lots and lots of hours.  I am just now getting back some bike fitness.   The weekend of June the 15th found me in Yosemite National Park, one of the most beautiful places in he world.  It was the first time Deborah and I have been there without children and the first time we weren't camping.  We stayed at the Ahwahnee Hotel in a cottage.  It was a fantastic weekend.  I bought a gopro hero hd2 and made my first attempt at video.  Here is the results.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Found myself in a slump

We finished the San Diego Half Marathon on March 11th.  It was a really nice weekend.  We got some time with Jackie Bob and Cori on Friday night then checked into our hotel on Saturday.  We got a room on the 12th floor of the San Diego Hilton Bayfront with a bay view.  We walked across the foot bridge to Petco Park and checked into the race, got our numbers and our tee shirts then walked around.  We met Gary for dinner at a great little tapas place.  It was nice because we have been acquainted with him for years but never met in person.  We had a great time.  The next day was the run.  It was better running with both arms.  Deborah had a calf problem and we were worried she wasn't going to make it but she really stepped up her game.  We knocked 9 minutes off our Big Sur time.  We went back to the hotel, got hot showers, cleaned up and walked over to Dick's for Guinness and food.  We also met Diane, another friend we had never met in person.  She was a lot of fun and it was so nice to meet her face to face.  Dinner was tapas again then back to the room for a bottle of celebratory wine then off to sleep.  Next day we got our free breakfast buffet the drove home.

Now I find myself floating along with no direction and no motivation.  I have things I would like to accomplish but I have not managed to get myself organized.  I need to get in the gym and get my upper body strength back to par.  I want to fly my glider again.  I need to get my garage cleaned, a shed built and my garage door fixed.  Short term, I would really like to get the taxes finished but I am waiting for D to get done organizing her stuff.  I have a turnaround coming up the end of next month and will be out of commission for at least three weeks for that one.

So here is my plan:
Create a list and put on paper what my goals are.
Create another list and put on paper what my desires are.
Create a calender to include a work out program the includes bike, run, and weights.

I'll keep you all posted.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life goes on after set backs. My first Crit

Tomorrow I go to my orthopedic doctor to find out how everything is healing up.  I still feel pain, numbness and some discomfort. Nothing that I can't handle. I know that I am getting better but I sometimes get a little impatient to be 100% again.  I have lost a lot of strength but am slowly getting that back by spending some time in the gym.  I should probably spend more time working on that but have been doing other things. Now that I have written that down I believe I can do something about it.  I just have to focus and not get sidetracked to much.

Last Saturday I entered and participated in my first Criterium Road Race.  I raced in the Cat 4/5 45+ Cal Aggie Landpark Crit.  I talked myself into it and Deborah came down to support me in my efforts.  I got in a good warm up on my own, not knowing Dustin was coordinating the warm up for the team.  I wandered over to the tent and Dustin immediately set up a trainer and got me going.  It made me feel a part of the team.  He gave us quite the warm up and I was ready to race when he let me loose.  I had time for a quick lap and ended up at the start.  I had 3 other team mates in the race but they were more experienced with racing and familiar with each other so I was more or less on my own.  I really had no idea what was going to happen or what strategy I needed.  My only goal was to stay upright, not re-break my collarbone, ride as hard and as smart as I could and not have anyone yell at me for doing something stupid.  I accomplished all of my goals.  I did not finish the race.  As I look back I realize I had poor position in the chicane and would up blowing a lot of energy sprinting to catch up to the pack after getting slowed and compressed in the turns.  I made it halfway through, got spit out the back and gapped pretty good.  I decided to pull out instead of riding around by myself and getting lapped by the pack.  All in all I felt I did okay, rode smart and had fun.  When the race started I got an amazing feeling of calm and concentration wash over me.  All my senses were on hyper-drive and I knew where everyone was and what they were doing all around me.  I had one moment where someone cut in on me  entering the hard left turn at the beginning of the S turn.  I had to bump my brake a little but I did not overreact and was able to avoid a crash.  I felt really good about that. I want to race again but the next race is Cherry Pie and it is hard for a beginner.  It has a big downhill with a hard right turn at the bottom.  It has a long uphill culminating in a very tight 180 degree turn. Leon told me I should sit this one out because my shoulder is not 100% yet. I will take that into consideration as I think about it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The other thing I love besides cycling

I realized, after that last post, that I have only been talking about cycling and running.  I decided I needed to at least mention the sport that has been #1 in my life for the last 36 years.

I started flying hang gliders in 1975.  I have continued in that sport ever since with a few periods of inactivity.  Flying is a sport that lets you participate with friends but it is for the most part a singular activity.  I find I am drawn to sports that require you to concentrate on the task while paying great attention to many different things going on at the same time.  It forces you to discipline your mind to take in lots of data and to make decisions quickly and decisively.  You are moving in three dimensions, while reading the weather, looking for lift and maintaining your flight based on the power of mother nature alone.  The sights sounds and experience are unparalleled

The last flight I had was Labor Day Weekend in Indian Valley.  I went up there with friends to fly a site I hadn't flown in several years.  It is one of my favorite flying sites and a great place to spend a weekend.  I've had many wonderful hours soaring at altitude with my good friends, ending the day with dinner in Greenville accompanied by good cold beer.  This weekend was no exception although there was a special task that needed accomplished.

