One Week In

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I am one week into my trip, taking a rest day at Morro Bay.

I had to postpone my departure by one day due to the fact that it took me a whole day to do my taxes. Maybe it always takes that long and I just blank out the memory every year.

My muscles haven’t quite readapted to touring yet. After the first day, my legs were jelly-like and my stomach in active rebellion.

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Me at my most mature.

Anger is a great physical motivator for me. When I reached the entrance to 17-Mile Drive, I found it was closed to bicycle traffic because of some golf muckety muck. I took some selfies expressing my feelings about golf, and pounded off down the highway. Then I was scoffed at by employees at two separate ACE hardware stores for asking for HEET in the yellow bottle. Because it’s antifreeze and there’s absolutely NO NEED for antifreeze in these parts. (No one in Carmel ever drives to Lake Tahoe?) Nursing my little grudges was just what I needed to get over the hills in Pacific Grove.

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Plenty of people were out driving Big Sur for Valentine’s Day weekend. It’s a good kind of traffic, as everyone drives slow with frequent selfie stops. I got a lot of positive reactions from drivers: power fistpumps and thumbs up and calls of encouragement. Only once did I get shouted at by frat boys. “Get the hell over!” I don’t think they realized (or cared) that to the right of the white line there were only two inches of good pavement before it crumbled off into a cliff. Sometimes you just have to take the lane.

I spent one night at Pfieffer and the second at Plaskett Creek. Both campgrounds were full but there is always room for cyclists. My yoga mat has turned out to be a valuable piece of equipment. I always have a tidy place to sit, even if I’m at a spot with no picnic table. Occasionally, I even use it for yoga.

Getting to know my Garmin

I suspect that my Garmin is haunted. Maybe by a ghost or an AI that enjoys playing tricks on me. I named her Zelda. Zelda’s favorite joke is to send me on long mountainous roads. When I attempted to program a route from San Simeon to Morro Bay, instead of sending me straight down Highway 1, she directed me to a backroad with a hill that local cyclists call “The Wall.” The other funny thing Zelda does is laugh at me. It sounds paranoid, I know. Whenever I’m really struggling up a hill, my Garmin clicks over to Auto Pause with a snide electronic giggle, as if my speed is so negligible that I may as well be standing still. Funny Zelda. I downloaded the manual but of course there’s nothing in it about hauntings. Since I’ll be navigating through Los Angeles and the Valley shortly, Zelda and I need to come to some kind of mutual understanding right quick.

At the moment I’m carrying three books. Probably I am a terrible person for doing it, but two are library books. I have every intention of sending them back before they’re overdue. One is Rising Strong by Brené Brown. The other is Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Spring and Kirkendall. This is the book I used when I rode the coast route ten years ago. It’s a great guidebook, even if the writers did slightly diss my home turf by suggesting that Brussels sprout fields make boring scenery. I picked up a copy of On Writing by Henry Miller at the Henry Miller Library. I always buy a book there because it’s such a special place.

It’s a surprise to me how much I don’t recall from riding this route ten years ago. The only thing I remembered from Morro Bay was an annoying man who treated me like I was slightly insane. I didn’t remember that this bay is full of birds and perfect flat water. It’s an excellent place for a rest day, and the lockable cupboards at the campground mean that I don’t have to stress about thieves when I go exploring.

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