Day 27: Santa Maria to Refugio Beach State Park
The midpoint of today’s ride was a visit to Andersen’s Split Pea, an homage to my mother. She always recalls visits to the spot, even though the name is spelled the original way of my Swedish ancestors. Andersen’s is a place frozen in time, serving the same bland pale green soup since 1924. The kitchy tourist trap includes a Christmas shop – it’s always Christmas at Andersens, a bunch of creepy Swiss Maid dolls, and a super scarey bloated chef statue – the first picture above. Ate two bowls of the all-you-can-eat stuff, nothing to write home about – I like homemade soup better, then was about to head out, only to find…
Flat tire! First flat on the trip, caused by a very well-placed thorn, nonetheless leaving my faith in the Schwalbe Marathons tarnished. Hope you enjoy the above vineyard photo, that little bit of off-roading cost me my flat-free record for the tour. Patched the flat in a few, check the pressure on the tires, and on the road in a flash. A flat really isn’t a big deal.
Riding down Highway 101 proved easier than climbing over the Lompoc Peninsula on Highway 1, as I did last year. Up and over the pass, then down to the Santa Barbara coastline. I was pretty tired, pushing hard all day, especially on the flat stretches. Growling, yelling, hooting, and the occasional “FUC!K” kept me moving on.
At last, Refugio Beach! This is one of my favorite parks on the tour. The hiker biker site is a located right at the edge of the beach, with huge palm trees overhead. A quick shower, a consult with my manager Ella and Intaba regarding a new chef hire (he took the job!) and on to sunset. As I write the tent is surrounded with kids playing flashlight tag and raising all sorts of ruckus.
The sunset was like none other. Stuning. Breathtaking. Caused me to stop and stare, for a long while. I was frozen in time. Then I grabbed the camera and shot several pictures, as the light faded.
Watched pelicans fishing again, more than half a dozen. making strafing runs, then the kamikaze plunge beak-first right into the drink. The prehistoric looking birds were much closer to shore this time so I got a better video. The seemed to keep coming back to the same spots. Fishing was good! Enjoy the pelicans, and the sunset: