Day 33, Full Circle Farm to Santa Monica Hostel International, 75 miles
Two invisible helpers on today’s ride: gravity and wind. Gravity aids my first twenty miles I’m basically descending, coasting down hill. Makes the distance disappear between Ojai and Ventura disappear almost as quickly as the good spirits from the fire. How to keep the inspiration, the passion, these are my meditations today. Good things to ponder, as I move back from permaculture into the ecological impossibility that is Southern California. Twenty million people living a wildly consumptive life in a concrete landscape, all situated on millions acres of desert.
Tailwinds blow me along the PCH from Ventura on in past the Santa Monica Mountain range, in through Malibu, closer and closer to Los Angeles. The traffic grows busier and more aggressive. Ocean views are blocked by gated mansions and estates, beach houses perched on pylons destined to be reclaimed by the waves. The ride is seventy five miles, yet I arrive well before sunrise in Santa Monica, head to the hostel. I’m going to meet Alden and Claire, who arrived in LA a few days ago.
They drive up to pick me up, and strange, it feels like we’ve know each other for a long time. Much longer than the few days which actually comprise our relationship. Another way bicycle travel is like a time machine: bonds are easier, deeper, sharing the adventure, challenge, and inspiration of pedal powered travel. We go for margaritas and guacamole at a local Santa Monica eatery. Prices here are as inflated as ever. We talk of further destinations, I’m planning to ride into Baja to visit Lissette and Juan in Ensenada, Alden plans to ride up to Joshua Tree.
We part and I return to the hostel to rest. Sleep comes easy, the first bed I’ve been in for a month. In the morning, I meet up for breatfast with my friend Diana for Corvallis. Serendipity and a baby shower brought her to LA at the same time as my tour. Many laughs as we try out the Lyft scooters, immediately understanding the appeal of these now ubiquitous and obnoxious rentals. The cost for a short trip adds up. I wonder at the long term viability, as scooter riders now crowd the sidewalks they are not supposed to occupy.
I decide on another night at the hostel, doing laundry and relaxing deeply. My tour has taken a toll, I’m feeling road worn and homesick. Contact with my beloved has been sparse, news from the restaurant continually strained. Maybe it’s time to go home. I’m reluctantly considering riding further south. It seems the end of a tour usually comes to this, a hesitation about continuing, a reluctance to return.