California Coast: Final Day

28 05 2010

We made it! While Maggie and Dad enjoy the massive pool and hot -tub, I am sitting outside on the patio overlooking the Pacific and a spectacular sunset and will reflect on today’s journey.

After pumping up our tires at a local bike store we found out there that between Lompoc ( Lom-Poke ) and Santa Barbra there is nowhere to eat. That scared us so we stocked up on food and drinks for today’s ~60 mile ride.

Shortly after we started into our trek Maggie noticed her gears were not shifting properly, and then it happened  – her entire right gear cable snapped. The last time this happened was out on the prairies… and experience is an amazing teacher. We happened to have one extra gear cable and quickly got to work. In only about ½ hour we got things working again and we all shouted for joy… especially Maggie who remembered hauling over 200 miles last summer with only 1 usable gear. Good thing too because we had a few big climbs coming up.

Half way through our first big climb we decided to take a break and eat our “lunch” which consisted of chips, rice krispies, and chocolate bars. We also took a little snooze J I got a great pic of Dad getting some zzz’s.

After the descent we were greeted by a sign for Santa Barbra (30ish miles away) and Los Angles (130 miles away) and we headed down the freeway. (Side note – riding on the freeway is not fun)

While still on the freeway we made our way back to the coast. Riding high over the Pacific Ocean we continued south on Route 1 to Santa Barbra. We eventually got off the freeway and onto a bike path that took us directly through the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara. The campus has an amazing bike system, including round-a-bouts and parking for hundreds, if not thousands of bikes. This school also overlooks the Pacific Ocean and had a beach about ¼ mile from it. (Why wasn’t this place on my list when I was applying for schools 4 years ago?)

We followed the bike trails into Santa Barbra where we grabbed some quick burgers and chatted up a bike store about getting our bikes either shipped home, or packed up to take on the plane with us – we’re going to figure that out in the morning. For now we are relaxing at the Double Tree in Santa Barbra overlooking the Pacific and are ready to call it a night. Well, I’m still hungry so we’ll have to track down some snacks, and aloe because these sunburns are hurting!

We’ll continue to blog the California trip until we’re home late Saturday night. Stay tuned and thanks for your support along the way! Looking forward to some quality vacation time on the beach/by the pool tomorrow!!

Cheers,

Zach





California Coast: Day 6 – Ahead of schedule for once!

27 05 2010

I don’t think we have ever known what it is like to be ahead of schedule. But after our 55 miles today, we are only another 55 miles or so from Santa Barbara. So when we get there tomorrow, we will have a day to relax and enjoy the city. Today’s ride was mostly inland and away from the coast, but was still a great ride. We dropped the rental truck off at the airport, grabbed breakfast next door, and headed on our way. It was our warmest day so far, but still only mid 60’s (Meanwhile its pushing 100 degrees at home)! After about 20 miles of rolling hills, easy riding, and a brief stop in Pismo Beach, we stopped for lunch near Oceano, CA. The afternoon ride took us back to Route 1 once again.

When we reached Guadalupe, we were feeling pretty good and decide to put in another 28 miles to get us within a day’s ride of our destination. Shortly into the ride Zach recorded the first flat tire of the trip, and then just a few miles later, the second. We repaired the tubes, and even replaced the tire the second time to get us back on the road. Anticipating a few steep climbs near the end, we cruised along before taking a brief rest with the final climb ahead of us. We made pretty quick work of the winding two-mile climb, very reminiscent of parts of the Rockies. When we reached the top we could see our destination, and we took off down the hill. We picked up speed on the very nice five-mile downhill and were on the outskirts of Lompac, CA in no time. We rolled into town and spotted a deal at the Motel 6, so we checked in, showered up, and headed down the street to a Chinese Buffet. We are looking forward to a challenging, but enjoyable ride tomorrow as we head into Santa Barbara. Tired and sunburned (sorry mom), we are ready for bed early once again to prepare for our final ride tomorrow – this week has flown by! (Maggie)





California Coast: Day 5 – Truckin

26 05 2010

This morning we woke up early to the sound of Dad calling up a couple rental car agencies, which was AWESOME. The one thing we didn’t get to do much of when crossing the country last summer was experience the towns we stayed in. This time around, in sunny (hah – not so sunny today) California we did just that. With poor weather just around the corner and three 80-100 mile days lying ahead of us we decided it was just not going to be fun or practical to bang these miles out. That, and the terrain is intense (see pictures). This drive reminded us a lot of Logan pass and our trip through the Rocky Mountains. After our breakfast at the Holiday Inn we road our bikes to Enterprise and rented a truck. With the rest of the morning to kill we ditched our gear and road our bikes around Seaside and Monterey. This is a beautiful city and we explored in the daylight what Stuart had highlighted for us last evening including the coast of Pacific Grove and the opulence of Pebble Beach. I found myself, once again, falling in love with this part of the country. The mansions on the beach, deer freely roaming about, and the endless bike trails kept us in awe.

