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.