Monterey to Ventura

Monterey to Ventura via HWY 1 and what is often referred to as Juan Bautista De Anza Trail.

The Bike:  Hunter 29er in what i call Cafe Adventure Touring style.


using an Old Man Mountain rear rack, a set of panniers, and some awesome bags from Jeff Boatman at Carousel Design Works


The plan was to follow the itinerary laid out in "Bicycling the Pacific Coast"

however, things didn't follow to the letter.  A fundamental aspect to this trip was to be 100% self contained, self supported, and to stick to the $5/night Bicycle Camping.

Day 1:  Monterey to Kirk Creek


Kirk Creek is about 60 miles south of Carmel, with lots of hills.  Day 1 is also the heaviest of the days, being that I carried all my food.  not once did i stop at a store.

I've done this stretch of coast line numerous times.  Kirk Creek sits at the base of Naciemeinto Ferguson Rd, which is the coastal access to Ft. Hunter Liggett, Cone Peak, etc...  this jaunt of of +60 miles, I've become very familiar with.  it has lots of hills.

Day 2: Kirk Creek to Morro Bay.

in the book " Bicycling the pacific coast", this leg is supposed to be San Simeon. which is just north of Morro Bay.

as i was rolling into San Simeon, i had plenty of hours left to the day, and figuring that I had the hills now behind me, a fast tailwind, that i may as well carry the momentum straight into Morro Bay where I know the campground to be nice.

day 1 is a bunch of hills, and it was the first day which meant a full load, not even 1 meal lightened from the load.
day 1 is the heaviest, and the hilliest... but also the most rested legs... 

day 2 started on the road around 10am, which i felt was some sort of laziness or maybe a by product of "too much junk"IMG_2291 strung about the place.

either way, day 2 not having nearly as much hill as the previous, the miles rolled by.

The Hunter with those 47c touring tyres, really goes freaking fast, if you let it. On descents, its very easy to start taking lines like a sport bike. the big 203 front rotor has plenty of feel and power to handle things. 

the thing that blows the mind, and brings a sober thought, is the speed that you could let this thing roll at...
of which later, a HWY1 descent... Breaking Away-esq played out.

Elephant seals doing their thing in San SimeonIMG_2316
the pier at the William Randolph Hearst beach
day 2 coming into Morro Bay, i was tired. the rollers of San Simeon seemed to start to drone, and the distant Morro in the bay seemed to hover in the distance... regardless of monster tailwind... running 44x the last 3 cogs a whole lot.

climbing a section of HWY 1 in Cambria, with the pines, and white chalk rock, reminded me of HWY 68 (Holman HWY) that I'd climbed for about 4yrs straight...

of course Cambria and Monterey having last strands of cypress and certain pines...

the crest of "Harris Grade" is also full of small sapling pines, just like Huckleberry Hill, HWY 68/Pebble Beach.


at Morro Bay, the camping is great.


the eucalyptus trees provide plenty of hot dead fall for the wood burning stove.

Oily eucalyptus is easy to get a fire going with, and all the little droppings are abundant.  its a simple matter of picking it up off the ground and  tossing it in the fire box.

Day 3:  Morro Bay to Lompoc

the previous day (day 2) was something like 60 miles...

according to the book, i was to ride over to Oceano, which is something like a piddlie 20 miles...

when i get over to the beach, the park aide at the kiosk tells me that due to the "transient" problem, they did away with the Hike/Bike camping area.

which is $5

so all they had available were regular spots at $25/night. 

well... heck... 
part of the deal with this ride is to only stay at $5/night Bicycle Camping spots....

being around 1pm i decided to just keep going, and make my way towards Gaviota.
which according to the book is something like another 60 miles...

so that would put the day at 80 solid...
after 2 days of 60 mile jaunts, dealing with 80 to get to Gaviota wasn't what i had in mind for the day...

Leaving Oceano, HWY 1 rolls into a little town called Guadalupe...IMG_2346

like a silly guy, somehow i rolled out of Oceano with little water, and now into Guadalupe, i was thinking of the options in Lompoc, +80 F temp got me to looking for water.

while going thru town, there was a sort of festival, fiesta, band... radio station, cops, fire trucks, etc... something going on.

rolling thru town, the girls would hoot and holler, the guys would say things in spanish that i have no idea...

feeling like i need to roll thru town, and get out, i pick the last spot that i thought would have a faucet, so its into the Laundromat...
step inside, the whole place stares at me, and i search for the sink... not finding it, i decided i'd try the rest room...
grabbing the door nob, it doesnt turn, but its a pull direction, and suddenly I've pulled the door wide open, exposing a big dude in a tank top sitting on the throne!

and to top it off... the door opens to the whole of the Laundromat.

close the door, and the lady that works there, laffing... points me to the sink, and i take off... 

that was unique!

