Bike for the Cure XX – Day 6 – Cambria to San Luis Obispo, including tour of Hearst Castle – June 2
Breakfast at Joe and Mary’s Zenk’s. Juice, coffee, cereal and milk, muffins. Hit the spot. Drove up to the Hearst Castle, about 15 minutes away. Watched the awesome video “Building the Dream” about the life of William Randolph Hearst, how his father was a miner who found silver, WRH’s childhood, his businesses, the conception of plans for the castle, its construction, etc. He was called “the Chief” by his employees. Charlotte and I toured the “Grand Rooms” and Mary Ann/Sherri toured the “Upper Rooms.” Sherri/Mary Ann were the only ones on their tour; Charlotte and I were with about 35-40 people.
The Hearst Castle is iconic on the Central California Coast. William Randolph Hearst was a media magnate. His building odyssey began when he engaged the renowned San Francisco architect Julia Morgan to build a castle in the middle of a quarter million acres of ranch land he owned near the tiny coastal burg of San Simeon. He was reported to have said, “Miss Morgan, we are tired of camping out in the open at the ranch in San Simeon and I would like to build a little something.” Hearst called his giant ranch “La Cuesta Encantada” (“Enchanted Hill.”) He contacted Miss Morgan in 1919 and the project lasted into 1945. The main building is called “Casa Grande,” the twin-spired castle, and the three smaller (yet still grand) casas in a complex that included two impressive swimming pools, extensive gardens, and the largest private zoo in the world. It grew to 165 rooms (56 of them bedrooms) in 80,000 feet of living space, with 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools, and walkways. There is a private air strip on the premises, which was built in 1945 to accommodate a Douglas DC3 airplane flying in and out.
After the tours, we met up in the gift shop, then drove back to the Zenks to change into riding clothes, eat some lunch, load up our gear, and say fond farewells to Joe and Mary. What wonderful hosts they are!
The route out of Cambria followed SR1 into Cayucos. Stopped at the church which inspired the chosing of the name “Hope” for my bicycle back in 2001. Passed through Morro Bay, Los Osos (the bears), and finally into San Luis Obispo.
Charlotte, Mary Ann, and Sherri rode the entire time from Cambria to the church in San Luis Obispo. Charlotte and I are not doing our usual “leap frogging.” Too difficult in unfamiliar urban territory which is very confusing most of the time. I ended up again not riding, but will ride tomorrow when it becomes more agricultural/rural.
Today’s route was 38 miles, about the same as yesterday. The six day total is 253 miles
With love from the road, in San Luis Obispo,
Bike for the Cure XX – Day 7 – San Luis Obispo to Lompoc CA – June 3
After a prayer, we left San Luis Obispo in the cool early morning fog. Headed South towards the coast through Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. Quaint beach towns. There was a classic car show in Pismo Beach; great 50’s classics. Passed by the Butterfly Grove where Monarch Butterflys stop for their winter rest. Interesting displays about the life cycle of the Monarchs.
In Oceano there were the familiar raised beds with strawberries growing through the holes in the grey plastic.
Huge hill which Charlotte, Mary Ann, and Sherri had to walk up. It came out of nowhere. Charlotte and I switch driving and bicycling near the corner of Halcyon and State Route 1. I was glad to ride since I didn’t ride yesterday. Charlotte only feels comfortable riding “straight shots” in our routes. Any turns confuse her and she gets lost. It was a straight shot to Guadelupe so she drove. Guadelupe is just over the county line into Santa Barbara County. Pretty good sized town in the middle of lots of acres of agriculture.
We were supposed to turn South on State Route 1 but it wasn’t marked and it just looked like a country road. Mary Ann and I were in the van, and Sherri and Charlotte were riding. Mary Ann and I drove 10 miles in the wrong direction before we realized our mistake. Had to turn around. Met up with Sherri and Charlotte who had only ridden 4 miles. Very hilly. Unloaded Mary Ann’s bike and loaded Sherri’s and Charlottes. Mary Ann rode her bike back down the hill, and I drove Sherri and Charlotte back to where we were supposed to turn. I continued to drive while everyone else rode.
