San Simeon to Morro Bay, CA
September 11, 2018
Distance: 30.5 miles
Elevation: 952 feet
Moving Time: 2 hours 49 minutes
Conditions: Start — Sunny, 64 degrees F. End — Not a cloud in the sky, 71 degrees
Today’s Takeaway: Time slowed down on this outstanding Tuesday.
Today’s ride brought me back to the California of my past experiences with stereotypical golden rolling hillsides and wide sandy beaches instead of the jagged cliffs and rocky shorelines the Big Sur region offered up the past few days.
Small towns dotted the route between San Simeon and Morro Bay this afternoon, which is different than what my experience had been since I left Monterey Sunday morning. It was comforting to know I could find a store to purchase water and food if my supplies ran thin, as they did yesterday.
Today’s terrain and roads were different with mostly relatively flat highways and wide shoulders instead of insanely steep climbs and dangerously narrow room to ride I had to deal with Sunday and Monday.
For the first time, I relaxed during my scenic tour of central California. No stress. No crowded traffic lanes. Not a perilous cliffside within miles. And friendly winds. Best of all, I got to spend quality time with my wife, Diane. After dinner, we took off our shoes and waded in the cold surf of the Pacific.
And I swapped out my bulky, steel Surly touring bike for my lightweight carbon fiber Specialized road bike. It was a treat to get back to what I know best — road biking.
What I thought the tour would be — time slowing down and enjoying many aspects of the senses that you can’t do when you live a normal, hurried pace of life — became a reality today.
I wrote the following paragraph about the uniqueness of touring in a blog entry several weeks ago —
Rides like these, the tours that take days or weeks, give you a different perspective on the hours that make up the day. Time seems to slow down, and because life rolls along at a different pace, you notice stimuli that would’ve been missed at 55 miles an hour (89 kph). You smell the overpowering scent from a field of wildflowers as you slowly climb to the top of a hill. Laughter comes at you from a playground filled with energetic elementary school children as you cruise through a small town. And the sight of a rainbow, with colors so intense that you feel as if it’s just been painted by a five-year-old’s overloaded brush, seems to extend to the ends of the earth when there’s no rush to get to an appointment.
That happened today, or at least a version of it did.
I watched puddles of light dance on the road’s pavement as the sun’s rays found its way through branches of trees from above. I listened to the consistent roar of breaking waves crash along the shoreline as I rode along the beach. And I savored the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls emanating from an open door at a bakery in Morro Bay.
None of those things could’ve happened — at least to the degree they did — from the seat of my car.
I’m truly blessed to have this series of moments become part of what I now am.
Next up: Solvang.