February 22 - Santa Ynez, CA

(This is written by Jim, who has no camera, while I was sick in bed.)

Bike log: Saint Luis Obispo to Santa Ynes 

      Note this is not Drew writing, it's Jim filling in for the wounded Drew.  He's in San Diego, recuperating from a bad cold. 

The ride kicked off from the Hostel. To get to SLB, as the locals call it, we did a lot of climbing.  Payback downhill suggested this was going to be an easy day.  The first 40 miles seemed to melt away, with little effort.   

The first bite to eat was a 7-11 in Pismo Beach.  Unlike Maryland, you don't find labor pool workers camping out at 7-11's here.  The egg, sausage and cheese, I think it was akin to an egg roll, hit the spot.  I wish I'd waited a little longer, since there was a diner just down route 1 that was constructed out of actual railway cars. It's called the American Diner.  Rode by ruing the 7-11 stop. 

Real breakfast stop was Guadalupe.  To get there, the road swings inland, into an irrigated agricultural valley.  Board flat terrain, with a slight head wind.  Entering the valley, I broke a spoke riding out of the saddle.  Not a welcome sound, since the nearest bike shop was 30 miles away. 

Right on Rt 1, in downtown Guadalupe, is the "Restaurant." That it.  What caught my attention was the Mexican music blaring out from the open door.  The town was very clean, since they were spuming it up for the Tour de California - a tour de France style bike race we've been hearing about all week.  While I was waiting for my food, a truck pulled up, and some guys started painting the curb where I'd parked the bike.  Had to move the bike.   

As for the food, it was Heuvos Rancheros again. Had that the other day, just before two huge climbs, and rocketed up the hills.   

As for the Restaurant, there are some places where you might be concerned about eating the entree with the salad fork.  The Restaurant is not one of those places.  Diet coke is served in the can, without a glass.  The food was very good. While I was awaiting the main course, they brought out chips and home made salsa.  Excellent. 

Leaving Guadalupe, you snake through the valley, waiting all the time for the two big climbs the maps says are coming.  Another five miles runs off, and still not climbs.   

Then you turn a corner, and there's the first one. You finish that one, go down a hill, and there's the next one. Steep, and long.  You do that one, go down a hill, round a corner, and wait, there's a third climb not listed on the map, followed by two more pretty steep uphills.   

Get to Lompac, where the map says there's a bike shop.  Only it's not Lompac, its Vandenburg Heights. I don't know that, since there's no sign that tells you this. Call the bike shop; the line is busy.  Do I go down the steep downhill, in the hope that I haven't reached Lompac yet?  If I'm wrong, the penalty is a huge climb to get back to where I'm asking myself "do I feel lucky/" Try the shop one more time, and get Steve.  He says I'm not in Lompac yet, and it's all downhill to Lompac. 

Lompac is basically one large strip mall.  It looks like the community planners spent a lot of effort planing for every use - except cycling.  Or, there's a cash bounty paid for getting as close as possible to cyclists, without actually hitting them.  Lots of contenders for that bounty. 

As I'm entering Lompac, spoke no 2 breaks.   

At the bike shop, I meet Steve, the guy who talked me in. He's 57, and the founder of the local cycling club.  Steve and I spend a lot of time getting to know each other, as he fixed the two spokes. You have to take the wheel completely apart to fix a spoke.  He also restores old cars. While doing a brake job on his el camino the night before, a spring he was pulling on cut loose, and he socked himself in the nose. I was glad he told me this, since I'd been trying very hard not to get caught looking at the weird mark on his nose.  While I was there, I called the motel, because Steve said he didn't think there was a hotel in Santa Ynes.  The guy who answered could not speak English very well. Steve got on the phone, and managed to figure out where I was supposed to go.                                      

From Lompoc, it's up 246, off the Adventure Cycling route.  Steve assured me it was an easy ride, and he was right. What was concerning me was that the down time in Lompoc, and talking to Steve, had cost me about an hour and a half.  I left at 4:00, with just two hours of daylight.  Steve did give me a route out of town, that got me off the man highway, and out of harms way.   

As I was leaving town, it occurred to me that I hadn't eaten lunch. A hot dog at the Circle K did the trick.  The two women who worked there, who were outside smoking, as I at lunch, told me that I would be going through Solvang, and that I should stop an get a danish there. Trust me, these women looked like they knew danish.   

Solang is a mock Danish community, out the middle of the desert. Sort of like a Bush Gardens.  I'm not sure why it's there, buy I was too pressed for time to dig deeper. Was tempted to stop, just to see if they had any thoughts about the current cartoon controversy. 

Outside Solvang, there's a ostrich farm. One minute you're passing people dressed up in yodeling clothes, and the next, you're getting eyeballed by large African birds.   This is California. 

Keep riding until I see the crossroad listed for the motel.  Again, there is no sign to alert you that you're in Santa Ynetas.  And the motel is not on the street where it is listed. I do see a "motor lodge" shaped like a red barn. I call to be sure, but the woman who answers can't speak English very well. I say "red barn," and she says "yes." I'm in, with 30 minutes to spare before dark.   

The motor lodge is, your basic motor lodge - no frills. Not even shampoo. Wifi? Dream on. 

Diner is at the Indian Cassino, about a ten minute walk down an unlit road, as cars streak by.  Like every cassino, it has the buffet.  T bone steaks, prime rib.  Just my luck, it's seafood night - and me allergic to seafood. Food is great.  People watching even better.  There's an inverse relationship between being in shape, and hanging out in a cassino.  The only exercise people get is carrying a bucket full of quarters to the cashier.  Didn't seem like a lot of people were getting excise.