Making it back to our hotel and checking out of our room with one minute to spare (11:59/12:00) we hit the road south bound to San Luis Obispo, CA. This is a wild and beautiful coastal area. About half way through the drive we saw a biker riding through the rain. I shouted out the window with words of encouragement. We stopped at the top of this mountain and waited for her to get to the top. It turns out Kylie (tell us if we spelled your name wrong) was heading to the same place we were and was considering her options for the night. Those consisted of hunkering down without a tent or tarp (keep in mind it’s pouring) or finding a nice hot spring ??? to spend the night in. Needless to say Kylie threw her bike in the back of our truck and jumped in with us. Kylie was a delight and we really enjoyed her company. If you’re ever out east look us up!

About 40 miles outside San Luis Obispo we saw hundreds of elephant seals grunting away on a beach (pictures taken). These things are huge, loud, and disgusting. This had to be one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. The seals were fighting each other and were piled all over the beach.  Just look at the pictures and video – LOL.

As the terrain leveled out and we travelled slightly inland. We dropped off Kylie in San Luis Obispo and we checked into a Holiday Inn and grabbed dinner at a place called Firestone. Firestone had some great food and has an amazing college vibe to it. Dad loved it and took a few pictures of the place on his phone. San Luis Obispo is a pretty neat city, with every store you could imagine including an Apple store in the heart of downtown.

With a huge leg taken out of our trip we look forward to our ~40 mile days which will allow us to finish the trip as planned, arriving in Santa Barbra on Friday. We will return, at some point when we can allow enough time, to bike the route through Big Sur.

Cheers,

Zach





Day 4 – What a day!

25 05 2010

What a day! You would have thought that after 9 weeks of all 5 of us riding we would have dealt with almost every possible scenario. But, we were never faced with illness or injury…until today. When I woke up at 8:30 (after 12 hours of sleep!) to see Brian still sound asleep, I knew he must not have been feeling better. He managed to get up and get ready to go, but was still not feeling up to riding. Zach and I went to work fixing my broken spoke, something we haven’t done in a while (Jake, we really could have used your help). By the time we were finally ready to go it was 10 O’clock, and we headed into town for breakfast at a local diner. Despite ordering just a single egg and toast, Dad was unable to stomach any breakfast, or even watch Zach and I eat ours. We contemplated renting him a car while Zach and I continued on to meet up with him later, but in the end he decided to give biking a try. We took things slow and headed out of Santa Cruz before finding out way back to highway 1. A fairly easy ride through strawberry fields and country roads brought us to a late lunch on the water. By this time dad was feeling better, and his appetite was improving (we are attributing this sickness to dehydration). We enjoyed our lunch in the sun before heading back out to meet up with a bike trail. We rode this trail for the rest of the day, through small towns, along the coastline, and through sand dunes before calling it quits in Seaside, CA at the Holiday Inn. Though feeling much better, dad was still fading fast and was ready to call it a day. We caught the end of a disappointing Hab’s game before walking next door to dinner at Chili’s. Just before dinner, we arranged to meet up with Stuart (who we met last summer on our cross-country trip when he and his wife Caren were heading east). Unfortunately, our plans were so last minute and Caren was unable to join us – Next time! He met us at dinner and then took us for dessert and a tour of Monterey. Thanks so much!! This was most certainly the highlight of our day and we really enjoyed catching up and trading stories from the remainder of our trips. We wish you guys the best of luck next summer when you complete your trip! Having completed another short day, we are hoping to spend some time here in Monterey tomorrow, riding and seeing a little bit of the area, before renting a car and driving some of the coast to ensure we make it to Santa Barbara on Friday. It is nice to really be able to enjoy some of the places we visit on this trip; something we didn’t get to do a lot of last summer. Though the day certainly started off a little slow and we were not optimistic about our progress, it certainly ended on a much happier note. It’s been a long day so we are off to bed, ready to enjoy some vacation time tomorrow!

(Maggie)





Day 3 – Increased hills and decreased fluids.

