A wildness all around

Day 36, San Simeon to Morro Bay State Park, 28 miles

Such a cold night. I didn’t sleep well. I keep resisting putting on my tights, an extra top layer. Instead shivering in my three season tent and 20° sleeping bag. I know San Simeon is a cold campground. I’ve frozen there before.

My ride is off all day because of this. I’m tired, moving slow, even though the miles are easy. I stop in Cambria for coffee and sit at an outdoor table with a few old timers entertain me with anecdotes and war stories. I stop one as he is again repeating how he used to bicycle before his “traumatic brain injury” for a wreck.

“Do you want me to stop riding?” I ask him point blank. When he says no, I tell him I don’t want to hear about his bicycle crash for a third time. “We touring cyclists have a special kind of denial”. I’m justifying my risk, I know. I’ve had close calls, mostly clueless drivers who don’t see us or simply can’t understand we move at the same speed as cars sometimes.

I want to get on my way. So I finish my coffee, bid the gentlemen goodbye and ride on towards Harmony, then on to Cayucos. I’ve got a tailwind, climbing easily now. I round the curving coast and see the hulking stack of Morro Rock in the distance. Onwards, past beaches and a long strip of a community which lines Route 1.

I arrive at Morro Bay as the afternoon is waning, stop for another coffee break, then head to that cute little natural foods store.  Oh, I reminisce how the coop used to be this size, small, narrow aisles. Growth is not always a good thing for community.

I pedal the last few miles to the state park. Two other cyclists there, both Europeans. It’s been a lonely ride this tour, but I’m realizing my need for solitude is matching well with these conditions. Over in the golf course I see several wild turkeys and a fox, jumping around what must be a squirrel.

I shower then retire to my tent, where I hear owls overhead. Then the coyotes start their serenade, yipping like a pack of pups. What a beautiful haunting sound, a reminder of a wildness all around, brought into clear focus.

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