Possibly it was the wine or just fatigue, but I slept well last night. Perhaps, a little too well. I awoke to the chatter of crows near my bicycle. As I groggily raised my eyelids, I noticed they were pecking at trash scattered over the area. Thinking that the wind had overturned a trashcan, I arose and started picking it up immediately noticing that it was my food. Judging by the muddy paw prints on my bike, it looks as if a few raccoons raided my pantry. They unzipped four of the pockets on my panniers and took almost every single bit of food I have. I didn’t hear a thing.
After cleaning up the mess, I headed out in the direction of Big Sur stopping at San Simeon for breakfast and to resupply. This portion of Hwy 1 is one of the most dramatic and scenic coastlines in the country. However, most of what I saw was my front wheel as tried to keep my head down in the face of cold, murderous, headwinds. On occasion, the leeward side of a mountain would offer protection, but as soon as I rounded the corner the full blast of the wind would hit me, sometimes pushing me into the lane of oncoming traffic. I stopped a few times to enjoy the view of the spectacular mountains of the Ventana Wilderness, white-capped ocean chop and the molting sea elephants. But, these pauses were brief because I could only stay warm while pedaling. I saw a number of riders, all heading south reveling in their amazing tailwind. Most of them gave me a quick wave and an empathetic grin, but given the conditions, no one stopped.
Long stretches of the highway are under construction. I’m guessing this due to the heavy rains from this winter, as there are still rivulets of water and mud running down the hillsides. In some areas, I had the uneasy feeling that the cliffs above me could break free at anytime. It’s amazing where CalTrans operates some of their heavy equipment. In one area, there was a large bulldozer cutting into the hillside only a few feet from what could be a 1,500 ft drop. When the driver waved at me, I wanted to scream at him to pay attention to what he was doing.
It wasn’t until 7:30pm that I reached my campsite. I was so chilled that I parked my bike, grabbed a change of clothes and went immediately into a hot shower. Once I was warm, I ate my freeze-dried pasta and then crawled into my bag exhausted.
But first, I bagged my food and hung it from a tree. The raccoons will need to find their own meal tonight.