Leaving Guadalupe, HWY 1 is straight and open, with the wind to my back, the miles roll by. and roll i mean... rollin... 44x11t often. at times its like riding a 3spd. big ring and those last 3 cogs.

Harris Grade is only about 1000ft, about a 700ft climb, then it drops into Lompoc.
at the base of the grade it was around 3:30pm, hot, the sweat dripping off my elbows, and i wondered how much further to Lompoc, and then what?

my thoughts about a mention in the book about a city ran campground.

Into Lompoc taking a break, drinking faucet water... i ask a passer by, and sure enough... River Park has bicycle camping $5/night

i arrive around dusk, and i think its been another 60 mile day. tired... salty, ready to set up camp, eat, and split.

a couple of transients have paid their fees, and rather than be spooked, etc... i decide to say hello and make friends to a certain extent. however... "celestra" the english lady living out of her Saturn wagon, has invited friends over, and now she keeps coming over to invite me over for dinner, etc...

ironic how those with the least of things, are often so giving. i could barely wiggle my way out of it.

with camp set, the even wind had picked up a bunch, and to top things off, there wasn't really any decent deadfall around, so i opted to use my Snow Peak micro stove burning iso-fuel.

burning the iso-fuel, to me is like ultra waste/ultra luxury... burning fuel, to me, is exactly that... burning fuel, and something to be miserly managed.

the total opposite to the wood burning stove, where warmth, kettles of warm water, tea all the time, and slow simmering dinners, are all part of the "fire in box" deal.

in the night i wake up to a sense of something watching me...
look up, and there's a young calico checking me out... early morning i think it was...
probably someone's cat, 
she responded to my little "cat clicks", and finger postures, let me pet her, and soon she'd be inside the shelter...
really wanting to sit on the puffy sleeping bag... but not sure enough to actually hang around...

early day break, and i decide to pick up and take off in early fashion.

Day 4: Day 4 Lompoc to Refugio State Beach


keep in mind, that the whole of this trip, not once did i stop to buy anything...
not even a freaking "Oakie Cola", that "shot in the arm", I'd so fiendishly crave... i'd roll on by...
filter water thru the MSR filter, or sucking on faucet water...
instant coffee, sugar, green tea...

I'm a green tea-aholic

this trip to Ventura is to take pop to The City of Hope in Duarte, Ca.
pop has bladder cancer... so it goes, what occurs when you smoke for 50 yrs.

so dont smoke, and drink your green tea!

this day, is gonna be a good one

i'm a head of the itinerary outlined in the book, "Bicycling the pacific coast"
today is Lompoc to Refugio State Beach.

from River Park, turn left uphill for 13.5 mile climb to a summit of about 1000ft.
its a fairly smooth, roller-ish, gentle climb...
big ring x 4th cog down and a bit more, often possible, and a bunch of middle ring...
that spin... then that big ring and stand a bit.... repeat this rhythm 

i look up and see an AWAC flying over head, and i have to stop and pull out my little field scope, to check it out... 
me wondering to myself when AWACs started flying in visible places like this... 
me thinking of the proximity of Vandenberg AFB
of course AWACs have great cruising distances, and the proximity of Vandenberg probably has nothing to do with anything...

this is what happens to the mind after a little bit, with no iPod, TV, computer, etc...
none of those things to stimulate your mind, so simple thoughts entertain my mind for hours on end...

nearing the summit, cattle are around, and with that those, crazy super fast flies that are impossible to out run. so there i am... climbing, dripping sweat, nearing 1000ft mark, in +80 F heat with cattle in fields, and super flies...

then comes a 7% descent for 2.5 miles right onto HWY 101 
HWY 1 & 101 merge!

descending onto 101 just north of Gaviota, southbound.

the 7% descent is straight! and FAST!
stupid fast

the pucker factor and risk, have me feathering the brake, and staying in some kind of "reasonable" stupid fast zone...

onto HWY 101 its still a descent
the shoulder nice and wide... trucks, traffic wiz by...
the draft pulls me along...

Caltrans is out
they have the right hand lane closed, along with the shoulder...
orange cones
lights... arrows...

all narrowing HWY 101 into ONE SINGLE lane... descending thru the rocks, just outside the southbound rest stop...

big ring, last cog... 
spinning the gear, with as much speed and form as i know...
and still the draft of passing cars pulls me faster...

the HWY narrowing into 1 single lane...
2 semi's passing, during the last moments before i have to absolutely become PART OF TRAFFIC...

a couple of SUV's, and a white GMC lets me into the FAST LANE

a 4 Runner in front of me... 
a huge draft... speed beyond anything i could even imagine trying to pedal...

and yet still, the turbulence buffeting my feet, keep a low tuck, and the wind passing directly over head...


the lanes open up right at the exit to the rest stop, and its not until around the actual entrance to Gaviota State Beach, where motorists start to pass by, all giving the thumbs up.

something like 10 miles left until Refugio State Beach
HWY 101, the shoulder is wide, the day is still young, barely noon...