23 05 2010

Today we made our way to Santa Cruz, CA. As I write this it’s 8pm PST and everyone is asleep – we are exhausted! 60+ miles today.

We left Pacifica early and were immediately greeted by a huge hill. After powering up the hill we took a short stop and enjoyed the view. Each hill is tough (easy compared to NY, VT, & NH) but is very rewarding because the views are just flat out AMAZING. Check the pictures out on the flickr feed to your right. Today’s ride was 99% ocean view.

Staying on route 1 and most of the bike trails the entire way  allowed us to be no more than 100 feet from the beach for the entire day. We took advantage of this and stopped frequently to take it all in – and also nap ☺

Somewhere along the way Dad’s stomach stopped agreeing with him and he lost his appetite. I think its dehydration. The problem with the weather here is it’s not warm enough to warrant constant drinking of water – so we often forgot to drink. Dad skipped on dinner and went straight to bed as Maggie and I found dinner at a nice (we were very underdressed, as per usual) spot in Santa Cruz. Maggie and I put down 2.5 pitchers of water during dinner, so I guess we were all a little dehydrated – I don’t think any of us felt 100% today. Dad is still not feeling well and I just put him to bed with some ginger ale and crackers. Get better old man.

Tomorrow morning we will rise early to take on some more miles, but not before doing some bike repairs. Maggie broke a spoke coming into Santa Cruz today and fell asleep before we could get to fix it, and Dads bike and mine could use some tuning. I guess we forget that we need to treat these bikes like fine tuned instruments. Beautiful California awaits us in the morning and I’m falling asleep. Good night everyone, and if you’d like to drop some tips of how we better share our experiences email me @ zwoodward at Comcast dot net

If you want hourly updates on the trip as it’s happening make sure to follow twitter.com/sumwhereonabike

Also check out youtube.com/somewhereonabike to view all the videos from the trip, updated daily.

Cheers, Zach





Day 2 – A little more vacation and a little less mileage

22 05 2010

Well, we have really begun to turn this bike trip into a vacation. After a great night’s sleep we woke up to the sunrise over the San Francisco Bay. Despite the late night, we were up super early because of the time change. So we enjoyed a relaxed start and a great breakfast at the hotel. After some basic repairs we killed a little time in Sausalito while waiting for the bike shop to open. The people at Odyssey Bicycles were able to get Brian’s gears running smoothly again, and we stocked up on a few more gear links (just incase…). We grabbed a quick snack then caught the ferry across the bay to Pier 1 and Fisherman’s Warf. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the city, and even Alcatraz were unbelievable. We wandered around the city for a bit before catching up with the bike route (this city is packed with bikes). Again, we were ready for food so we stopped for another snack before finding our way back to the bridge, where we started our route south. It was obvious that we were not going to knock out the 80 plus miles we had planned so we took our time and enjoyed the nice ride out of the city, plenty of steep hills though! The scenic route along the coast was incredible, and we followed it until calling it an early day at the Holiday Inn in Pacifica, CA. After grabbing dinner, and catching the Habs game we are all ready for bed, though it’s only 8 O’Clock here.  Hopefully we will be up early again, ready to get ourselves back on schedule tomorrow.

(Maggie)





Day 1 – Mission to the Golden Gate Bridge

22 05 2010

Day 1

Today we rode across the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. (shoutout to Brian, (not our Brian) for helping us find out away across!)

To start the morning we flew out of Boston at 9:15am and arrived at San Francisco Airport just before 1pm PST. In hand we had 12 panniers and three disassembled bikes on the plane. Upon arrival the first thing on all our minds was food, and we quickly attacked a burger joint in the airport. Once fed it was time to get down to business and put our bikes together. When we arrived at the luggage claim all that was left was three boxes with a ridiculous amount of tape on them – our bikes J

One at a time we put the three Fuji touring bikes back together and got our gear together. After we changed into our bike gear it was time to head North – we started IN the airport. Somewhere downtown San Francisco Dad lost his chain… it broke.

I thought we were screwed – the last time this happened was in New York last year on Jakes bike. Once again though Dad fixed it, and we were on our way.

We just finished up dinner, at 10pm PST, and are crawling into our beds in one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever seen.. Sausalito, Ca

We’ve all almost been up for 24 hours and it’s time to sleep. Pictures and video tomorrow.

Tomorrow we head South to start the trip to Santa Barbra… well hopefully.. Dad’s bike is screwed up pretty bad and we’ll need to find a bike store.

Seeya tomorrow,

Zach