Day 22 2021 – Sun, Fog, Seals

It was a hazy view of the ocean that greeted us as we left this morning. The Lucia Lodge normally had a restaurant and gift shop. Unfortunately, a fire had destroyed that building and we had no local breakfast option other than the coffee maker in our room.

When we arrived at our room in Lucia yesterday, we were given 2 vouchers for a continental breakfast at “one of the neighboring establishments”. The voucher was only good from 7:30 – 9:30 am and the neighbor was 11 miles down the road. We knew there was a cafe and market in Goleta, only a couple of miles farther, so we weren’t concerned if we missed it.

We were efficient, getting on the road by 8:20. We were moving at a good pace and 11 miles in that time should not have been an issue. My experiences with continental breakfast were never good. Typically it was coffee, maybe juice, and some cheap, packaged baked good or toast. As a Warm Showers host once told me over pancakes and eggs he was serving me, “Continental breakfast is for people that don’t eat breakfast”. We didn’t rush, taking some pictures along the way. Then came a few steep hills. It was almost 9:20 when we saw the sign for the “neighbor”, The Treebones Inn. We turned off CA 1 onto a road with switchbacks.

We didn’t need a sign to go slow. The uphill grade was enough

Right away we were hit with a slope so steep, we had to walk to the first turn. The hotel was nowhere in sight, and from an earlier look on google, the inn was more than a half mile up the road. Suddenly, it’s 9:25, going up steep switchbacks and the 5 minute per mile pace is now a 10 minute per mile pace. I raced ahead cutting through more switchbacks and thought I had hit paydirt when I saw cars in a parking lot. Instead of the restaurant, I saw this sign.

After some quick cursing, I pedaled up the hill, got off my bike, took off my helmet, got a mask out of the panniers, and quickly went in to the lobby. I could see a woman was already starting to gather up what looked like a buffet. I went to the front desk, slapped the vouchers down on the desk and said, “Me and my friend outside just rode 12 and a half miles for breakfast, please keep it open a little longer.” In spite of my agitation, she was nice and said no problem. The woman clearing the buffet said “I heard. I will keep out 2 of everything.” It was worth the race to the top. There was hot quiche, fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, and what I think was tapioca pudding. We relaxed in this lap of luxury for an hour. The bathroom was nicer than some our hotels in that it had a better shower!

As is always the case, we seem to always have a challenging climb right after we eat. We went past Goleta, over bridges, through tunnels, and climbed to see the ocean waves splash against the rocks in the sunlight.

The group of charity riders that had started from Big Sur was now starting to catch us. Although we were riding at the same time on the same roads, we could not enjoy their support system.

Tryin to hitchhike a ride didn’t get me up this hill
I was working so hard, it took two of me to get up this hill. (Look closely!)

Somewhere before we reached Ragged Point, Fog came rolling up the cliffs from the ocean.

This gives a taste of how high we climbed, with the fog below us for a while.

Ron reached the restaurant at Ragged Point ahead of me. When I caught up with him, he was instructing a group on the proper method of clipping and unclipping from the pedals on the bike. Something about unclipping before stopping or was it the other way around? Any way, he might have mentioned that we were not one of the charity riders and we were just a group of 2 going from Canada to Mexico. He also got his milk shake fix from one of the dealers on the street.

After Ragged Point, we only had 18 miles more to the hotel in San Simeon. It was a mostly downhill ride and no headwind. About 5 miles north of the hotel we stopped to catch our first glance at some elephant seals on the beach. Most were just lying still, but a few were kicking up the sand and making a more comfortable bed.

While we were watching the seals, we were once again caught by our leapfrogging friend, Sam Taxwood. We didn’t see Desiree anywhere, but a mile down the road, he was doubling back. I couldn’t make out what he yelled as he went by, but I think he said something about Canada??

About a half mile beyond the official viewpoint for the elephant seals, I spied a group playing in the waves, like I’d seen 2 years ago. The biggest difference was the sunny skies 2 years ago.

Some slept on the shore and others splashed in the waves.

The Hearst Castle was on our way in to San Simeon. I took 5 foggy pictures from the road, then got this one during a break in the fog.

We made it to the hotel by 2:30 in the afternoon. This was a record for finishing our ride.

We would have lots of time to shower, take care of laundry, and connect to loved ones who hadn’t heard from us for almost 48 hours due to lacking cell service. To make sure we could get our clothes dry, I got 2 hair dryers from the front desk.

We walked to the end of the road to scope out another restaurant and mini mart, only to return to the restaurant at our own Motel 6. We found the restaurant empty and 2 people sitting at the bar area. We just couldn’t find any bar tender or service staff. We went back to the restaurant area and a young man popped out from the back area. At first, he told us we could only do carry out or have delivery to the room. We asked if we could sit at a booth in the bar area. Finally he said yes, since he was the order taker, delivery person, and bar tender anyway! They were a little short staffed 🙂

It all made for another day of adventure. You can see the ride details here.

The Not So Lone Rider

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