Central Coast Bike Tour 10/4-13/2003
(Use the links below to see slide shows for each day.)

Day 1 Sunnyvale to Aptos – 58ish miles
We rode through Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and Saratoga on to Los Gatos. In downtown Los Gatos, we turned up a 2 mile trail called the Jones trail, which hooked us up with the back side of Lexington Reservoir. We went up Old Santa Cruz highway to Summit Road. We continued on until it became Highland, and then dropped down Eureka Canyon road through Corallitos to Aptos. This was our most difficult day of riding so far – hot and hilly. 10.6 MPH average. Yikes! Just getting used to the weight. We ended the day with some cheap Mexican food. MMMmmm.

Day 2 Aptos to Carmel – 44ish miles
This was supposed to be our easiest day – shortest distance and not too many hills. We were going to roll gently through the strawberry fields and on to the coast. However, we faced some pretty tough headwinds, and lots of exhaustion from the previous day that made it difficult. We had some giant hamburgers while watching the 49ers play in a sports bar in Monterey. That was fun. Dinner was at a sheeshy grill in Carmel. 11 MPH average.

Day 3 Carmel to Lucia – 52ish miles
This was the best day scenery-wise. Lots of great views of the Big Sur coast. We had some scary, dense fog early for about an hour, but things cleared up nicely. Starting to get into the groove of things with carrying the weight. We met a nice young guy from Seattle who was riding all the way to San Diego with some friends. He was in need of a tire pump and a patch kit, so we helped him out. Lucia was gorgeous on a really beautiful stretch of coast. We stayed at the lodge right on the cliffs over the water. There we met a triplet riding the same route from the Santa Cruz mountains to Santa Barbara and a father and son riding a two day trip from Monterey to Morro Bay with mom driving the sag wagon. We all had some nice conversation at dinner, since the lodge was the only place in a 10 mile radius to eat. 12 MPH average.

Day 4 Lucia to Cambria – 51ish miles
We started the day with two big climbs – one up to about 1,000 feet with a descent to 400 feet and back up to 1,000 feet. At the bottom of the second sweeping descent, we ate lunch at Ragged Point. From there, we were riding the flats along the ocean. We saw some elephant seals and a coyote out at Point Piedras Blancas near the lighthouse. We saw Hearst Castle flanking the hillside. It was temperate and sunny all day. We caught the afternoon tailwinds in the flats and made it to Cambria with a 12.8 MPH average. We rode to Cambria downtown and staked out a dinner place, visited the local bike shop for a patch kit (which they didn’t have) and got some ice cream. Mmmmm. Then, we went to the hotel and cleaned up. We walked into town and had a big, greasy pizza dinner followed by cappuccinos and ginger biscotti.

Day 5 Cambria to Arroyo Grande – 57ish miles
We rode along the very foggy coast all the way to Morro Bay, where it was so foggy, we couldn’t even see the rock. Then, we turned inland through the marshes on a road called Turri. We struck up a conversation with a few kayakers moving through the wetlands. We wound our way up the road, and then had a straight, screaming descent into Los Osos Valley. We both got to our fastest at around 39 MPH. We pushed through 40 miles to get to lunch in San Luis Obispo at our favorite spot – the Z Pie (a gourmet pot-pie restaurant). We were sorely disappointed to find out it was going out of business. The owner recognized us from previous visits and told us to visit one of their other locations in Auburn or Placerville sometime. ? So, we settled for lunch at Firestone – tri tip sandwiches, salad and fries – Yum! We pushed the last 18 miles into Arroyo Grande to my parents’. We finished with a 13.1 MPH average. That night, we got our first trip to the Tahoe Joe’s steakhouse, but ate chicken.

Day 6 Rest Day in Arroyo Grande
Thursday, we vegetated in A.G. with the family. Visited with the grandparents and went to see ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ with my mom. Then, we all had dinner together courtesy of my mom. I got to play Mac tech support for a guy who works with my dad before bed.

Day 7 Arroyo Grande to Buellton – 60ish miles
Today was our longest ride of the trip, but also our fastest. We ended with a 13.8 MPH average – thanks to some nice tail winds and about and hour and a half with a couple of hammer heads from Great Britain. We met Richard and Rachel near Guadalupe and rode with them all the way to the Harris Grade on the way into Lompoc. We backed off because we wanted to stop more for pictures and rest. We had a big, Mexican lunch complete with horchata in Lompoc at about 40 miles. We topped it off with some Starbuck’s. Mmmmm. Then, we made a little diversion to the La Purisima mission. It is a state park, and the only complete mission in the state. It has been restored primarily. It was very pretty, and we spent about an hour and a half walking around and taking photos. We had about 15 more miles of hot, inland riding to get to Buellton. We are staying at Pea Soup Anderson’s. Woo hoo!

Day 8 Buellton to Santa Barbara - 58ish miles
We started up the hill toward Solvang first thing in the morning. At the outer edge of Solvang, we stopped to take some pictures of Mission Santa Ynez and the beginning of the Santa Ynez valley. Things were pretty busy on the highway until we got past the Indain Casino on 246. Then, we turned right onto Highway 154. It was a hectic, and narrow-shouldered road with about 13 miles uphill. But, we got some stunning views of Lake Cachuma to our left and the sweeping Santa Barbara wine country. We finally turned off the highway onto the old stagecoach route. Ahhh. Shade and quiet. We wound our way up gradually for several miles until we arrived at the Cold Springs Tavern. We got some refreshment and assurance that it was only about a mile to the summit of San Marcos Pass. Sure enough, in about a mile, we crossed over the top portion of 154 onto a road called Camino Cielo. Note to self: If a road is called 'Road to Heaven', you've got more climbing to do. We climbed gradually for about 1/2 mile in the afternoon heat, then rounded a bend sqarely into a wall of about 22% grade. That lasted for about 1/4 mile, and then slacked off to 14% or so for another couple miles. We were running the top ridge of the San Marcos Mountains and could see Santa Barbara below. Finally, we turned down on Painted Cave road. We stopped after a couple miles to photograph some Chumash cave paintings. Then, we started our long and hairy descent into S.B. We had to stop every few miles to cool our brakes. They were smokin'! We descended through Goleta and took about an hour to reach my aunt and uncle's place near the Marina in Santa Barbara. Let's hear if for safe, uneventful, and fun travels!

Days 9 & 10 Santa Barbara
We spent the final two days bumming around Santa Barbara with my aunt and uncle. We got to visit two of my cousins in Ventura, spent some time on State Street and visited the Mission. We rode home on Amtrak to San Jose.