Summary – day 18 – San Simeon to Buelton (Monday 12 September)

Summary – day 18 – San Simeon to Buelton (Monday 12 September)
Posted by Mike

Estimate: 111 miles, actual: 110.2 miles
Avg. speed: 15.7 mph
Cumulative distance: 1,456.35 miles

Breakfast at Sands by the Sea, (in the Cavalier restaurant – an apt name as it turns out). The whole thing was a bit of a disappointment. Waiter-service, food ‘from the griddle’ (yuk); vile coffee, (quite unusual so far in the US, where coffee standards are generally high) and precious little that a vegetarian who errs towards vegan could eat. The ‘continental breakfast’ was a tiny bun with a big pot of clotted cream on the side. What ‘continent’ is that from I wondered? The promised fruit never materialised unfortunately. I settled on glutenous warm oatmeal, at least the sugar came in a little pot on the side, so I could avoid that. There was no soy(a) milk available and the toast arrived already buttered. I’d given up by now, so didn’t send it back.

We’re heading to the town of Solvang today, established by Danish settlers in 1911. The architecture is apparently faux northern European and there’s a surfeit of Danish-style bakeries, (Mr P’s face lights up*).

*MS: references to me as ‘Mr P’ (pelican) are, I believe misplaced as it was not I scoffing M & Ms in bed last night after a full delicious meal.

We made fantastic progress in the morning. Highway 1 through Cambria, by the sea along the Cabrillo Highway – dead calm sea, with rocks jutting up out of the water, through Cayucos where there was a nice off-road cycle-lane, (unfortunately it was almost at its end before we spotted it and startled to ride on it!), Morrow Bay and into San Luis Obispo for brief lunch stop. We had set off at 9.30 and completed the 40 mile to lunch at an average speed of 16.2 mph. Really good going. We saw a few racing cyclists whizzing by in the opposite direction out on the road this morning, too.

Lunch at the Black Horse Uptown Espresso café – not Starbucks or Safeway’s for a change! They had a cycling jersey in a frame on the wall – they part sponsor a local cycling club. Hooray! We were in a student area, near the California Polytechnic State University, (which seems like a bit of a mouthful), so there were lots of young people about and they were being a little bit too loud, (sigh). We sat outdoors in a courtyard and someone sat nearby had a beautiful golden labrador, which was lying stretched out under their table … and wearing a disposable nappy (that’s diaper in US)! Only in America, as they say!

After all the good cycling progress in the morning, our luck turned a bit after we left San Luis Obispo. On the Edna Road just past the San Luis Obispo golf club punctures #6 and #7, (both in Mike’s rear wheel, caused by pieces of fine wire).

We’ve been doing well to avoid punctures recently, so I suppose that we shouldn’t complain. But having taken the inner tube out, finding the hole, patching the tube and finding the piece of offending wire the actual getting it out of the tyre can be quite tricky. It’s difficult to get a hold of the wire and it’s often broken off on the tyre surface, so it’s necessary to try and push it back out from inside, but it’s sharp and pointy so enormous care is required. This can take half an hour. Once the puncture was repaired and the wheel reassembled, it was obvious that there was a second hole in the tube, because the tyre wouldn’t inflate properly. Argh! So, start over again. Another half an hour lost.

At least we were by a nice café among the vineyards – the Old Edna Deli Café, housed in a big old tin shed, with benches and tables outside, so we could sit and work on the bike while having a cooling drink.

We set off and had just gone through Arroyo Grande – about nine miles and would you believe it … another puncture: #8 (Mike, front wheel, a thorn). We were stopped by a slightly strange ‘new age’ post office by the Temple of the People on South Halcyon Road.

Still, another opportunity for a sit down and a snack. Front wheels are always easier to deal with – but it was probably another half an hour lost – this was all becoming a bit of a problem – we weren’t likely to get to Joe and Carol’s in Buelton before 8 and it’s dark by about 7.30.

We pressed on though and had an amazing ride on Highway 1 after Guadalupe – along a straight road in a broad flat plain, with mountain ranges to our left an right in the distance, through fields and fields of brassicas – the smell was extraordinary: cabbages, broccoli, sprouts. The wind was being kind and we were bombing along at over 25 mph – fantastic!

We passed the Vandenberg Airforce Base – lots of NASA signs, very exciting for Mike.

Passed by Lompoq an headed to Buelton as the sun set. It was necessary to ride the final half an hour or so with our lights on. We arrived to a glorious dinner at Joe and Carol’s – vegetarian lasagne, enormous wonderful salad and ice cream for pudding at 8.00!

Joe works in microchip technology, but has recently been laid off. Carol is an artist and there were examples of her work all around the house – big canvases with muted colours – really seemed to echo the landscape around here. They have two lovely dogs too – who were very excited to meet (and sniff) us!

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