The first day we went to the mountain it was later in the day and my fellow pilots all decided to spend the afternoon working on clearing all the overgrown brush on launch.  The launch is a very shallow slope and can be difficult.  It is easy to underestimate the difficulty and your launch technique must be right.  Too many doink around and wind up breaking gliders and body parts up there.

The next day found us arriving at launch a little earlier than many.  We set up and didn't waste any time.  My launch was good and I caught lift right away, taking it up to 8K quickly.  I flew around up and down the ridge but never made the jump across the gap.  A storm front started blowing in and several of us decided to leave the air before it got there.  A wise decision as several people reported severe turbulence.  Landing was not good but not bad either.  Bottom line was nothing was bent, broken or damaged.
You can see launch Just below my wing tip.  Look for the tiny gliders getting ready to launch.

I let Steve's ashes loose so he could thermal up with me in a nice fat 800 fpm thermal.  He was soaring with me that day.

Flying out over Indian Valley.  The LZ is down lower right, in the field behind the housing across from the football field.
My beautiful, sleek wing that takes me on adventures in the sky.

I will continue to fly as long as I can still launch a hang glider.  It is something I love and I cannot imagine not flying anymore.

Another Chapter in the Journey

Today is January 2, 2012.  I decided I needed to try and keep this a little more up to date.  The last time I checked in I was hurting a little bit and waiting for the surgeon to fix me up.  On October 3rd I got a nice titanium plate and 12 screws installed.  The drugs were good and it didn't hurt to much.  Seems there were a lot of small pieces that he couldn't screw together but he figured they would knit okay.  I think the worst pain was in all the groin and leg muscles I pulled.  That slowed my running way down, that and running with one arm strapped to my chest.  The balance thing is not over rated that's for sure.  So my training was slowed down but not stopped and I pretty much continued my program of running with 40 mile bike rides on Sunday's.  The bike rides helped a lot.  I got off the pain meds within a week.  I hate feeling like that.  Deborah helped me to focus and as I was not working from the end of September until October 24th, I had lots of time to train and rest.  My weight dropped down to 137 at the lowest.  I was eating but I guess the healing took a lot of energy as well.  This is what I looked like on a run.

 The weekend of the Big Sur 1/2 Marathon finally came.  We went to the expo on Saturday and managed to spend a few dollars and talk to a few people.  It started raining the night before the run.  It stopped just before we went to the start line.  We finished the run in 2hrs 17mins.  I was happy to finish.  I got a lot of people yelling out "Hey broken arm guy, way to go".  Sometimes it was just "one armed guy".  People were very supportive.  It started raining a cold rain within 10 minutes of our finish.  We went straight to the car and didn't hang out.  We stayed at the Jabberwok Inn.  It is our favorite B&B and I strongly recommend it if you are going to Monterey.  You won't find a better place.  Our room had a Jacuzzi, fireplace, a beautiful view of the bay and a decanter of brandy.  Needless to say we stayed in the tub for a long, long time and we demolished the brandy.  It is a recovery drink I'm told.  That night we had a wonderful dinner with a bay view.  The next morning was my birthday and we spent the day cruising Carmel shopping for Christmas and then wine tasting in the Carmel Valley.  The next day we had a leisurely breakfast and drove home.  I can't think of a better way to spend a birthday weekend.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Set backs

It's been awhile since I posted on this blog. Since that time a lot of things have happened that I could have written about but didn't for some reason or another.  I read my wife's blog tonight and felt compelled.  Since that last post we took another long ride. Not as long or wonderful but fun. We rode from Austin to Shiner to Victoria to Cuero, TX. We wound up getting a ride back to Austin because our rack was broken and we couldn't fix it.  It was a fun ride.  2010 to mid 2011 found me very busy at work and my ride training took a back seat. Since July I have worked really hard to get back in shape.  I tried out single time trialing for the first time this year.  Rode two with my regular road bike and then borrowed a nice TT bike for the third.  I wound up on the last effort with a 24:32 on a 10 mile TT.  I was happy but could have done better and was looking to beat that.  I also accepted a challenge from my wife to run the Big Sur Half Marathon this November the day before my 58th birthday. Having never been a runner, this was a big challenge and I have been working a 10 week plan to culminate in the big run.  Last Tuesday I hit a bit of a speed bump in the road of life.  Tuesday was a rest day from running.  We decided we were going to do a quick 20 mile ride with friends to spin the legs out and get a little exercise in.  About 10 miles into the ride I pulled a bonehead stunt.  I finished my pull up front, dropped back and joined the back end.  We were running between 22 and 24 with little effort.  I looked down briefly and when I looked up, I was overlapping the wheel in front. A hard tire rub threw me straight into the road, shoulder first.  As I slid along the road, I could hear the pavement removing pieces of my helmet while feeling the road remove pieces of my skin.  I stood up but had to immediately sit back down.  My shoulder was definitely not right and I was hoping it was just dislocated.  After a ride home from a good Samaratan and a trip to the ER and waiting for a couple hours I found it was not just dislocated but my clavicle was broken at the distal end.  Bottom line is I am scheduled for surgery on Monday to have plates and pins put in because it is so far out of alignment it will never heal without it.  At first I thought that was the end of the 1/2 Marathon but I put that out of my mind quickly.  I ran 4 miles on Friday and 6.5 today.  I only missed 2.5 miles of running this week and consider that okay considering all the doctor visits and the pain.  I will run 3 tomorrow, surgery on Monday, than recover Tuesday. I then get back on schedule with 5 on Weds, 3 on Thurs then 8 on Saturday.  I did 6.5 today and that is the most I have ever run in my life.  I refuse to let this stop me from my goal.  I also am setting up the trainer to ride because I can't ride on the road with one arm right now.  That would not go over well with Deborah and I eill see how things go from there.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

San Francisco to Santa Barbara on a Tandem Bike 10-5-09 to 10-11-09

Deborah and I decided we needed a relaxing vacation.  So in typical fashion we decided to ride our tandem bicycle from San Francisco to Santa Barbara.  I did not want to haul a bunch of camping gear with us so we decided to "motel camp".  That way, all we needed to bring was clothes for the ride and essentials.  With that germ of an idea we proceeded with planning out our adventure.

