Day 27: San Simeon to Grover Beach

September 21, 2013. 59.64 miles.

The emergency blanket kept me quite toasty last night, which was a nice change from yesterday morning. I got a decent start, but then stopped at a coffee shop in Cambria almost right away. It was a nice coffee shop, though. Wifi, lots of outdoor seating both at street level (full) and on a balcony (plenty of space). I had a dirty chai (chai with espresso) which was intriguing but not very good, and a cinnamon roll which was very good.

Easy riding, ran into the guys from the campground at the Brown Butter Cookie Company in xxxx. Got citrus brown butter cookies.

Went on to xxxx and wandered a bit looking for food. Ended up eating at a restaurant on the shore and had “calamari and chips”, which was really tasty but was a little overwhelmingly fried. So then I sat on the boardwalk and watched the comings and goings at the boat rental place for an hour or so to digest.

The rest of the days riding was also easy, but I had a lot of difficulty finding a grocery store. Lots of liquor stores trying to claim to sell groceries, but not actually. I wandered about quite a bit in the Grover Beach / Oceano area checking the state campgrounds (full, no hiker biker sites), the county RV park (a narrow strip of land between highway and train tracks – not appealing), finding a grocery store after several miles of riding, and getting grumpy enough that I just checked in to a motel. It was cheap ($55), cleanish, and sufficient. Not remarkable in any way.

I spent a long time trying to do the planning for the remainder of the trip. Southern CA is tricky for cycle touring. Apparently most of the parks have closed their hiker biker sites because of problems with the homeless. And some of the remaining ones are very unfriendly with strict check-in and check-out times and ID checks etc. And what with LA and San Diego, much of the stuff coming up is pretty urban. Though it does look like that means a lot of bike paths, which is nice. I think I have the next week worked out though – let’s just hope it works out.

One of the things I did while planning was to go to to look at the itineraries of other people who have done this trip. I spent a lot of time doing that back when I was using it to procrastinate my thesis and dreaming about the trip. It was kind of strange to look at the journals again now that all the names and pictures and stories have a very clear grounding in my own experience. I will probably go back and look at some of them more closely out of curiosity about some of the parks I missed up north.

I turned on the TV while doing my planning (and while sitting and staring vaguely into space). I don’t think I’ve been missing all that much the last month without it. I watched 15 minutes of The Green Mile, about 2 minutes of Monk, and then ended up watching Storage Wars, which dramatizes auctions of abandoned storage units. Reality TV is weird.

Bronwyn Woods