July 19, 2005 – Tuesday – Day 24

48 States or Bust – The USA on Two Wheels
Miles TodayL 173 – Total Miles: 5,675 – Average: 246.7(travel days)
San Francisco, CA to Lucia, CA
(-staying at Lucia Cabins (in a cabin overlooking the Pacific)

We awoke around 7ish and then shortly were treated to the happy sounds of a 2-year-old having breakfast and interacting with his mom. We came down and breakfast was waiting. June had to get Sam off to camp, but we spent some more time talking and also making a call to a local Honda dealer who said that I could bring the bike over right away for the needed oil change. By 9:30am I was on the road to the place a few miles away. It was a bit of a nervous ride without Karen on the back to direct where to go, but after a few wrong turns I got there a bit late, but in plenty of time. I met Carl, who seemed to be the guy in charge of service. He was a very friendly guy who said at the small shop they liked to take care of travelers such as myself. (One time when he was traveling many years go, someone kept a mc shop open for him until 9:30pm.) The motorcycle was taken into the shop and the older fellow there took care of the oil change, checked the air pressure, and performed some other maintenance checks. Everything was fine.

Carl said he moved here for the weather. He avowed that it had only snowed twice since he’d gotten here in ’58!

While the bike was being attended to, I sat in a little cramped office at a desk working on the journal notes and enjoying the writing of them.

I got back to June’s with no problem and Karen and I shortly packed up, bid farewell, were on our way south, and out to the coast again. It was mostly big road highway riding. Even when we had got to Route 1, which mostly hugs all of the coast, and which I had traveled on a bicycle a number of times, things did not seem familiar. Much of the little two-laner had been replaced with the expressway in this part of California. I looked in vain for familiar sights, but there were none.

We got off the big road and breezed into Castroville (“The Artichoke Capital of the World”). At least that big sign was still there over the old highway. But everything else had changed – except there was still the giant house-sized artichoke in front of the Giant Artichoke Restaurant (advertising fried artichokes as their specialty!). I posed in front of the giant artichoke as I had done 25 years ago in my bicycling outfit – then a brash 33 year old in his 8th day of a three month bicycle ride that would eventually take him 4000+ miles and all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Then we went searching for Pastor Raymond Leon. I had met him on my cross-country trip, but despite looking around town, and even asking in a church, no one knew of him. (I realized later that this was a false memory and that the pastor was in a different town entirely.)

We, not entirely on purpose, went through miles and miles of broad fields where the laborers were at work harvesting lettuce, strawberries, and the such. Huge complex and strange-looking machines helped with the task. Eventually we came back to the main highway.

Seventeen-Mile Drive at Pebble Beach was a wonderful drive for me a quarter century ago. A young kid bicyclist joined me around the loop and I got a great photo of the Lone Cypress there. Now, instead of being off the two-laner, one gets to Seventeen-Mile Drive from an off-ramp of the expressway! And we couldn’t even get on it because now motorcycles are not allowed. (The guard said some motorcyclist started a fire awhile back and one killed someone, so no motorcyclists can take the beautiful ride.) Oh, and it costs $8.50 for a car to travel the route! I can’t recall if cars were charged back then, but so long ago I got to ride it for free.

I was quite struck by the changes. I said to Karen, “Sorry I can’t share that with you, dear. Seems I can’t share anything of that 25-year-ago ride with you.” I sobbed in my helmet about that, how most everything that I wanted to share was either moved, removed, covered, long-gone, overgrown, or forgotten. It was covered over with cement parking lots or turned into shopping centers. Even the two-lane road had been paved over with big super highway. It was a very moving time for me. The tears streamed down my cheeks inside the helmet as I remembered that adventure of 25 years ago, now with no way to see all those same places and scenes again.

For some things, though, that was about to change.

About 15 miles in front of Big Sur we came to the first of the magnificent ocean views as the road wound out right to the edge of the continent and over the ocean.

Had to gas up in the Big Sur area – and it was $3.44/gallon!!