The first thing we needed was a route.  Adventure Cycling has incredible route maps for sale on their web site.  We ordered the SF to SB route map and it arrived promptly.  The maps are quite good although the small print on the route descriptions can be a bit difficult.  I studied them quite carefully and by using google maps I traced out the routes as described, allowing me to get a more accurate mileage breakdown.  I then transferred these route sheets over to a word doc I could print and put into plastic baggies and clip to my altered route sheet holder.  I kept the AC map in my back pocket for reference should something not look right on the way.  This did occur occasionally and I will touch on that later.

We borrowed panniers from a friend that turned out to be perfect in size and perfect fit for the existing bike rack.  I utilized gallon ziplocks to organize our contents.  We decided to bring along cycling clothes for three days and minimize our street clothes.  We would not be in the street clothes very long each day and who would know if we wore thee same pants three days in a row but us.  We did bring swim clothes for use in the spa at the hotels at night.  This was a treat we came to really enjoy.  Each bag was organized by clothing type and labeled so you didn't have to root around to find things.  As each pannier was packed, we compressed each ziplock clothing bag, removing all the air to minimize content size.  The day before we left we packed and loaded the panniers taking the bike for a little spin around the neighborhood.

This allowed us to fine tune the loading of the bike and make sure Deborah was not affected by the load placement.  I bought new tires for the bike and put them on,  checked the breaks, cleaned and oiled the chains, made last minute derailleur adjustments, inspected the frame, checked the spokes, mounted the lights and added the map holder.  Now we were ready
 I broke the route into 7 days of riding to average about 60 miles per day.  Some days were longer and some shorter but the intent was not to pile on a lot of miles and not enjoy the day.  We could take it easy in the morning and not have to grind out a lot of miles.  I made reservations at all the places we stayed.  I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand I was able to get good deals at all the places we stayed and were assured of a room when we got there.  On the other hand, it sort of limited your day in that if you wanted to do more miles you really couldn't and if there was a problem and couldn't make the miles that day you were out the money due to cancellation policies.

We worked around the house getting things ready for our long absence.  We dropped the dogs off at Francesca's in the afternoon and finalized our packing and prepping.  We went to bed at a reasonable time but didn't get a lot of sleep.  3:30 am came mighty early.  Breakfast was  peanut butter and apricot jam sandwiches.  A friend came and picked us up in his truck and dropped us at the Vallejo Ferry terminal in time to catch the 6:30 ferry to San Francisco.

It was awkward getting the loaded bike through the ferry and in the back where they have bike racks.  The bike racks are nice but a fully loaded touring tandem is not made for them.  Putting the bike in the rack would have destroyed the wheels so I moved it to  the side, removed the velcro straps I used to pull the tops of the panniers together and secure the pannier to the frame, and tied the bike to the rails on the ferry.  This secured the bike and kept it safe.

As the ferry came in past the Bay Bridge. 

Coming into the San Francisco Ferry Terminal dock.  It is a perfect day for a bike ride.

Our son, Colin, called the day before and said he would meet us at the ferry terminal and ride with us for awhile in the city.  The ferry arrived, we rolled off and by the time Colin got there we rolled out around 8:30 on our big adventure.

Here is the Bluejay, ready to roll.

October 5th, 2009
First leg-San Francisco to Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Total Miles: 65
Elevation Gained: 4224

Colin met us at the Ferry Terminal and led us out.

He asked about our route and I showed him the route sheet.  He said he knew where we were going and proceeded to take us through the city on his regular route.  It was similar to the route given but deviated interestingly.  He said this route was one of his regular rides.  We got some beautiful views of the peninsula and the Golden Gate.

We went by the legion of Honor Museum, dropped down to Clement Street to Seal Rock Dr, then over to Pt Lobos Ave.  to the start of The Great Highway, just past The Cliff House Restaurant.  It had some good climbs and interesting descents.  Colin is a good climber and dropped us but didn't get to far ahead.  We were getting used to the load and the traffic so I was taking it easy.  As we headed out on Hwy 1, Colin stayed with us for little while.  He rode about 14 miles before heading back home.  He had a training ride scheduled that evening with his partner and needed to get back home to get ready for work.  We were now on our own.

We were now on the Pacific Coast Bike Route.  We rode past Ft. Funston and I showed Deborah where the hang gliders launched.  I started reminiscing on all the fun flights I had there with Steve and Robert.  We rode up the hill in Daly City that takes you through Westlake.  I had a different view from the street than from 1500 feet over.  The climb was easy enough but long.  At 20 miles in we stopped for breakfast at a little cafe in Pacifica, just before Devil's Slide.  We shared a huge omelet with bacon, filled up on coffee, used the facilities, refilled water bottles and we were off.  I should have taken Patrick's advice on going an alternate route than Devil's Slide.  It was narrow, steep and had too much traffic.  We did make it without mishap but it was dicey.  Just before Half Moon Bay we got on a three mile bike path that took us very close to the beach.  It was peaceful and quite and a nice break from the traffic.  We rejoined Hwy 1 then traveled on.  The rest of the day was pretty easy with only one little stinger hill about twenty miles from Pigeon Pt.  The day remained beautiful with a nice tail wind all the way into Pigeon Pt.

