Saturday, June 11, 2011

Big Sur...rrr

When I thought I was having a good time.
     The past couple days have been really, really difficult.  I left Morro Bay feeling pretty good.  It was a little overcast, mild temperatures, overall some pretty decent riding conditions.  Then it all went sour.  There is this thing that bikers talk about with awe.  A legendary monster makes grown mens hearts turn to custard.  Well let me tell you that the mythical Prevailing Winds are real.  Very real and very terrible.  Honestly, I had no idea how bad it would really be.  I remember all the bike dudes at the shops saying, "Buddy, you're going the wrong way for this time of year."  And inside I would laugh thinking to myself that surely it couldn't be that bad, silly old-timers.  Oh but was I wrong.  So my whole morning was spent fighting with the wind and after that was through I met Mr. Big Sur.  (That's Dr. Mr. Big Sur to you.)  So again I get to go from zero feet above sea level to 1000.  Only this time it took longer.  I didn't really realize how hard this would be until that day, when I was cranking at my lowest gear for hours on end and swearing obscenities to the mountain itself.  I finally rolled into Plaskett Lake State Park at seven pm with nothing left in me.
     As I was looking for the hike/bike site a twenty something girl got my attention and asked if I wanted to share their with them.  Enter: Marie and Kathrin.  These two are a Mother/Daughter team on a whirlwind camping trip from Seattle to LA.  Marie was in a pair (which is another way to say nannying) for a family in Long Island, New York for two years when she finally decided it was time to go home.  As a last hurrah, her mother Kathrin and her decided to do this three week camping trip together before heading home to somewhere in East Germany.  (Sorry you two, I forgot the name of your town.)  It was really great to have some people to share the evening with after such a hard day.  We got a campfire started with some illegally gathered sticks and twigs from the area, bummed some marshmallows off some of the campers next to us and just had a good time sharing stories.  They also sang some really cool German songs.  In the morning they graciously shared some hot tea with me and went on their way to LA.  Thank you Marie and Kathrin, you really lifted my spirits.

   Again, I woke up, put my gear away and was mildly optimistic about the day ahead of me.  Friday June 10th has been the hardest/worst day of the trip so far.  Just when I think I've had the hardest day, another comes and just takes the cake.  I had to climb the second half of Big Sur which was even worse than the first which took me close to five hours.  Immediately at the base of the mountain is this place the locals call Hurricane Point.  (Or something of that nature.)  Where the winds are so strong it was all I could do to stay on my bike.  I actually fell a couple times.  Once while I was still clipped into my pedals.  It was truly demoralizing.  With my head down all I could think about was putting one pedal down at a time and staying on my side of the road.  It couldn't have been over sooner.  Then again I had another spicy hill to climb, Caramel Hight's, and as my legs couldn't take any more I had to crash in a small hidden state beach right next to a school.  It was my first experience ninja camping.  It wasn't an official state park so I just had to stay concealed and get out of there as early as I could.  Which was no problem because I zonked out at eight and woke up at five thirty.
      Although the experience was pretty terrible it wasn't all bad.  Big Sur had been closed due to mud slides for months but right as I was passing through CalTrans opened it.  Also, as I was at the highest low of the ride a woman waiting as her son started his bike ride gave me some cherries and a sandwich.  It just seems to be how it's going to go.  As I get to my lowest that's when something good happens.  I just wish there wasn't so many lows.
Almond Scone/Ethiopia
     Two interesting things happened as I've been writing right now.  I realized I had a tick in my ankle... (AHHH) and two riders popped into the coffee shop where I'm sitting.  Two riders going north!  Kindrid spirits that were a very welcome site to my eyes.  It's good to have someone to share suffering with.  They had experienced the same winds that I had yesterday and we were both equally broken.  But safe travels to you both and I'm sure we'll meet again on this crazy road north.  By the way, I'm having a good cup of locally roasted Ethiopan coffee courtesy of the Carmel Valley Coffee/Roasting Co.  Very well done guys.  The best cup I've had since I've started this trip.


  1. Beau, you are fulfilling your mission statement to the tee! Hang in there....the rainbow follows the storm never comes first. You are nearing San Francisco and rumor has it that there is awesome clam chowder there....please have a bowl (or two) for me. Love you....Dad

  2. keep it up bro, i'm cheering for ya!

  3. San Fran has great chowder and I hear awesome Guide Dog people!! I think you will enjoy your visit with Mick!! It was great hearing your voice yesterday. I am going through my own growing process through your trip! I try not to worry, but that is a mom's job right! I love you Beau. Keep your chin up and just remember "You can do all things through Christ"

  4. Rock on beau, no matter how hard the day is I'm sure it beats working. You are affecting lives all along the coast. What an awesome adventure. PEDAL ON!

  5. Lol, Travis. I'm sure it beats working! so true.
    It's great to read about your adventures!

  6. hey beau how are ya??
    I hope everything is going well for you, we are back home now
    Nice article that you wrote, was a pleasure to meet you!! Good luck on the rest of your trip and btw my e-mail address is in case u need it sometime :) ttys