TRIP 2006

Update #35 - December 23rd
Santa Maria, California
10,522 miles ( 16,834 KM) since March 27th,
11,023 miles ( 17,637 KM) since Jan 01st

The ride from the San Diego area went really well. My first night was going to be camping out at the Cardiff State Beach but in a neat twist I was invited to stay in a house that a new friend was remodeling. The house was on a cliff overlooking the ocean. I even had a home cooked meal thrown into the deal. After Cardiff, I spent the night at the Doheney State Beach near Dana Point. The hiker/biker campsite only cost me $3.

An interesting thing happened at a coffee shop in Dana Point. I was sitting outside the coffee shop at a table since there was no room inside tapping away on my laptop since they had free wifi. One of the other customers stopped to talk to me. He was quite interested in what I was doing. Before leaving the gentleman asked me how I was supporting myself. I told him that I was basically out here on faith. This must have gotten to the man since he pulled out his wallet and slipped me $20 in a handshake.

This is just another example on how I seem to get more help from non-church sources than in churches. I was hoping to spend the night with a member of the Warm Showers Cycling Host Program in Corona del Mar but I missed connections. There were no state beach or park campgrounds in the Long Beach area so I had to get a room at a motel in the Signal Hill section of Long Beach. Being that it was a Saturday, I had to pay $20 more for the room than what I would have paid for it between Sunday and Thursday.

Sunday, I was hoping to find a church along my way between Long Beach and Santa Monica. There wasn't any on CA 1 and I didn't want to go off the main route to find one since I was in a bad part of SE Los Angeles County. It took much longer than I had expected to ride through the area near the Los Angeles Harbor. I was really happy to be able to get off the highway and on the paved bike path next to the ocean at Torrance. I followed the bike path almost 20 miles to Santa Monica.

Along the way, I met another cycle tourist who was traveling south. Ed was from Ohio and he was making a counter-clockwise ride around the perimeter of the country. He was having a very hard time at it. In San Francisco, his camping gear was stolen off his bike while he was on a short restroom break. He had to spend a lot of his money getting a new tent, sleeping bag, and other stuff. He was really low on funds and wouldn't be able to access any more money till the beginning of next month. Ed hadn't also eaten much during the past couple of days. I got off my bike to get to my wallet so I could slip him some money in a green handshake and also took out some food from my pannier so that he could have at least a couple of meals. Ed didn't really know what to think about it. I just told him to accept it from one Christian brother to another.

I had a pretty good night at the hostel in downtown Santa Monica. It was so much better than the one down in San Diego. There were three other guys in the room so there was space for four more. Two of the guys were from Japan and the other guy was from Columbia. The guy from Columbia was kind of funny because he was sure that I was the same person who stayed in the room the night before me. He told me that I looked almost like the other guy. My twin was supposed to have been from England and at least 60 years old.

My next night was at the Leo Carillo State Park north of Malibu. There were a few other people at the hiker/biker site but there was one person in particular who really made an impression on me. The guy's name was Mike and he was from New Mexico. As I was walking the bike into the campsite, Mike welcomed me with a loud hello and asked me if I needed a hot meal and something hot to drink.

Before I was even responded, Mike pulled out his camp stove and his other things and made me a hot meal of corn chowder and Raman noodles and some hot chocolate. Since I didn't have a cup to use, Mike gave me a new insulated cup and a lid to take along with me. This was good. I've enjoyed having a cup of hot tea the passed couple of days as I either set up or take down my tent. Before going to his tent, Mike surprised me again by pulling out 4 - $5 bills out of his wallet. Another thing amazing about Mike was that he had a good knowledge of other religions. I was amazed at how much Mike knew about the Talmud and the Torah. Mike said that one time he had been thinking about becoming a priest but never followed up on it.

Between Leo Carillo State Park and Santa Maria, I spent two other nights in my tent at Carpinteria and Refugio State Beaches. The campground at Refugio State Beach was by far the best and the hiker/biker campsite was right across the road from the narrow beach and the ocean. There was just a few brave souls camping there in RV's and I was the only one in a tent.

Thursday night, I stayed in the nursery at the Methodist Church in Lompoc. On the walls was a brightly colored beach scene of Noah's Ark. The only problem with the room was that there was no blinds covering the two plate glass doors. I moved around some things to block the view into the room from the parking lot and I camped out in a corner that couldn't be seen from the courtyard door.

Overall, the ride up from San Diego to Santa Maria was okay. I pretty well rode up all of the hills except for one short section from the campground at Refugio up to U.S. 101. The grade was quite steep but it only lasted a short distance. I was amazed at riding over the hills between Gaviota and Lompoc. I never done this before on my other trips up the coast. I did have a little bit of confusion riding through the Oxnard - Ventura area because there was no bike signs to mark the route.

I'll be off the bike with friends here in the Santa Maria area through maybe most of next week. It is good to see them after three and a half years. The girls have really grown. I'm not really sure what I might be doing after this brief respite off the road. I was hoping to maybe find someplace to take a month or two off the road. It is really an off season to do any serious riding north of San Francisco. We'll just have to see what ADONAI has in store for me.

I'll try and post an update as often as I can if my plans change. The next update should be posted between December 30th and January 06th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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