|Bixby Bridge ~|
This is a solo ride and it is 87 degrees when I leave Three Rivers so I'm wearing a t-shirt and the warm air feels good. The warm feeling soon changes over Pacheco Pass as the wind picks up and the marine layer begins to cool down my ride considerably. The wind on this pass is treacherous and will blow from any and all directions and full concentration is a priority. This is a route I've taken many times in the past when traveling from Barstow to San Jose State in the seventies. The oak woodland is surrounded by green rolling hills. I need gas sooner than I thought; the wind sees to that. My heavy leather jacket and gloves help keep some of the warmth but I can feel my knees shake.
|Robert and Gilbert Griego|
It is cold and I think I have another 60 miles yet to go. I want to arrive at San Simeon before dark to set up my camp. It will not happen as the road construction is slow and my late start even slower. My bike runs perfectly and accepts each corner with care. I do not see many bikers as I approach San Simeon. It is almost past seven and my goal is to camp at San Simeon State Park which I think is still a few more miles ahead. On most trips, I would continue on and set up camp in the dark. But since I've never camped here before, and since my last 80 miles have been very cold, I opt for the Motel 6 that I see up ahead. It is about 50 degrees outside, and the ocean mist makes it feel ice cold, or so goes my rationalization for this developed campsite that welcomes me - Motel 6.
Day Two: Yesterday I rode quickly past Ano Nuevo State Reserve which always has Elephant Seals on the beach. After breakfast, I ride back ten miles to see what I missed last evening. The sun is out and it feels good, though the air is still cold. In years past, I have seen hundreds of seals on the beach but today is different. There are several thousands seals on the beach and they are packed like sardines as far as the eye can see. They are tossing sand on their backs with their flippers and jocking for the best bit of sand, though it looks all the same to me. In the water, there are more seals.
Scenic Highway 1 leisurely leads me past Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lompock, Gaviota and then Refugio and El Captain State Beaches. There are horses and cows in the fields and they seem very content with the green grass. The traffic picks up as I near Santa Barbara and my fun ride is over as I navigate with traffic bent on going much faster. Just after Carpenteria, I catch a break and the traffic slows down as I move towards Lake Casitas and Ojai. My destination is Reyes Camp high in the Los Padres National Forest. The area is completely new to me and I am impressed with the steep mountains, trees, and rock formations. I find Reyes Camp and select a primitive camp site next to a stream. My fire is soon going and dinner awaits -- beef stew and the rest of my corn chips. The ground seems a bit harder tonight but the full moon adds some comfort in the night. This Los Padres National Forest is impressive and I plan to return and do some more camping and hiking in the days ahead.
Day Three: I leave early after my traditional cowboy breakfast -- spam and coffee but no tortillas -- and wander up the canyon towards Frazier Park and then merge onto Highway 5 near the Grapevine and in a few hours later, arrive in Three Rivers. Not a long ride, exceptional scenery......California's Highway 1.
The odometer records 773 miles . . . . .