Day 20: San Luis Obispo - Cuyama
Monday, September 26, 2005

91.24 @ 15.0 = 6:03'32, max: 36.8, trip total: 1539.5

warm, sunny with some clouds, a couple quick desert showers

banana bread (homemade), banana, 2 sausage egg McMuffins, OJ, PB&J, oreo's, crunch bar, Budweiser tall boy, ice cream cone, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, vanilla shake, salad, beef stroganoff

Cuyama Buckhorn Motel, $20.00 p/p

From the moment we walked outside, it was clearly warmer - we were "inland" and the temps were higher. We left the coast yesterday without any ceremony - actually without any mention. I did think that we were now leaving the coast and headed for another type of climate. But now its warmer. A great way to start.

As we started we were all a bit slower than usual. The pain of getting the legs moving was dull. The day open with options. And we were on our own route -- making choices on the fly from the atlas. Hard to tell what kind of places we would run into- if there would be places to stay, eat, etc.. or if we would be forging through farm country with nothing to offer us except vistas and challenges.

So we headed south to the next town. It was relatively flat as we started going through the valley - boxed in by large mountains on either side. And the hope was that we would get as far as possible without confronting a large pass. After looking through the maps and our route for the day we saw some 8,000+ foot peaks along the route. So with that in the back of our minds we pedaled cautiously.

And before we knew it we were climbing. Only a small climb compared to what it could be, but substantial none the less. It was a good indicator of what the day could serve up. It wasn't pretty. We were quiet as we rode together. Soon after we made it to the first town of the day, only a short ten or fifteen miles from the start. But since it may have been the last real town (a place with food) that we would see today, we thought a meal and restroom break was in order. Better now while we have it.

The miles left to do and the thought of mountain passes in the distance without any breaks left us anxious to get on with it. It was ok- a slight rise but mostly rolling fields. Nothing like the repetitive drills we had on the coast.

And then we got to the left turn- Route 166. No services for 56 miles. The anticipation of the passes we were headed into kept us on edge. Looking at the surrounding mountains as if they had a plan to punish us.

There were some climbs - the Sierra Madre range. And it wasn't just one. But overall it was pleasant. Hardly any traffic compared to the previous days.

video clip: cruising together »

The road surface kept shifting from smooth newly paved "bikers gold" to nasty vibrating cracked ridden gravel. We rejoiced and complained with every change.

Full Size Panorama
Photo by Todd Lindeman, rider

Luckily there wasn't a ton of climbing. We were making good headway and the sun was coming out. Then the headwind started - probably due to the storm we were rolling into. The wind slowed us down at times to 13 mph. It was brutal. We were headed right towards the storm for the last 30 miles of the day. Chasing it in the distance. Never quite catching up to it.

video clip: riding into the storm »

We got some sprinkles at a gas station ten miles form the end- so we held up there. Some ice cream and a 24 oz Bud for the break gave me some fuel to power through the rest of the ride.

Full Size Panorama
Photo by Todd Lindeman, rider

By the end of the day we were at an elevation of 2,150. Pretty good considering we started at about 150.

The flash floods made camping difficult so we opted to stay at the only motel around. The camp sites were pure mud and in most areas couldn't be accessed. Plus, there wasn't any running water (other than the flood). So the choice was easy.

Tomorrow is a long day - again filled with a few unknowns. The warmth has finally set in. Sleep now.. morning is soon. No internet, cell service, or much of anything here.


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