We could see the lighthouse about two miles out.  It was a welcome sight.

We were early to check in so we went down the road to Gazos Creek cafe for lunch/dinner.  The burgers were delicious as we sat outside soaking up the sun and drinking coffee.  The people there were very friendly and kept our cups full.  The woman at the hostel called ahead because she said they may not be open.  We were lucky and it made a nice stop.  We filled up on food, bought two bags of M&M's (plain and peanut), and went back to check into our room.  I was unable to book a private room so we shared a room with bunk beds.  There was only one other couple in the room and the were barely there and made no noise.
When we checked in we signed up for the jacuzzi at 6 pm for our 30 minute private slot.  The spa is very private, on the cliff edge, overlooking the ocean with seal haul out rocks below.

We watched the sun setting over the ocean and listened to the ocean, sea birds and seals.  Very relaxing.  We took a little nap, gathered up our stuff and headed for the spa.  It was a slice of heaven.  I have always had a mystical feeling about lighthouses and staying overnight was a big treat for me.  As the sun set we headed back to shower and change.

I took a few pictures of the lighthouse at sunset.  It is in disrepair and you can't go inside it.

The next morning we had breakfast, not knowing where the next open cafe would be.  We had hoped Gazos Creek would be open but no luck.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We packed and chatted with the woman at the desk when checking out.  She was very nice and took our picture.
Then we were off to Monterey.  I recharged the GPS but must have hit the on switch unplugging it because the battery was dead in the morning.  It was to be a long ride, over 70 miles, through Santa Cruz, so we got an early start.

Leg 2: Pigeon Point Lighthouse to Monterey
78 miles by Deborah's computer
Elevation gained: Unknown

We made it to Davenport for breakfast.  We got there, got served and were eating before the 4 big foreign tourist buses showed up.  It then took longer for Deborah to use the facilities waiting in line than it took to order and get our food.  The road was pretty between Davenport and Santa Cruz with lots of ocean views.
                                                                                                                                                                We both really disliked going through Santa Cruz.  There was a lot of traffic and it went on for awhile.  As we left Aptos we started into fields of vegetables.  All along we were encountering pumpkin patch after pumpkin patch.  The strawberry fields were especially fragrant.

As we got to Moss Landing you could smell the ocean,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   and then the seals                                                     
  We picked up the Monterey Coastal Bike Path about 15 miles out of Monterey at Sand City.  It is a very well developed bike path running along Hwy 1 with lots of rollers.  It took us right into Monterey.  We met up with a local cyclist and chatted for the next ten miles.  He left us on our own as we got downtown and before you know it, I got a little confused.  Technology came to the rescue as I got the Blackberry and used mapping to find where we were and where we needed to go.  As it turns out we were only about 4 blocks from our destination.  For the last 15 miles the going had been small rollers and flats.  The map said we needed to turn left and go up two blocks.  We looked at the steeeeeeeep hills and Deborah was not amused.  We dropped it into granny and climbed the first block, turned right, went one block then turned back uphill.  I stood up and started grinding it out.  A woman pedestrian saw us, calling out "you'll never make it".  As we got to the top of the hill Deborah gave her "The Look" as the woman applauded.  One more block and we arived at The Jabbarwok Inn, our rest for the night.  it is owned by a friend of Deborah and we booked it because of this connection.  It was a wonderful place, secluded from the street and very inviting.  We unloaded the panniers and John, the husband of Dawn, owners of the inn, helped me take the bike to the lower garage for the night.

He then showed us upstairs to our room,  overlooking one of the monster hills we had to climb.  In our room was brandy with two crystal glasses, a jar full of jelly beans, water bottles and two comfy robes.  The bed was a select comfort with individual controls for each side.  We had the only room without a private bath in the room but had a bath down the hall dedicated to our room.  We toasted our day with brandy, got shed of the sweaty gear and went for a nice hot shower.  It was fantastic.  Left-Front door of the Jabbarwok Inn
Right-Steep climb view from our bedroom window.                                             
 We got dressed and went down stairs for the tour.  We met both their standard poodles, Dude and Monty.  Dude was trained by our dog trainer before John and Dawn bought the B&B.  Both were beautiful dogs.

At 5 thy have appetizers and wine downstairs.  We met all the guest and enjoyed the good food.  You could almost make it dinner.  They have tea, cookies, dried fruit and snacks on hand anytime you want.  Kathy made fresh, delicious, pumpkin bread.  I had a couple of pieces.  The couch was comfy for my sore butt. and the wine was good.  Relaxation was well earned.  After snacks we walked down two blocks to Cannery Row to have dinner.  John gave us a coupon for a free appetizer at The Fish Hopper.  We cashed it for grilled artichoke.  Deborah had the abalone special and I had the Linguini Pasta Isabella.  Delicious.  We dined on the deck and the view was wonderful.