Harris Grade was quite the challenge, a gain of 900 ft elevation over 3-4 miles. Charlotte didn’t want to ride up so just Mary Ann/Sherri did. Part way up, they came across a touring cyclist (Tom) who had run out of water. They gave him their water (knowing they could get more from our water cooler in the van). Charlotte and I waited until he got to where we were parked, and filled his water bottles with good cold water. He was very appreciative.
Downhill into Lompoc. Harris Grade Road became H Road and led us right to the Holiday Inn Express. The Methodist Church in Lompoc had reserved two rooms for us! Plus, they took us out to dinner at Ernie’s Grill. Pastor Kathleen and another gal (LaVelda) ate with us. That was so generous of their little church!
Lompoc is in Santa Barbara County. It was founded in 1888. It is dubbed “the flower seed capital of the world.” It is where Vandenberg Air Force Base is located. It was the first balistic missle base of the USAF. Vandenberg is the former Camp Cook; the change over took place in 1958. It is now considered to be a “bedroom community” to Santa Barbara.
Went to bed fairly early. Long, pretty hard day. I rode almost 16 1/2 miles before the “e-assist” on my bike gave out. Route was 61 miles, for a cumulative total of 315.
Found 4 pennies, for a totl of 14 cents of “rode change.”
Out of “Central California” and now in “Southern California.”
With love from the “Golden State,”
Bike for the Cure XX – Day 8 – Lompoc to Santa Barbara CA – June 4
Breakfast in the dining area of the Holiday Inn Express. Very nice selection and presentation.
After our prayer, Charlotte, Mary Ann, and Sherri headed South on State Route 1 out of Lompoc. I had to buy gass. Pretty expensive, about $3.80 gallon but we will split is four ways.
Long uphill off and on for about 20 miles. Had to stop part-way for flagger controlled passage. We loaded up the bikes and everyone because it had been decided some wanted to go to the little Danish community of Solvang. North on US 101 to Buellton, then East to Solvang. Did a bit of a walking tour there. One store sold exclusively Danish made products, including LEGOS. On the way out, we stopped in Buellton at the Anderson’s Pea Soup restaurant/gift shop.
Back South on the 101 Highway through Gaviota. Stopped at the Arroyo Hondo Vista Point. Charlotte and I switched bicycling and driving. I got to ride my furthest distance yet, 17.3 miles!!! Whoopie! Rode the first 7 miles on the shoulder of the 101, then got off on the Hollister exit and rode the rest of the 10 more miles to the Emanuel Lutheran Church. They hosted us before in 1999 (Charlotte and Evelyn), and in 2001 (Charlotte, Amanda Adams, and me).
Charlotte had prearranged dinner and showers at the home of a friend (and former student) Pam Sillix, who used to live in Grand Junction. Lovely town home. Pam’s son Blake and his girlfriend Rebecca (Becky, who is a good friend of Charlotte’s granddaughter Caitlin) joined us. Pork tenderloin, pasta salad, and regular salad, plus chocolate cake with whipped cream and a strawberry! A real gourmet dinner; Pam is an excellent chef! Showers were wonderful too!
Back to the church. Forgot the strawberries at Pam’s so Blake and Rebecca brought them to the church.
Everyone was tired so we went to bed a little after 9:00 pm.
Route today was 50 miles. I rode 17.3 miles of it. Cumulative route total is 365 miles. Just two more full days of riding.
With love from Santa Barbara,
Bike for the Cure XX – Day 9 – Santa Barbara to Port Hueneme CA – June 5
We have our morning routines pretty much in place now. With everything ready, we prayed and Charlotte, Mary Ann, and Sherri rode out of the church parking lot. I drove the van as usual.
Santa Barbara is on a South facing beach where the 101 runs East-West. Some people call Santa Barbara the “American Riviera.” It is 90 miles NW of Los Angeles. The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) is located in nearby Goleta.
