San Luis Obispo, CA

The day’s riding included segments on Highway 101.
scary bike man
This fellow marked a right turn I was supposed to make up Vineyard Dr.
atascadero starbucks
At the top of the hill, there was a Starbucks. I ordered an Iced Tea, then went outside to eat my other breakfast burrito. No one else was outside in the area, because it was hot. I tried to turn my body so that my leg wouldn’t cook in the sun.

I had a conversation with “Sam” at Starbucks. He said that he had wanted to bike from Wyoming to California when younger, and in fact, knew others who did long tours. “What’s stopping you now?” was my response. I gave him a card.

The route to San Luis Obispo (SLO) was much more civilized, passing through large towns like Atascadero, and smaller ones like Santa Margarita. No problems with water or food. I probably didn’t need to have the gallon container filled, but the extra weight was good training, I suppose.

railroad grade
This is the kind of road I like, following railroad tracks. That means it will be more or less level.
electric crossing
I thought about stepping on this to see whether it was real or not.
After getting back on 101 South about 8 miles before San Luis Obispo, there was a long climb. I was able to make it up to this sign without resting in my granny gear. “Brake Check” must mean the top, right? I ate 3 cookies, drank water, and proceeded.

The downhill, which I later learned was the Cuesta Grade, demanded full concentration. I was only going 40 MPH (found out later from cyclometer max speed statistic), but that was by dragging my rear brake and sitting tall for wind resistance. My sunglasses were on – heaven forbid a bug should hit me in the eye. Also, at that speed, the reaction time is just a fraction of a second. I had to look far ahead on the road for obstacles, which fortunately, were few. A truck had cast off a tire tread squarely in the shoulder, and I had to make a decision whether to slip between it and the guard rail on the right, or risk getting very close to traffic on the left. I went by one of those “Speed Limit 65, Your Speed” signs, and it said 82…83…35…82…81 (the 35 was me). I tried not to think about it, but if I blew out a tire, it would have been bad. If my tent or sleeping bag slipped off, it would have been bad. I see now the Providence in having these things break early in the trip.

Cuesta Grade
I did not take this picture, as I don’t have a death wish. This is from Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: Coolcaesar
Here’s a place that we have visited before, but only via car.
SLO actually has a regular Amtrak station. Fellow cyclists, if you are trying to bypass the outages by Big Sur, may I suggest you take the train to SLO. That Cuesta Grade is NOT for the faint of heart.
gravel
Google Directions said “sharp left onto SLO Railway Safety Trail.” Now I KNOW they didn’t mean go over the gravel right next to the tracks, with tire tracks still filled with water! I actually tried it for a mile. It was hard going through sand in some places.
Okay, if SLO had just put up a small sign, saying, “This way to the Railway Safety Trail,” or Google Directions had just said “Take the huge bridge over the tracks to the other side,” I wouldn’t have wandered for an hour around town, even with Google Maps narrating on my phone.  You know in “The Martian,” when he says, “F – You, Mars?”  Substitute Google Bike Maps.

I finally reached my friend Linda Stimson’s house at about 4 pm. It was Monday, but she was already home. Linda is a kindred spirit in many ways, with the added trait of Hospitality. Her son Connor was there, too.

Linda, a friend from high school, had an amazing house, with two reclining chairs just made for sipping tea and visiting.
Linda, Connor, Me
We had Thai food at a local restaurant. Amazingly good. Linda (L) and Connor (M) are both vegetarians. She had Avocado green curry with Tofu, he had Mock Duck Mussamun. I had spicy eggplant with shrimp, as they are very tolerant of what others eat around them.

After dinner, we spent a little more time visiting in the sitting area. I could have chatted all night, but Linda runs every morning at 6 am, and it was good for me to get rest, too.

Miles: 43.2

(Visited 44 times, 1 visit(s) today)
    1. I have the pants you see, and one $2 button shirt from Goodwill, just in case a church somewhere finds it disrespectful to have a T-shirt on. Having grown up in Hawaii, and United Church of Christ in particular, where whosoever is welcome, this kind of thinking might be unfamiliar. I’ve heard that Southern culture is different, but will see.

      1. I had a bit of culture shock the first time I went to church here in CA. Back in IL, I wore a dress (yes, me, a dress!) when I went to church. I was absolutely shocked to find people wearing shorts and flip flops to church. (That was a Methodist Church. (At the Methodist Church back in IL, nobody dressed like that!) I have also attended services at a Calvary Chapel Church, and many (not all) people attending there dress casually, too.)

    1. Hi, Bill. Actually, the place was called Thai Classic Restaurant. LA still seems distant, not to mention San Diego. Slow pace, I’ll get there. I’m actually stopped at a town called Orcutt for lunch. Updating through wi-fi at the public library.

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