Day 20: Refugio Beach to Leo Carrillo State Park, 82 miles
What possesses me to make such a ridiculous ride, on the heels of crossing the Lompoc peninsula? Some kind of cycling tourist machismo, or show of brute strength? Or just to prove that I can, still, at 50?
I start the day, luxuriating in the warmth of the sun on my tent. I’m only riding to Carpinteria, so leaving later than normal is fine. Strong tailwinds have me flying down the 101. I’m making such good time, I decide to double the mileage for the day and ride to Malibu.
I fly through downtown Santa Barbara. Is it downhill? Or the wind? Or my strength, finally up to touring fitness? Yes, yes, yes. Onto the palm line bike path by the beach, then up to the Cross City Bike Path. I stop at the Luna Cafe in Summerland, second coffee break. An urban farm there is growing greens for several restaurant housing tower aquaponics. Maybe FireWorks could do this!
Back on the road, the wind carrying me towards Ventura. So many miles, so quickly. Cycling is a dream. Then as I approach Oxnard, I start to slow. At 60 miles, I am needing to stop. Third coffee bread and groceries. I’m leaving the store as the sun sets. Still 20 miles to go.
The Pacific Bike Route skirts a large Naval base at Oxnard, past farm fields, getting darker by the mile. I reach the strange “Naval Missile Park” is saw two years ago, relic of the Cold War. These are nuclear weapons, and in the dusk creepier than ever. Bringer of Mass Destruction, these should be objects of horror and shame, not celebrated as they are in this memorial. How to put this into perspective? To reconcile freedom, at what price?
I’m back on the road, joining the 101 freeway, which quickly turns into the winding Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH as it is called here. Mostly level, completely dark, I rely on Google navigation to see how far I have yet to go. Then I reach Leo Carillo campground. The Hiker/Biker site is deserted and a bit spooky. But endorphins are a salve for sore muscles and edgy nerves. 82 miles. A Malibu marathon ride.