We had good directions for leaving Santa Barbara. We had heard there was a bike path from Santa Barbara to Venture (not exactly true). We worked our way on bike lanes on surface streets down to the waterfront. I pulled into a parking lot at East Beach in Santa Barbara and on my way out a man flagged me down and told me his girlfriend lost her mother to HD and that the girlfirend’s sister has HD. He had spotted our magnetic door signs. He went and got his girlfriend Ann and we talked quite a bit. She had been active in the Orange County CA Support Group, done some of the Team Hope Walks, etc. She knew the two women I know from that area, Frances Saldana and Linda Oades Pimental. Small world! I gave Ann and her boyfriend Jason a ride brochure each, exchanged contact information, etc. I was very encouraged that I was in the right place at the right time to share.
The bike paths sort of starts and stops. But except for one 1/2 mile stretch on US 101, it was all surface streets with bike lanes or bike paths. Pretty much flat terrain.
We were riding on the North side of the 101 through Montecito, where that huge mudslide occurred a few months ago. I saw some giant boulders along the road, and in an adjacent creek bed which were left over from that disaster.
Passed the Santa Barbaba Polo and Raquet Club grounds. Stopped in Carpenteria. Mary Ann wanted some chili and a muffin. Other bicyclists were stopped there. Visited with a father (Scott) and teen-aged son (Justin) who were riding from San Francisco to somewhere in SoCal. The boy Justin is only 15 and wasn’t eligible to do the AIDS ride, so he and his dad were riding the same route, I think. Dad Scott knew two people in Boulder CO who had HD.
Nice new trail adjacent to State Route 1, the Ralph Fertig Memorial Bike Path.
Along the coast there are many “campgrounds” but the term has to be taken loosely. The camgrounds are paved, asphalt, and one RV after another are parked “Southbound.” The shoulder is quite wide for riding, and is along the State Route 1, not the 101.
Mary Ann wanted some fish and chips at a restaurant near the Ventura pier. Sherri had some sweet potato fries. Charlotte and I went a bit further, I parked the van, and we ate our peanut butter/lettuce sandwiches (which tasted pretty good).
The rest of the way to Port Hueneme had bike lanes and wide shoulders. Port Hueneme is a small beach town in Ventura County, surrounded by Oxnard. “Hueneme” is pronounced “Wy-NEE-mee.” It is the only deep water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The US Navy controls the harbors between San Diego and the Puget Sound in WA.
My friend Doris Pittman and her daughter Jennie rented us an Airbnb house in Port Hueneme. Simple but very adequate for our needs. After showers, Doris, her granddaughter Xochi (pronounced SO-chee) took us to dinner to a local Mexican restaurant. I have been friends with Doris for 50 years. We met in LA, and I was her Matron of Honor at her wedding. We were “young” mothers together and her two daughters and our two sons used to have “play dates” before that phrase was coined. It was so great to see Doris and Xochi again. Hadn’t seen them in 2 1/2 years (since I was in SoCal for my 50th college reunion in 2015).
Coming out of the Mexican restaurant I found 62 cents road change which Doris had “planted.” She thought I needed. That jumped the total up to 76 cents.
Weather was cool today, a slight mist. Sun really never burnt off the light fog. Hope it’s sunnier tomorrow.
Total route mileage was 41 miles, which Charlotte, Mary Ann, and Sherri rode. I didn’t get to ride because Charlotte can’t handle the driving in unfamiliar situations. Hope to be able to ride tomorrow, our last full day of riding. I hope to ride at least 11 miles to break the 100 mile milestone. That is only about half of what I had hoped to ride.
It’s not even 9:00 pm and everyone has “crashed” in bed. I needed to get my messages caught up, which I was able to do because of a good Internet connection.
One more time … with love from the road,
PS – Our donations have reached $22,500 now, exceeding our goal. It’s not too late to donate if you want to. Go to www.hdsa.org/bikeforthecure and follow the prompts.