We ate a leisurely dinner with a bottle of local Pinot Grigio.  After dinner we walked back to the B&B, got a glass of wine and turned in for the night.  It took a little bit of trial and error to get the bed settings right but after a while we slept soundly.                                                View from our bedroom in the morning.

 Breakfast was served at 8:30 sharp.  There was fresh juice, fresh fruit, and the most delicious homemade bread pudding served with thick sliced bacon and a wonderful vanilla sauce topped with raspberry.  There were seconds on the bacon and the coffee was strong and tasty as we filled up.
All too quickly breakfast was over and it was time to pack and go.  Dawn and John are wonderful hosts and their Inn is something we definitely want to go back to for a long weekend of fun.  Dawn told us to bring some friends.  Anyone reading this should consider a stay there for a nice visit in Monterey.  Of course with all the eating, coffee drinking, chatting and packing we didn't get away until almost 11.  This day was supposed to be a 51 mile jaunt to the Big Sur River Inn.  Of course things do go awry.  On the way out of town I found out I had missed a turn on the route converting to google maps.  I missed the place where you continue on Soledad under the freeway to Viejo Rd.  I tried to get on the freeway to soon and had to back track along the side of the entrance ramp.  We consulted the map and figured it out.  I also got the GPS charged up and working again so we were able to record the ride data.  And then we were off on Leg 3.

Leg 3: Monterey to Big Sur River Inn
30.2 miles (supposed to be 51 but I screwed up)
Elevation Gain: 2600 ft.

It was another beautiful day, a little cool in the morning and warming up as we rode.  After we left Carmel, the ride got more interesting.  Finally we were on the legendary Big Sur Hwy.  I will start posting pics.  The story is in the pictures.  Enjoy.

Views from the road.

Left-Follow the road

As we got to the Bixby Bridge, it was down to one lane with flagmen working both sides of the bridge.  As we were taking the required "Bixby Bridge" picture we heard them talking about us on their radios.  As we lined up to cross, they closed the bridge in both directions and let us cross by ourselves.  We felt really special.
The standard picture at the Bixby Bridge, built in 1932.

We crossed the bridge, climbed up to just over 600 ft, had a nice long descent, then popped over a couple of big rolling hills.  Deborah was looking for a nature break and I see we are coming into some form of settlement.  I look down at the mileage and see 31.6.  I look up and see the sign "Big Sur River Inn" and wondered what the hell is this.  This is supposed to be 21 miles further down the road.  I stop the bike, walk into registration and ask if they have a reservation for me.  They look me up and sure enough we are there.  Okay, this was a really short day but after the day before I figured it would be a nice break.  It would mean a 70 plus mile day tomorrow but it would be a beautiful ride so whatever.  We checked in, showered and walked over to get burritos and beer.  The burritos were giant and the beer was cold.  We fueled up and bought a bottle of wine for later.  The burritos were so big we didn't even eat dinner.  We walked around the place and sat in the chairs in the river, soaking up the sun as it came through the trees.

We met a biker riding from SF to SB to visit his daughter.  He was around our age and riding an old Bianchi.  He was loaded up with camping gear.  We also met another tandem team we passed much earlier in the day.  They were pulling a trailer and camping out.  They had flown from Phoenix to Seattle, ridden their bike to the Canadian border then turned around and headed to San Diego.  From there they were riding back to Phoenix.  We saw two bent trikes and two other riders.  The tandem team told us the other two had ridden from Quebec to Washington, down the coast and planned to turn east at San Diego, ride to Florida, winter there then ride back to Quebec.  Now that is a ride.

We went to bed, read a little and slept like babies with the smell of the forest strong in our noses.  The Inn was offering a special, queen sized bed cabin with breakfast for two at 99 dollars.  It was a full on, excellent breakfast, not just a continental snack.  I had a huge omelet with home fries and Deborah had a big fruit yogurt parfait with toast.  That and all the good strong coffee you could drink.  They did bill you for the tip.  Fair enough.

Leg 4: Big Sur River Inn to Cambria
75 miles
Elevation gained: 6125

 Loaded with breakfast we packed up and headed down the road.  Unfortunately this stop was a bit inconvenient in that you had to face a big climb first thing in the morning not more than a mile and a half from the Inn.  first part was 340 ft in .4 miles, drop down 245 ft in .2 miles then back up 697 ft. in 1.8 miles.  The legs were not warmed up before we started climbing but we warmed up fast.
Left-Looking back on the climb  Right-At the top getting ready for the descent.
There were nice views along the way.  The first hill was a booger.  After that it was a lot of up and down.  Nothing to bad except the last big hill after Gorda Mountain.  You drop down 450 ft or so then climb it all back.  The first hill was not so bad and we stayed mostly in the middle chain ring.  The second one required another visit to grandma.

The views on this leg were breathtaking.  Many of you have driven this road, so have we, but it is not the same effect.  The smells, sights, sounds all coming at you as you slowly climb up each hill.  As Deborah put it "You are riding the western edge of the United States" and you definitely realize it on a bicycle.  As before I will let the pictures do the talking.  Enjoy

Above is the view from where we just climbed the last big hill going South on the Big Sur Highway.  It is now all down hill to Cambria.

