Thursday, April 12, 2012

Turri, Corbett Canyon, Foxen, and company

This morning I did something very unscientific. I looked out the window. I looked several times, starting about 6:45am. It was grey and the clouds were close down around us, shapeless. After an hour, there was some lifting and more light was coming through. And voila! a weather report. Showers, not rain.

Left Cambria later than planned, probably 8:45. Just discombobulated by how complicated it's become to pack and unpack with the dorm arrangements. Locking and unlocking the bike. Making sure everything is in plastic. Leaving clothes out to dry and then collecting them before I leave.

The good news is, the day started with a good free hostel breakfast: oatmeal with raisins, sunflower seeds, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon. Fresh organic coffee. From time to time now when riding I'll just start fantasizing about what I'm going to eat at the end of the day.

The clouds lift further as I get a few miles down the road. The hills are green and soft, the light is soft too because of the clouds. The wind is at my back. Unbelievable. I'm thinking Greek yogurt and a banana.

Cayucos, Morro Bay. They repaired the road through Morro Bay State Park! Smooth now and truly a pleasure, despite the large drops the sky is spitting down. Turri Road shows a greener and even more stunning version of itself than usual. My legs feel sluggish and sore, but the big rollers provide an excellent perspective toward San Luis Obispo. Looks like the clouds that are spitting on me are completely going ballistic over SLO. Time for a real-time route optimization...not going over there.

The idea was to get food in SLO but there's a great market on this road, New Horizons. I'm about 300 yards away when the torrential downpour begins.
Fortunately New Horizons has an excellent deli...
Somehow lunch takes just about the right amount of time. The streets are soaked but the skies are friendly once again. A full stomach, and a tailwind as long as I'm heading east. Corbett Canyon reminds me that it's a real classic bike road, narrow, full of rollers, rural. Gorgeous.

Don't even remember what I thought about, or worked out in my head. Stuff. Letting the mental batteries recharge. They recharged in the produce section, of all places. Broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, lettuces, cilantro, strawberries.

And then, out in the flat farmlands east of Santa Maria, what was that by the side of the road? Another actual bike tourist. The first of the trip. Phil Samuels was headed toward Foxen Canyon because Google maps told him that was the way. Little did he know he was in for one of the most delicious bike routes in California. And we both got company. Phil had been riding 6 days without seeing a single other one of our strange species. He was fully self-sufficient with Ortlieb panniers on a Surly Long Haul Trucker. We talked, shared snacks, took a wrong turn, and almost got to taste wine at the Foxen Winery (tasting room closes at 4pm).

From time to time Phil would talk in great detail about food stops, past and future. Yes, I laughed. He was heading to Los Olivos, so we parted ways at Ballard Canyon. My destination was Buellton, in the next valley south, one hill climb away.

Phil at the top of Foxen Canyon Road
You have to be a millionaire (or a very lucky cow) to live in Ballard Canyon. Yet anyone can experience this twisty 7-mile piece of heaven on a bike for absolutely no money. There's no one to give the money to, just you and the bike and the road. You can gaze at the close-in hills, the livestock, the signs announcing someone's farm, the clouds and the soft light of dusk. You might breathe a little differently, a little slower to make it last longer. All thoughts of other places will leave you, without giving notice.

Afterward, Motel 6 in Buellton might even leave the light on.

More photos of the day in a slideshow:

1 comment :

  1. Great way to describe the day Elaine. Thanks for making me famous! What a fun ride that was yesterday but today I am hurting. Ride safe, stay dry and keep us posted. Phil