LA to San Francisco – Part 4:

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: Pebble Beach
  • End Point: Butano State Park
  • Approximate Total Miles: 85
    Check out the rest of the trip here!

Day 4 started off pretty normal. I woke up, found a coffee shop, and hit the road. After some pretty riding, I ended up in Castroville! The artichoke center of the world. I didn’t know there was an artichoke center of the world. As you might imagine, it is really just a small farming community. I found a very cheap fruit stand and ate a ton of fruit. That powered me to Santa Cruz where I grabbed some delicious thai food for lunch. I had looked forward to Santa Cruz as I had heard it is a cool town with a laid-back vibe. Unfortunately for me, the ride through was anything but laid back. In the four miles through Santa Cruz I was honked at, yelled at, and buzzed more times than the rest of the trip combined! Oh well, every trip has its ups and downs.

One of the great things about the trip was the ability to grab fresh local produce everywhere I went. For just a few bucks I could refuel on some of the best fruit and vegetables I have ever had. This held true through Santa Cruz, even if the people weren’t all that friendly. I did meet one nice man named Larry who gave me some navigating tips to avoid the cars. It was safer, but took a lot longer than I had anticipated. On my way towards my campsite, I met a woman cycling the other direction. Her name was Nancy Lawless, and she was from Damascus, Maryland! Damascus is only about 15 minutes from my home town of Olney; its a small world. Other than those two, I didn’t really talk to many other people. Luckily the Universe was saving the best for last.

I don’t really have any good pictures for this day. I had to spend every moment cycling. In the afternoon I stopped at a state park to refill my water bottles. I spoke with the Park Ranger on duty. She informed me that the campground I had planned to stay at, about 25 or 30 miles away, was closed for campers. My only choices for camping were half moon bay (65 or 70 miles), or inland past Pescadaro (50 miles).

It was around this time when I figured out why everyone else was riding North to South. Starting before Santa Cruz, I rode into a steady 15-20mph headwind the entire day. By the time I reached the turn inland towards my new campsite, I had been riding in the dark for almost an hour. In case you were wondering, riding in the dark on the Pacific Coast Highway, with no phone service and no map, is not very fun. As I rode up the mountain towards the campsite, I came to a fork in the road. I had no idea which way to go. Around this time I heard some kind of terrifying animal noise. Bone chilling noise. I jumped back on my bike, and started to carefully descend the mountain. I was riding on through the night to Half Moon Bay where I knew there was somewhere I could sleep. Just as I was wrapping my brain around this new reality, a pickup truck came rolling up towards me. I stopped in the middle of the road and waved my arms until they stopped. I explained my predicament. Dan and his wife Andrea told me I should have taken a left at the fork and ridden another 5 miles up to the campground. They loaded my bike into the back of their pickup and drove me to the park entrance. Dan told me I should be careful around this area, there had been mountain lion activity recently. That didn’t help me sleep that night, but the two beers he slipped into my bag when they dropped me off did. Best Rescue Ever. I fell asleep in the pitch black, but woke up on the floor of a redwood forest in a gorgeous campground. Once again, the people on this trip came through when I needed them most. Just keep pedaling. The universe makes sure you end up in the right place.

Finally arriving at camp after 9pm

Published by Dave and Meredith

Two endurance junkies turned adventure travelers. Come on a trip with us!

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