We finally dropped down from the mountains and began our descent into Cambria.  The scenery changes quickly and the elevation drops down dramatically.  Now we are in a gradual down hill with some nice fat rollers to tandem surf.  We get past the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse and cruise by the elephant seal beach.  When we lived in the central coast we used to travel to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and to Plaskett Creek for camping and hang gliding.  I remember when the elephant seals first returned to that beach.  They used to even cross the highway on route to the fields on the other side of the road.  Back then you could walk in the dunes and shoot pictures as long as you respected the 50 feet clearance of a marine mammal.  One year a group set up spotting scopes on one of the turnouts.  As I started walking back toward the dunes a woman told me I was not allowed to do that.  I asked who gave her the authority and what law was I breaking as long as I respected the proper separation.  She could not answer me only stating emphatically that I was not to go any further.  I explained to her that unless she could cite some law or show me her authorization to prevent me from walking on public beaches, then she should stop harassing me.  She continued to yell at me as I proceeded to walk along the top of the dunes.  Now they have nice parking lots and fences to keep the public away from the seals.  I have mixed emotions as Deborah explained that some people are not respectful and disturb the seals so I should just not worry about it.  On the other hand they have fenced off our public beach.  Anyway, we did get a good look at the seals.  There were only young males and females as it was to early for the big bulls to haul out.  That is a sight to see.

The wind was up from the NW and pushed us into Cambria.  We cruised by Hearst Castle.  We talked about all the times we had gone there with family for all the different tours.  It is an amazing feat of architecture and the furnishings are amazing.  It baffles the mind to think of the amount of effort, time and money that went into that place.

We finally made our destination at the Bluebird Inn (thank you Patrick).  It is a nice quiet little hotel on Main St. in Cambria and the rates are very reasonable.  We chatted wiih the desk clerk checked in, went to our room and took a nice long, hot shower.  We had traveled lots of miles and did a lot climbing that day and the shower felt so good.  Unfortunately there was no Jacuzzi or we would have done some soaking.  We got to our room and low and behold, there was a television.  We turned it on to view our first TV in 5 days.  We checked out the weather forecast for the rest of the week and were thrilled to find it was to be wonderful weather for the rest of the ride.  After a little rest we decided to walk around a bit and find dinner.  Deborah had stated a preference for pasta and the desk clerk had recommended a nice Italian place a few blocks away.  So off we went.  We got less than a block away and walked by a sign on a small place indicating wine tasting.  Deborah suggested we go in a taste some wine.  I thought what a novel idea.  So in we went in.

The Place was Indigo Moon.  The woman that served us was so much fun.  She knew her local wines and poured some very nice ones.  As we sat there tasting wine the smell from the kitchen was overpowering us.  Not long after we sat down, a customer came in with her dog.  A dog friendly, great smelling food and great wine list makes us happy so we decided to eat there.  Deborah had the house special Clam Fettuccini as she was sticking with the pasta theme.  I had crab stuffed trout.  We had a delicious Pinot Grigio with dinner and Deborah bought a local red wine blend for the next evening.  We also had a bowl of clam corn chowder.  We met the woman that had the dog.  She had already taken it back to her car so it was no longer inside as they do have laws about that in the US.  In Europe dogs are allowed.  She saw Deborah's Livestrong Bracelet and thanked her as she was a cancer survivor.  We talked about a lot of things and made a friend.  Dinner was excellent.  Sleep was good.

We woke and I walked down the street to find breakfast.  I found the Redwood Cafe just a couple of blocks down the road.  Good food, strong coffee, nice staff made for a very nice start on the day.  This days ride would take us to Pismo Beach.  We loaded up, checked out of the hotel and off we went.

 Day 5: Cambria to Pismo Beach
53 miles
Elevation gained: 2200 ft

We set out from Cambria and worked our way to Pismo Beach.  After two days of Big Sur and little traffice we were not ready for the amount of traffic we had that day.  We skirted the Hwy in a couple of places but were on it in traffic a lot.

We cruised through Cayucos

                         and Meandered through Morro Bay

As we came closer to San Luis Obispo we stopped at a place with a nice outdoor patio for some food and a break.  Seems it was bottomless mimosa day.  There was a table full of Cuesta College kids there drinking pitchers of mimosas.  They were drunk and noisy and they were playing games on their cell phones.  Every so often one would call someone and tell them the most outrageous things about sex, boyfriends, threesomes, calling people all kinds of evil names and really being horrid.  We ate our lunch and were glad to be gone.  Our route took us through downtown San Luis Obispo.  While they are a bike friendly town the downtown traffic was not very relaxing.  We were quite glad to be out of town and cruising through Price Canyon on our final miles into Pismo.  We stayed at the SeaVenture.

It was the most expensive place on the trip but it was right on the beach.  The room was big and comfortable and they had a fireplace.  We walked a couple of blocks down the street to the laundry.  As the clothes were washing we walked across the street to the Old West Cinnamon Roll place to reminisce with a tasty almond cinnamon roll and coffee.  After the clothes were done we went back to the hotel and hung wet clothes all around the room in front of the fireplace.  We then soaked in the Jacuzzi, took hot showers, dressed and walked two doors down to the restaurant for wine tasting then out the door to the pier and then dinner.  Options were unlimited it seemed.
We opted for Pizza, wine and ale.

Just before dinner, we walked out onto the pier for old time sake and saw this guy.  You can also see our hotel on the right with the blue-green roof.

Back in our room we checked the weather again to find there was a Pacific Storm headed into the coast but it was not going to reach the coast till Tuesday.  Our weather luck was holding.  Sleep was very good and we had complimentary continental breakfast delivered to our room.  There was not enough coffee but the food was good enough to get us on the road.  This day was taking us into Lompoc where we were to stay with Wayne and Georgia, some of our oldest friends from when we first moved to California in 1986.  Their kids went to school with ours and we spent many happy moments together over the years.  We were so looking forward to the visit.