It was not easy riding for me. At one point Karen was going to take a picture from the back of the slow moving bike, but when she got the camera up, and saw the new overlook scene of 1000’s of feet down to the waves, she just gasped and closed her eyes. After she told me this story about the closing of her eyes a bit later, I remarked that I did not have such a luxury!

Around 6:30pm after 40 miles or so of those mountains with tight twisties and roads that overlooked the ocean right precisely beside it, we came upon the store and the cabins at Lucia. The cabins boasted about the best view of the ocean on the coast so far. They overlooked high over the waves and a thin shoreline that curved around a huge mountainous cove – where at the moment a slim overlying cloud of lingering beauty bejeweled itself over the broad inlet.

We had grossly misjudged how long this leg of the trip would take. We had come 174 miles and it was still 45 miles to Hearst Castle area! We were both exhausted and very hungry. And here we were in the middle of the coast with nothing on either side except this very expensive place to stay. And, in fact, there were only two cabins left, and by the time we decided to stay, we had the final one of the 20 or so.

To reach the cabins so perched high above the water one had to go down a steep drive that would have put the San Francisco streets to shame it was so precipitous! I decided that it was too dangerous to mcycle down and that we would have to shuttle our gear from the roadway to the cabin. This being done, I decided that even the top of the drive would not be safe for the bike, so I asked the lady in the store if we could put the bike in the small parking lot there for the night, and she agreed. I asked about internet service and she told me there was no phone in the room and no tv. We didn’t care about the latter since we never watched a tv in a motel room – other than about 15 minutes worth to hear about the hurricane news. But I was disappointed about the former since I already had a day’s worth of notes to get out to mainly eager readers. But the young woman behind the counter did assure me that recently they had begun leaving the electricity on after 9pm!

We took all our stuff and put it into the room. I noted there was no cell phone service way out here on rugged shoreline. Then I changed into running gear, took the bike to that parking lot by the store, and went for a run.

As I was putting the cover on the mc up at the store area, Rich and Will came tooling in on their touring bicycles. The young 20-somethings were on their way home to San Diego after leaving from way up the west coast. I told them how I envied their ride. It was already in the cool of evening and they were still looking for a campsite. I told them of the many times I was in that situation. I got a photo of them and told them I hoped they would contact me so I could find out how they made out that night.

There was a restaurant near the store. But after spending so much for the cabin, I sure couldn’t bring myself to spending $30 for an entrée. We shared the rest of what June had packed us for lunch – for dinner. The paper bags had cute little decals on them, and on Karen’s Colby sandwich, was cutely written on the plastic, “Karen, say Cheese!”

We assembled the dinner of peanut butter & jelly crackers, June’s remaining sandwich, carrots, a little box of raisins, some fig newtons, and walked to the edge of the cliff overlooking the inlet. There were two chairs there and we sat, gobbled up the dinner, and watched the fantastic scene in front of us playing out as it had for more than a million years… the clouds, the mist, the waves, the ocean out to the horizon, and the dusk of evening approaching.

I went back to my notes of the trip of 25 years ago. And I spent a bit of time reading them to Karen in the cabin. I “re-met” Pastor Leon (an imposing man with cobweb tattoos all up and down both forearms, and a quarter-sized cross tattooed on his forehead!) and relived our time and the big storm that brought us together. And I recalled the 80 miles a day through these mountains that I muscled through on a bicycle.

In that cozy cabin I began thinking how lately each day of this trip now seems like a million years long that goes by in a split second.


July 20, 2005 – Wednesday – Day 25
48 States or Bust – The USA on Two Wheels
Miles Today – ? –
LUCIA, CA to ?

On this 25th day of our journey around the country we awoke at 6:30am in the Lucia cabin. The cabin was completely socked in with fog. Couldn’t even see the quarter-mile away store or the road. Even the Pacific Ocean right down the way was blanketed in fog. Karen went back to sleep and I finished typing up the recent days’ events. I lifted the thin blinds slat at 8:30ish to check on the fog. The scene was a bit different – the fog was thicker!!! Checked again at 9:30. The fog was thicker….


Author: Joel Perlish

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