Elevation gained: 3,648 ft/Miles 73/Total Miles: 3,146/Total Fast Food: 20
At about 9pm last night, I reluctantly left my bit of shelter in front of the store and found a depression in the lawn near the playground at Jamala Beach County Park where I could lay my sleeping bag. Although it offered some slight protection, for the first part of the night I felt as if I was a cocoon in a wind tunnel. Then, suddenly at about 3am, the wind stopped so abruptly that I awoke. The night was a wonder with a full moon reflecting off of the unexpectedly calm ocean and with stars everywhere. I drifted back to sleep and didn’t awaken until daybreak.
After a quick snack (a banana and trail mix), I rode the 14 miles to Hwy 1 and then into Lompoc. In Lompoc, I stopped at the first diner I saw, ordered breakfast and enjoyed multiple cups of coffee and a good book in attempt to rid myself of the stiffness and fatigue of the last night.
Once I felt together, I rode off through the vegetable fields of the Central Coast. Pres. George H.W. Bush and most children would have hated it – miles and miles of broccoli (as well as lettuce and cauliflower). As I headed north, I rode past the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex (former residence of H.R. Haldeman and Ivan Boesky). Across from the prison, I saw a hand painted mural on a bus stop that said: “Stay in school. Knowledge is power.”
A few miles later, I skirted Vandenberg Air Force Base looking for a spur road off Hwy 1. While in Santa Barbara, I was having dinner at the bar of the “Tee Off Club” when three women sat down next to me. They were celebrating an evening out without husbands and children. We chatted for an hour as we ate (amazing what people will confide in a stranger) and one of the women asked me about my route and suggested that I take the Lompoc – Casmalia Road to Guadalupe. The road was washed out near Vandenberg, but I found another way to connect with it a few miles later. What a fortuitous suggestion as it was another stunning bit of road and scenery for cycling. I rode through Casmalia, Shuman and into Santa Maria. Then I reversed course and rode to Guadalupe. The strawberry fields there were almost ready for harvest and you could smell the sweet fruit essence everywhere. I had to restrain myself from pulling over and picking a handful.
In the late afternoon, I reached Pismo Beach. For those who are not familiar with it, this California state park permits you to drive vehicles onto the beach and camp anywhere. With some trepidation about being run over in the middle of the night by a 4×4 , I found another part of the park that had some secluded campsites. After unpacking, I took my dinner up to a bluff overlooking the beach and sat sheltered in the dune grass watching the vehicular chaos below and enjoying a wonderful sunset.