Day 6: Pismo Beach to Lompoc
52 miles
Elevation Gained: 2543

This was a particularly easy day.  We woke up to breakfast delivered to our room along with a pot of so-so coffee.  We tanked up, packed and hit the road at 8:30 in order to get in to Lompoc early enough to spend some quality time with our friends.  We also began to think about this being the next to last leg of our adventure and it was starting to sink in.  About 6.5 miles in, after a few little rollers and mostly flats, we came to the Halcyon Rd. decision.  Go forward then around the loop suggested by Adventure Cycling or turn right and cut off a mile or so.  I knew the area so we decided for the short cut.  I forgot about the elevation correction to get you back on the mesa.

It jumps up about 150 ft in a quarter mile.  It also narrows to just barely two lanes with lots of farm traffic coming up behind your.  When we got to the top, my heart was pounding so hard I could feel my pulse moving my helmet.  I was standing in the pedals grinding it out as hard as I could in total grandma and barely making 4 mph.  We made it without mishap but I wouldn't want to do that again any time soon.  Next time we take the longer route.

This was a day of mostly light traffic and lots and lots of country filled with farms and cows.  As we passed through Guadalupe I almost had to stop at every Mexican food restaurant in town.  The smells were incredible.  I was salivating as we cruised through.  Guadalupe has really cleaned up a lot in the years since we passed through there last.  It seems like a nice clean place now.  The vegetable fields were in full swing with lots of harvesting going on.  The weather was typical Central Coast, with a high marine layer and no sun.  The wind was mostly quartering from behind so it made for easy pedaling.  We had a plan to stop in Orcutt at one of our favorite eating places and getting one of Jack's famously huge, tasty burgers for brunch.  We turned off the route as we got into Orcutt, made our way over to Jack's and found it was closed.  Not just closed but the building was gutted.  There was a sign in front inviting everyone to look forward to the opening of Jack's new restaurant.  We cursed the bad luck, turned around and began to look for another place to eat.  We saw a place (Kay's) not 2 blocks away with lots of people sitting at tables outside in front.  There was a huge coffee pot on one of the tables and there were open tables.  We pulled in, parked the bike and walked inside.  They told us they didn't serve food in the front but seeing our bike clothes, suggested we walk around the back where they had a patio with a wind fence and heaters.  They asked where we had been riding and when we told them we had come from San Francisco, they thought that was pretty cool.  We decided on Kay's special scramble to split along with homemade biscuits and home fries.  They poured coffee and then quickly the food was served.  They said they put us at the front of the line because of our biking tales.  The food was so good, the plates were so full, the coffee strong and tasty, and the biscuits were hot and fresh.  We relaxed awhile and called Georgia to give our status.  I told here we would be there in about 2-3 hours as our pace was slow and there were some fairly big hills coming up and off we went.  Well it seems we were really fired up by the food and coffee and averaged over 18 mph between there and Lompoc getting into town quicker than expected.  Georgia and Wayne were there to greet us with big hugs.  A special bonus was their daughter, Jillian coming through with her fiance on there way to his families place up the road a bit.  We changed clothes then went over to Tom's for a burger and beer.  We filled up and went to the store to stock up for dinner.  On the way back they dropped us at Jim's to visit and meet his new wife Lillian.  She is Taiwanese and made fresh dumplings.  Jim was our children's teacher and our close friend for many years.  It was so good to see him and meet Lillian.
They looked so happy together.  We caught up on all that was going on and realized the visit was way  to short.  Will have to do it again when we have more time to visit.  Georgia picked us up and we got back just in after Jilly arrived.  We got more hugs and met Dustin.  That was a very short visit and they had to leave.
Wayne recently began working for the city as the park host at one of Lompoc's most beautiful parks.  It is in the foothills on the edge of town, close to where we pick up Hwy 1 for the last leg.  The view from their kitchen window looks over the town of Lompoc, down the river valley all the way to the ocean.  Wayne is so happy the he found his "retirement gig".  We had a delicious dinner, utilized their spa bath, drank good wine and caught up on all the news from Lompoc, the families and our old church.  Our lives were so intertwined in the old Lompoc days.  Seems we sort of grew up some together as we all went through good and bad together.  We do miss them so and look forward to the next visit. 

The next morning we slept in some, had coffee and lingered around till Wayne had to go on to church to get  the choir together.  We lingered a little longer, packed up and hit the road.  It was the last leg of the journey.  These were roads we had driven many thousands of miles on and they were full of memories.  Time to move on.

Day 7: October 11th, 2009
Lompoc to Santa Barbara
59 miles
Elevation gained: 2800 ft

The ride starts with a long slow climb out of Lompoc.  If you look at the Adventure Cycling elevation profile it really looks daunting as you climb out of Lompoc to 1100 ft before dropping down and rejoining Hwy 101.  We had driven this road many times over the years but had never cycled on it.  The traffic was not to heavy, the weather was moderate marine layer but not so cold as to require a jacket.  The climb was steady but not steep.  We never got out of the middle chain ring once.  We chatted the whole way as one thing after another would trigger memories about our lives in Lompoc.  I used to run all over these hills servicing peoples water systems in the old days and remembered all those turn offs.  What a great day for remembering.

Before you knew it we were at the top of the climb.

