After months of training, buying gear, and preparation; the day finally came when James and I were ready to embark on a jaunt up the Pacific Coast.
The trip started out very rocky, or sloshy to be exact. We arrived at the train station in L.A. at 9 a.m. on December 17, 2008. We wheeled our Burley Nomad around like luggage and went into a secret back room (with voice activation and a pin pad) to pick up our bikes. It was drizzling, but nothing of a deterrent really; we were ready to ride. Now, we had to get from the LAX train station to Route 1. The light rain had turned into heavy rain accompanied by strong winds. Headed north in 40 mph winds and vertical rain pelting you in the face like small pebbles, this was definitely a first day to remember. We were lucky enough to eventually find the Malibu RV/campsite, and were crossing our fingers that the Nomad stood up better than we did being tethered for hours on end with hurricane-like, elemental fury. To our surprise, most everything was dry. Some things got wet from the water that splashed up from underneath the trailer, but the washer/dryer set up at the RV park was nothing short of a miracle, and ultimately saved my toes from frostbite, and both of us from hypothermia.
The following days were beautiful and sunny. Here’s James and I about to start the second day. We came upon some sand dunes while we were riding on a bike path through a small ocean-side park about 20 mi. south of Carpenteria. I was determined to be a little hard core by imitating this guy, a professional bike tourer and official badass. Epic right?
We rolled into Carpenteria at about 5:30 pm that night and decided to stop early because there wasn’t another campsite for another 30 miles or so. We set up camp at the hike and bike which is right in town and checked out the local farmers market that was going on. We met a few other travelers, Steve and Bartek , who were going southbound, and had come all the way from Oregon. Our temporary tent neighbors were also using Burley Trailers. It was nice to have another set of ears, because thievery is always a possibility in high populated areas like this central camp site. To all of our surprise, when we woke up in the morning, the grass had frost on it; which is pretty rare considering we could see the ocean from the campsite.
Coming into day 3, we quickly reached Santa Barbara which is very beautiful to ride through.
Good size bike lanes, moderate traffic, beach in full view, and palm trees strategically placed every 20-40 feet, lining the side walks (not to mention, it’s pretty much as flat as a pancake). We stopped by to say “Hi” to our good friends at Old Man Mountain.I was proud to say I was sporting the OMM AC Lowrider rack which proved to be a great workhorse.
We stayed the night in Lampoc (Day 4). As we continued on we began to realize that the terrain is quite unpredictable. One minute we were near the ocean, the next we were in an agricultural town filled with strawberry fields, and the next, we were in the mountains with green grass and elk farms (and cows, many cows that stare at you blankly as you bike by).
Leaving Lampoc, we got a taste of the elevation changes to come. The Nomad rolled along all of the different terrains nice and smoothly. We entered into San Louis Obispo and bumped into a fellow named Bill who had been touring for over 8 years. His handlebars were made of antlers, and he was sporting kitty litter panniers. His bike fully loaded weighed in at a hefty 195 pounds. This 60 year old man had been overweight and diagnosed as very sick. A week later he was on the road to recovery. He had his bike, everything he needed, and has been coast to coast multiple times since then. Rock on Bill! Thanks to our trusty map and some of Bill’s good advice on the area, we decided to trek another 20 miles to Morro Bay.
Leaving the Morro, we began Day 5, and had the most beautiful terrain to come, Big Sur. I was pumped up that day and pulled the Nomad through all of the twists, turns, climbs and of course, the payoff downhills! The biggest climbs and down hills are through woody areas with large trees. Once you pass through the town of Big Sur, the terrain is more moderate and you see views of the ocean as well as rolling, green hills.
Christmas was coming up, so we decided to end our way there in Monterrey and met up with my family to spend a few days. Tune in next week for how the trip back went!