TO SANTA BARBARA
1,484 MILES IN, 291 TO GO
Either this rest day was needed more than any of the preceding ones or we have developed short memories. Possibly, the last 2 days of 92 and 91 consecutive miles were the tipping point but, after 6 days of riding with nearly 20,000' of climbing, this rest definitely is timely.
Most riders agree that the first uphill of the day is the most difficult. For some reason, once that first one is out of the way, there is renewed energy for the day's ride. Interestingly, there may be something in the overindulgence of pizza and pasta but the hills are no longer a serious problem. Actually, we even look forward to them as well as to a high total of climbing each day. It also is rewarding to note each additional 100 feet of climb on any particular hill. But the ride down the other side is always the most enjoyable gift!
After days of 5,000 and 6,000 plus feet of climbing, several riders found they had exceeded their perceived limits. This has encouraged them to push harder in other areas of life as well. Even so, when we are climbing and see a road far above us, we hope it is a different road and not the one we must travel. But it never is!
As we have proceeded south, temperatures have gradually warmed. The switch seemed to have been flipped in San Francisco because, south of there, jackets are no longer needed in the early mornings. Staying close to the Pacific Ocean, however, temperatures are relatively comfortable for riding, totally unlike cycling in Florida this time of year.
There has been only 1 rain shower over the entire tour and that occurred in Oregon during the night. Although we welcome rain-less conditions for riding and camping, the drought continues to present a major problem for the region. At one state camping facility, the water to the rest rooms had been turned off with porta-lets installed next to them to conserve water. If you interpreted that as no shower that night, you are correct. Fortunately, it was only the one occurrence.
The tall rocky cliffs have given way to less spectacular, smaller ones with longer stretches of sandy beach over the last few days but the scenery still is quite interesting. On some occasions, we have steered inland from the coast to some extent where vegetable farming is prevalent. Artichokes. Corn. Cabbage. In a few of those areas, the sweet fragrance of strawberries filled the air as scores of pickers filled their flats to the brim. Of course, strawberries are featured at all local markets and we certainly have purchased more than our fair share. Our eyes are now starting to take the shape of strawberries. Please don't tell anyone that we don't wash them prior to eating.
On last year's Northern Tier ride, I stayed in hotels about 1/3 of the nights. However, on this ride, I decided to camp with my fellow riders as much as possible. Surprisingly, I have found pitching a tent and the other aspects of the camping experience to be fun. When Sherry and I travel in the future, I think we will stay in hotels. It is not THAT much fun!
For these 2 nights, we are residing at the Christ Lutheran Church. The very kind members of the congregation arranged for excellent, warm "Showers of Blessing" and also provided a delicious lasagna dinner last night. Our appreciation is considerably extended for such gracious hospitality.
The church is located only 1/2 mile from the Santa Barbara Airport. This was the runway to which Sherry and I reached California on our earth-rounder flight 11 years ago. We raced the fog on the 12 1/2 hour leg from Hilo, Hawaii. Fortunately, we won that round. This time, our mode of transportation is much slower--but the fuel consumption is considerably less.
In 4 days, we are scheduled to pedal through the Los Angeles metroplex. That will present a new and different experience. At the very least, however, we are ready for what should be an interesting new round of challenges!
Tip of the day:
What you can conceive, and you can believe, you can achieve.