Day 21: San Simeon State Beach to San Luis Obispo, 38 miles
The last ride of a tour always has a touch of melancholy. It’s as if I just got comfortable in the saddle, just found the strength in my legs, just figured out how to endure the miles of solitude, just remembered how to live. And now, I have to stop? Not just yet. One more ride, around the coast to San Luis Obispo, where I will catch the Coast Starlight north.
I’m up with the sun, strike the tent, on the road at 630am. Into Cambria, Route 1 Business finds a swank sleepy tourist town, lots of high end realty sales offices, and a coffee shop. Big Sur bars! Coffee and a ham and cheese croissant, back on the road. The terrain is desert, brush, sage, low junipers, fewer wildflowers, which make there colors stand out even more starkly against the brown and grey.
I pass the intersection to Paso Robles, I notice the directional signs for LifeCycle, and see a volunteer there to direct cyclists. I’ve joined their ride again! Somehow my progress over Big Sur has matched their rides over the inner valley, following 101. Incredible. I’m riding much slower, in miles per hour, but the long distances brought us together. I ring my bell as each passes, chat with some, even am recognized by a couple riders I talked with two days ago.
We ride to Morrow Bay, where they peel off the highway and I continue on Route 1. Riding the freeway is fast, though noisy. The miles click off as I near San Luis Obispo. Military installation, new prison being built at the county sheriff’s building, then the ominous California Men’s Colony, a maximum security state prison. I remember one of the Sun Magazine’s contributors is an innate there, and imagine what it might be like to visit him after the workshop this fall. Perhaps I will.
San Luis Obispo is a quaint college town, brilliant under the dazzling California skies. I cycle over the the YMCA to catch a shower, first in two days, and that feels so good. Then off to lunch and to catch my train north. My mood is mellow, satisfied. Completion is a joy.