Refugio is a paradise!

just what i had hoped for

here i sit for 2 days!

its like one of those Corona commercials.
$5/night, true bicycle camping spots
and only feet away from the ocean

here so close to Santa Barbara the water is warm
much different than Monterey.


by far, the highlight of this trip was the 2 days spent at Refugio

still... only eating what i carried, and drinking the tea and coffee 

by shear chance i had thought, at the last minute, to go buy a hammock 

and it paid off. oh man did it pay off! lugging that extra pound for that super nice hammock was worth it like, an quick trip to Maui to forget work...

2 days of simple bliss...

lots of time spent floating around in the water...
washed clothes, and ate well...

to Ventura...

with 5 days @ $5/night

with 2 days of rest
and around 60 miles to Ventura...

down range...
march order
last leg... 
so me thinks...
or perhaps Carpenteria...
depending on how things look, and how i feel

i get into Carpenteria, its only 1pm
the park aide at the kiosk says hike/bike cant check in until 4pm
(again.. the transient problem thing)

so i decide to roll to Ventura
its easy.
its flat

rolling along HWY 101/1 i know this section like the back of my hand.
my old grounds
even as a kid i had rode this section going to SB and Carp on my 10spd Torelli around 85-87'

and even more recently during my 3 month stay in Ventura this time last year until Xmas.

as i exit HWY 101 and onto Rincon park way...
i notice a fellow cyclist with panniers...
then notice they are using Power Cranks... i comment on it, and she tells me she actually has a prosthetic 

so check her out
Lisa Tylee

flips my lid
its off the hook!

totally amazing!

we rode all the way into Ventura.
an amazing person!

Ventura in a nutshell:

the trip is to take pop to The City of Hope in Duarte, Ca.

in Ventura, i rented a car, and we made the trips... a couple of trips

turns out dad is not a candidate for any operations.

at this point its a matter of time. he has bladder cancer that has spread to his kidneys, his liver and into his pelvis.

so dont smoke and drink plenty of water
or better yet

Green Tea

dad's first appointment was Friday

with that accomplished...IMG_2388
Saturday morning i took AmTrak to Union Station, LA

then rode to the Fairfax/Melrose area to visit my mom, 3 brothers, sister, and her 2 boys.

(here's a shot of The Hunter on the steps of the Disney Concert Hall)

i've made this trip a bunch of times.
using the trains is a great way to haul your bike. its awesome!
$17 each way on AmTrak

we pass the site of the Chatsworth disaster.
especially since, a year ago, i was often on that train, returning to Ventura, (actually montalvo, where coincidently my grandfather has a rental property less than a block away)

in Ventura i removed the rear rack, panniers, and made the trip into LA with just the bags from Carousel Design Works, and a Camelbak for a backpack. it was perfect!

the bike is awesome! its super fast, those 47c Touring tyres totally rock. the thick inverted tread pattern gives plenty of coosh, and the big smooth center section is fast.

LA is disgusting. i am always amazed at myself how i trip out on SoCal. I know its like this, and yet i'm always surprised.

a film of oil collects on the bike, my shoes, and of course, my skin, and more than likely of course my lungs. LA sucks. 
the constant exhaust, the onslaught of pavement, and god only knows of the barrage of petro-chemicals...

i was amazed to see people with what seem like functioning bodies... but who's to really say.

passing the LaBrea Tar Pits on Whilshire Blvd
helicopters over head...
city buses...
bumper to bumper traffic

bicycle down the side... in the gutter
lane splitting
playing leap frog with the Metro
stop lights never timed...
a viscous cycle of stop and go
even the pavement shows the compression bumps, the by-product of cars on brakes on sun baked asphalt

my stay, Sat, Sun, leave Monday around noon... back to Ventura

in Ventura, i find pop anxious about his next appointment.  A CT Scan and bone scan.  Another repeat of sorts, rent car, drive to Duarte. 

Tuesday comes around, and I'm more than anxious to hit the road.  SoCal simply drives me looney.  its the congestion, lack of a Natural Settings, and fresh air.  

Tuesday AM, ride to the AmTrak Station in Oxnard, hop on the train up to San Luis Obispo, where the last leg of the trip is on the AmTrak bus to Salinas.