Day 64: San Luis Obispo, California

Elevation gained: 583 ft/Miles 18/Total Miles: 3,164/Total Fast Food: 20f

A day of relaxation. Given the proximity to the ocean, the dew was dense last night. As a result, my sleeping bag was soaked and it took an hour for me to dry it out once the sun rose. But, I didn’t mind. I had a good book and was in no rush as today’s destination, San Luis Obispo, was only a bit less than 20 miles away. The only interruption in my peaceful morning was a gaggle of geese eating insects near the table in my campsite. I grabbed my camera for a photograph and when I was within five feet of them, a large white goose blew the clarion and suddenly I had six geese chasing me until I jumped up on the table. First dogs, now geese. What’s next?

Outside of Pismo, a cyclist gave me directions to San Luis Obispo. Most of the route was a bike path or bike lane. As I pedaled, I saw dozens of other riders enjoying the beautiful sunny day. Given the excellent roads and the spectacular scenery it’s no surprise that biking is popular here.

I haven’t been to San Luis Obispo or “SLO(w)” as it is affectionately called for almost 30 years. But, not much has changed. It’s still very much a college town with a culture reflective of the acronym. As I entered the town on Higera Street, there was no “Welcome to San Luis Obispo, Heart of the Galaxy, Most Important City on Earth, etc.” type of sign that you see with other communities. Instead, it merely said “City Limits” as if the residents felt that understatement better conveyed who they are. After I completed the chores of washing my clothes and cleaning my bike, I explored the downtown area, which was largely as I remember it – intimate, unhurried and friendly.

The thing that tells you all you need to know about this city is “ Bubble Gum Alley”, possibly the largest collection of DNA outside of the FBI. For decades, people have been turning the corner down this alley off Higera and Marsh, removing their gum and placing it on the brick walls. I remember it from a visit when I was in college and it is still here. The city used to periodically clean it up, but for years now has instead taken a more relaxed attitude.

And, that is what SLO is all about.


Filed under Biking U.S.

6 responses to “Day 64: San Luis Obispo, California

  1. noel

    Give a wave up the hill at the intersection of Hwy 1 and Hwy 46 a few miles before Cambria. My folks live at the crest of the hill (look for the massive sandstone cliffs atop the ridge). Also, take time to dawdle in Cayucos if you can, kind of a cool little beach town.

  2. Polish Super Hero

    SLO – Good place to reload on Agave…and chewing gum! I see these beautiful picture of the Santa Barbara area and I start to get jealous…then I read your writings…gnarly headwinds, soaked sleeping bag, no shelter from the elements…I like the reading about your journey, I’ll let you live it.
    Wheelside down, Roll strong,

  3. Gary Kissiah

    I never heard of Bubble Gum Alley, that will be a most see the next time we are in SLO?

    Gee, I wonder if you tried to find the gum you stuck there back in your college days…..

    Keep em rollin,

  4. Bill MacGowan

    Mike: Well you are almost home! I’ve been following your adventures and can’t wait to count the dog teeth marks on your ankles. If you stop in Santa Cruz on the way up, check out Logos bookstore downtown. Really glad you went to the bookstores in Santa Barbara – they are terrific, but every purchase means more weight when you are pedalling. Best of luck to you for the rest of your journey. Then take two days of rest, fly to Minneapolis, get in your kayak, and head down the Mississippi.

  5. Scottish Super Heroine

    You’re almost home. There’s no need to hurry–the weeds will still be there! We are cheering for Bryce as he sails the discus & the shotput at the Fisher track meets. I’d say he’s an animal . . . just like his dad.
    Enjoy the moments,
    Scottish Super Heroine married to Polish Super Hero

  6. Shannon Bankosh

    What an incredible journey…your posts have been a joy to read. While I try to remember what exactly I have accomplished in the last few months, you have ridden across country…Amazing…. Congradulations, we are so proud of you!!!

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