Dave’s First Bicycle Touring Trip
“Only those who will risk going too far
can possibly find out how far one can go”
- Start Point: Pismo Beach
- End Point: Plaskett Creek Campground
- Approximate Total Miles: 90
Check out the rest of the trip here!
I woke up early on day two a bit tired and sore, but eager to continue my journey. Not knowing what I was doing, I jumped on my bike and headed to a nearby bagel shop for breakfast. I was able to find New York Style bagels and good coffee which was excellent for starting my day. Being a new bicycle tourist, I made the mistake of not packing up and getting on the road before breakfast. I had to ride back to the campsite, pack my things, and THEN get to riding. I probably wasted an hour this way. I resolved for the rest of the trip (and my future tours) that I would always pack up my things and at least start riding for the day on the way to breakfast. The first third of the day was fairly uneventful until lunch. I was very hungry and happened upon a crunchy little cafe called “Shine” in Morro Bay. The black bean/sweet potato tacos were to die for. They also had a kombucha kegerator which was really neat. Good food after hours of cycling is always a welcome respite.
The majority of the next section was along the coast with a beautiful view. I got to see all kinds of wildlife. Elephant seals the size of Hummers, two grey whales, and even zebras. Yes. Hearst Castle was right by the highway and the grounds have a herd of Zebras. As cool as the Zebras were, the whales were absolutely breathtaking. Below a cliff I was riding on, there was a mother whale and her calf. A whale watcher even let me borrow his binoculars to get a close up view.
This day threw the first real obstacle at me in the form of some severe knee pain. The outside of my left knee decided it was going to flare up around 50 miles in (about 40 miles from camp). Sucked it up, made a few adjustments to my position, and became very happy that I brought a small ace bandage. Unfortunately, it was only foreshadowing for the following day.
For the second day in a row, the best part of the trip was the people. Most notably Mike the cyclist who helped me navigate around a sketchy section of highway when I got a little bit lost after lunch. Mark the cyclist who distracted me with a “tour” of Highway 1 for a few miles while my knee was hurting. He was the one who told me about the zebras, Hearst Castle, and all of the interesting history in the area. When I was deep in the pain cave, this welcome distraction really helped me keep going. I also met Bill who is a whale eagle eye and pointed them out to me! And last but not least, the poor woman who I scared and who graciously gave me her sunscreen. At this point I was getting quite burnt because I had forgotten to pack some.
The campsite at Plaskett was nestled against a mountain and was quite cozy. The only problem? The aquifers were dangerously depleted. This meant that water was only for drinking, and not for showering. Being extremely disgusting, I splashed a little bit on a mini towel and wiped down my body. I had never been on any trip where I was unable to shower after this level of exertion and sweating. But, if you are going to be any kind of adventure traveler, well, you best get used to it.
The Pacific Coast Highway has many campgrounds for backpackers and bicycle tourists. For only about $5, you can camp with no reservation. I took advantage of this and set up camp in the assigned area. Another cyclist, I think his name was Alex, also set up there. Alex and I sat around the campfire and talked about our backgrounds, touring, and life in general. He worked a landscaping job and would take off periodically and ride his bike around the west coast. He said he didn’t have much, but he had enough for his bike, his food, and to lay under the stars. To this day, I think Alex lives a richer life than most successful people I know. He gave me a small piece of jade that he found from the nearby “jade cove.” I keep that stone in my handlebar bag and have taken it with me on every trip since.