San Simeon to San Luis Obispo, California
All good things must come to an end!
With the USA Memorial Day quickly approaching we found that traffic was increasing and campgrounds were filling up. Our holiday days were winding down, so we made the difficult decision to end the ride and to begin planning our return trip home.
Big Sur was such a highlight, that I suppose it was fitting to finish the trip on such a high. We had booked into a motel in San Simeon in order to get wifi access to begin researching our options for the return journey. The long weekend made travel options challenging to say the least.
We woke up to a dull, gray windy day. Very fitting for our last day of riding, as it always seems a bit sad to know that the tour has come to an end. Our feelings were mixed as we packed up our bikes. Thrilled to have completed such a wonderful tour and sad that we only had a few miles left. Our plan is to cycle to San Luis Obispo and pick up a rental car. All of our Amtrak options were booked so Rob managed to find flights home out of Los Angeles. Our intention is to drive from San Luis Obispo to LA.
We set off determined to enjoy the day, and were not disappointed. We visited a couple of small, tourist towns and explored their downtown areas. These seaside towns are really quaint and lots of fun to explore.
We were treated to a wonderful stretch through Morro Bay. This little town has a great tourist vibe, lots of eateries, boutiques, stores, a busy harbour and views of Morro Rock (a volcanic plug - one in a chain of nine that extends from San Luis to Morro Bay)
As we left Morro Bay, we found ourselves riding on busy four lane highways. Traffic was heavy and it was noisy. We found it really overwhelming after the quiet solitude of Big Sur. We began to see McDonalds bill boards and took these signs of civilization as reinforcement that for us it was time to bring our ride to an end. Big Sur to Big City was a shock to the senses!
|From Big Sur to Big City|
We arrived in San Luis and found a rental car company.
Our next challenge - fitting 2 bikes and all of our gear into a compact rental car. Where there is a will there is a way. We are excited for the next leg of our trip as we head to Los Angeles.
Giggle of the day:
We were in the parking lot in San Simeon loading the bikes for the day's ride. I had been having trouble with my rear tire for the last couple of days. I was slowly losing air. We couldn't find a leak and were wondering if the valve might be faulty. Rob was giving the tire another look, when a tour group come over to supervise. We were offered all kinds of tips......unfortunately, nothing in English.
We faced a few challenges with logistics. After a few hundred miles your bike becomes like a trusted friend and companion. Many cyclists will name their bikes, and you will notice almost all cycling blogs feature picture after picture of the rider's trusted steed.
This being said, the biggest fear with the return trip is the challenge of packing your bike properly to avoid damage during air travel. We visited numerous bike stores during our quest to find quality bike boxes. Who ever thought Rob would be dumpster diving for bike boxes in Santa Barbara?
|Dumpster diving for bike boxes|
- the kindness of strangers - we have so many people to thank. Those, like Ron and Sharon who welcomed us into their homes, those who gave directions, those who shouted encouragement and all of those kind folk who stopped to share a story or a laugh along the way
- mileage means nothing - at times we found ourselves caught up with mileage targets, but we quickly learned that mileage means nothing. Terrain, wind, food etc are all huge factors in your forward progress. The beauty of a cycle tour is taking it as it comes....and finding time to stop and smell the roses....or elephant seals as the case may be
- the bond with other cyclists is special - we met so many other cyclists with positive attitudes who were always willing to share food, drink, route advice, assist with repairs and always, always share a laugh and a groan about the last or next long climb
- guide books are great resources, but your tour is your own. Challenge yourself to find your own route
Cycling the west coast has been a dream come true - thank you to everyone who supported our trip and special thanks to Emma, Adam and Ian who always cheer us on!
Giggle of the tour:
After 1150 miles and 20 days on the road we finally found it....and only 18 people were there.