Mud Creek slide, repaired

Day 28, Plaskett Creek to Morro Bay State Park, 61 miles

I wake well rested. My dreams have fed me. I’m ready for the challenging ride ahead. Eager to see the new highway repairs too. I’m packed and on the road long before the other cyclists have even risen.

It’s overcast, chilly as I head out along Route 1. I’m getting back into feeling my road legs again. Climbs come quickly, smaller than the ones at Salmon Creek. I pass the town of Gorda, another tourist trap with stratospheric prices. There are just a few miles to the slide that closed the route south for a year and a half.

I roll up the short hill, then see the new highway. Hard to fathom what a million tons of earth look like, until one sees this new highway. The long, steep slope, now covered with likely the same amount of rip rap. Far below, the 30 foot high sea wall. Construction vehicles continue to move earth and large rock. This will likely be a construction site for years to come.

I descend the new road quickly. A quarter mile downhill takes almost no time, compared to the 60 mile day I’m riding. I’m humbled to realize my favorite mode of travel requires such blacktopped highway, and so much engineering and capital investment.

I think of all the other cycling adventurers in less developed areas, particularly those posting on Instagram with the hashtag #bikewander. Gravel roads, mountain bikes set for touring, fording flooded rivers, skirting snow fields and glaciers. My touring in this perspective is kind of cushy. Maybe next summer I’ll venture further away from this route. Norway? Northern Europe?

For now, I continue south out of Big Sur. I surmount the twin climbs at Salmon Creek slowly, then descend to Ragged Point. Pause for coffee, then the last hills of Big Sur, descending to the plains before San Simeon. I pick up the strong tailwinds and fly over the miles, past the sea lion overlook, on past Cambria, San Simeon, Cayucos.

I’m at Morro Bay long before sunset. With all the tailwinds, I could have ridden further today. I’m ready to stop though, settle into camp at the state park. A large group of teens are also occupying the group site adjacent to the hiker biker site.

I set up my camp below the towering eucalyptus, hope the full moon won’t keep these teens up too late. I might need to use my earplugs. I head back into town for dinner, a spot right on the bay, just as the sun sets behind the massive Morro Rock. By the time I return to camp, it’s dark, and the kids seem to have settled down. Ah, I’ll rest well tonight.

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