The first time I drove over this road was over 23 years ago.  I was driving to my construction job with my carpool.  The marine layer was thick and lying almost on the ground at the top of this hill.  Just past the 7% grade sign someone had stuck a mountain lion with their vehicle and killed it.  It was laying on the side of the road with a beer can under it's chin, holding it's head up.  That is a memory I will always have of this place.

This descent is over 1000 ft in 5 miles.  As you rejoin the Hwy the traffic picks up a lot.  The shoulder is wide and clean and if you stay over it is not threatening but the traffic noise is high.  You go through Gaviota Pass, turn east and ride along the coast the whole way into Goleta.  We were planning on turning into Refugio State Beach for a nature break when we ran up on our friend from Big Sur on his old Bianchi.   We stopped and chatted awhile, used the facilities and wished him luck on the rest of his journey and congratulated each other on making it.  You meet really nice people on this kind of trip.  We saw lots of cows and orchards along the way.

The road was good with rolling hills.  We had a good pace all the way into Goleta.  At Hollister Ranch Rd.  you must exit as the road turns back into closed expressway.  The route takes you into Goleta and then gets you on a bike path that starts at UCSB.  That is where we got a little confused and wound up on a nice tour of campus before finally finding our route.  From then it was a nice quiet bike path through the woods and the Goleta Slough.  It went for several miles then reconnected us with downtown.  The Pacific Coast Bike Route then takes you along Cabrillo Blvd, back under the freeway and right down to the pier.  WE MADE IT!!!!!! 

We rode the 3 blocks back to our hotel on Chapala St., The Villa Rosa.  I highly recommend this place for anyone going to Santa Barbara.  I found it on Hotels.com and the rate was incredible for a a place one block form the beach and 3 blocks from Stearn's Wharf.  We had two nights booked.  They only have 16 rooms and it is a very nice, quaint,(old) building.  They have a nice fireplace in the lounge area with big comfortable couches and reading material.  The pool and Jacuzzi are right out the French doors from the lounge.  They have nice robes in the room and towels in a basket at the door to the pool area.  We went for a nice soak in the Jacuzzi right away.

After that we took nice hot showers, shaved, and cleaned up for happy hour.  They serve wine, coffee, tea and very tasty snacks promptly at 5.  We indulged to whet our appetites for dinner.  We walked to Stearn's Wharf and out on the pier to the Shellfish Company.  We got a table outside as the weather was nice and we had been outside so much it would have been weird crowded up with a lot of people inside.

The food and wine were good and the company was the best.

I can't think of anyone else I would want to spend so much time together with than the woman of my dreams.

After dinner we walked over to the other side of the pier to enjoy sitting on the pier and reminiscing over the journey.  It helped that we brought along two big Cuban Perdomos.  I know, smoking is bad for you.  but these were so good and made for such a relaxing sit down.

We sat and looked back at the city and all the lights.  We watched fish jumping and catching bugs on the surface, leaving trails of bio-luminescence (luminous green glowing trails from the plankton).  It was the end of the day, of the end of the journey.  We were tired, happy, proud of our accomplishment and a little sad the ride was over.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel.  They served fresh fruit, cereal, rolls, sweet cakes, yogurt and even have a waffle maker.  The coffee was very good and fresh.  All this was included.  We watched the weather channel and knew we had one day before the storm was coming.  We walked up and down State Street and window shopped.  Deborah bought herself some new shoes, we had coffee, and we strolled down memory lane.  Many of the old stores we remembered from years past were gone.  The old independent bookstore was now a Barnes and Nobles.  Worst of all the place we planned for lunch the whole trip was now a Verizon store.  We had many great lunches at the Italian Greek Delicatessen.  We asked people in some of the stores if they knew what happened but most of them were young people and had no knowledge of what the story was.  We finally found out the family had just gotten tired and made a deal to lease the building to Verizon.  Seems they shut down in 2007, an end of an era.

We walked back down a few blocks and found.............

the food was just what we wanted and the owner was a friend of the Italian Greek Deli owners.  He told us the story and we thanked him and complimented him on the excellent lunch.  Greek food accomplished.

We walked back to the hotel for a little nap.  We got up and went for another soak in the Jacuzzi.  It had just started to rain a little so we sat in the spa and got rained on.  It was a nice feeling overall.  We cleaned up and went for happy hour where we chatted with some of the other guests.  It was a nice day overall.  We met Emmylou for dinner at a Mexican restaurant that night.  She and Jim were both teachers at our childrens Montessori School in Lompoc.  We talked about old times and caught up on family.  Food was good and it was good to see her again.  The rain had stopped so we walked home nice and dry.  We had picked up a bottle of wine earlier in the day and had a night cap before turning in.  The next morning was breakfast and Pacific Storm.  The rain was really coming down.  I took a cab to the airport and picked up the rental van to drive us home.  We loaded the bike, our bags and ourselves for the long drive home.

The storm was fierce and we had to drive carefully all the way home avoiding the fools and the wrecks on the side of the road.  We made it home safely and picked up the boys at Francescas.  They were very happy to see us and we happy to see them.  I missed my furry buddies.

I know that we are not the first ones to make this trip nor will we be the last.  It was our firs tour and won't be our last.  I enjoyed every minute we were on the road.  It was a journey with my best friend and I will never forget it.

"Life is not just a destination but a journey.  While the expedition can be long and arduous, it can be full of beauty and pleasure as well"