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.
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.
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.
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.