Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Peace, Love, California, Cups, and Bicycles

Back to real life...Sorry it has taken me a while to post pictures from the bike trip...suddenly the holidays are frighteningly close, with a busy and exciting month coming up (friends and family visiting, performing, etc.) my To-Do list seems to be ever expanding...

I don't even really know where to begin, but I guess at the very beginning. That's a very good place to start...

Visited Occupy LA--love the tent that says "free bike repair or therapy"
I can't write what I want to right now about the occupy movement, or else these pictures will never get up. That is a post for another time. For now I'll say, it was really interesting to visit, notice the community dynamics and see the many different kinds of people who are taking part in this movement.

Getting the bikes packed up!

Venice Beach

 Cool Skater park where we had lunch on Venice Beach. I caught this guy in mid-air!

Caught a ride to Isla Vista with theses three Bros who where DJs and club promoters. It was hilarious. I don't think they ever let a song finish before skipping to the next. Ipod ADD? They were nice to let two hippie chicks along for the ride!
Isla Vista is a strange place. It's occupied entirely by college students and has an inorganic almost disneyland-village like feel. The streets are swarming with students getting to class on bikes and skateboards. Here is a HUGE parking lot (you can't even really see how big it is) filled to the brim with bicycles! From Isla Vista we headed north along the 101.
Stopped at Refugio State Beach for lunch and got a flat tire! Not a bad place to change a tube. Sure beat the side of the 101. We took a dip in the Pacific, and felt very refreshed, but got back on the road a little later than planned. Shortly after this we turned inland, went through a tunnel, which was a most overwhelming aural experience. After that we climbed a mountain and I almost didn't make it, but then we got to go downhill into Santa Ynez Valley and a rancher was kind enough to let us sleep in her stables!

In the morning we did the short hike to this waterfall. It was a geological anomaly because instead of the waterfall eating away at the rock, it built up the rock over time with mineral deposits like a stalactite. You can kinda see in the picture how it's kinda bulging out. 

Next we entered Solvang, which is a dutch themed town. The whole thing. We continued through to the nearby town of Santa Ynez, which is old west themed. I kid you not.

Toni's dad, Burton, came and met up with us in Santa Ynez where he rented a bicycle for the weekend from Santa Barbara Wine Country Bicycling Tours, which is a super great company that Burton had done a tour with several years ago. Although we weren't doing a tour, they asked if we would be willing to be part of a promotional video they were making and could they briefly film us enjoying a sample lunch at a fancy vineyard. 

Um...yes please and thank you!

A view after climbing a big hill! The terrain here is lots of little rolling mountains. Very dry with lots of beautiful cattle and vineyards (and the MJ Neverland Ranch...creepytowns...I mean RIP Michael, I love yooouuu...). All extremely scenic and we enjoyed several days of touring this area. We stayed with some wonderful warm showers hosts, who will remain undisclosed, but their generosity and company was greatly appreciated. Warm showers, by the way, is a network of bicyclers who open their homes (and most importantly, their showers) to bicyclists who are traveling through the area. We used this resource a number of times, and through those experiences we met some truly lovely and inspirational people.

On our way out of the Santa Ynez valley we had a lovely day on the deserted Foxen Canyon Road that led us to the Santa Maria area. We stopped at this vineyard to do a tasting before we left wine country for good. Then we napped in their picnic area before heading on. We stayed in Orcutt, which was not the greatest most exciting place, but we had a comfy bed with a warm showers host and we watched hocus pocus on TV and passed out halloween candy.

These shots were taken at Oso Flaco State Park, which is about four miles of the highway and we biked through a whole bunch of strawberry and broccoli fields. We were hoping to camp at the park, but it turned out there was no camping...bummer. Running out of daylight by the time we got back to the highway, so decided to hitch-hike. It took a while, but we finally got a ride from Freddy the mechanic to the next campground in Oceana. The campground wasn't the most beautiful, but we were glad to be pulling in with just enough light to whip up dinner and the tent. We made friends with the two 50-year old "slacker gurus" in the next campsite over and a stressful day turned into an enjoyable evening by their campfire.

Next day we arrived in San Luis Obispo where we stayed in a 19-person shared house known as "The Establishment." They were just recovering from throwing their crazy annual halloween party/fundraiser. This year's theme was The Afterlife, and just looking at the few decorations left over, I would say if you are in the region on halloween, you should definitely go to this party. Anyways, I loved this house--it was a 1880s (or so) hotel built to house railway workers and the whole thing leaned a little way to the left, but I loved the character of the place.

San Luis Obispo Mission

A menstrual cup workshop at The Establishment. You're looking at four truckloads of trash and four thousand of dollars being saved!

Stopped in Moro Bay for lunch and watched the surfers on the beach!
And we liked it so much we decided to stay! Went to the natural foods store and said, "We're on a low budget bike trip, can we camp in any of y'all's yard?" Which is how we met this very lovely couple who let us camp in their yard and hang out in their cozy trailer for the evening.

We listened to Van Morrison records and cooked lentils while she crocheted and he partook of the local pastime via a large glass vessel. These two gentle souls were a total blast from the past. It was probably the most 70's experience I will ever have.

Off to Cambria in the morning, and even though it should have been a short and easy ride, we had a hell of a headwind and it was slow going. We got a ride for just a couple of miles from Mitch and were we ever grateful. 

We continued on to San Simeon and camped in the State Park there. Our campsite was only a short walk to the beach. 

Something about this day (perhaps cold temperatures and high winds!) had us chilled to the bone! We made a hasty dinner which we shared with Rusty, another biker sharing our camp site, and then even though it was only 7pm, it was so dark and cold that we all piled in one little tent and Toni read stories out of her short stories edited by Garrison Kieler. When we woke in the morning everything was all icy, so there must have been a decent frost!

The next day we went to Hurst Castle to take a tour. Built by tycoon William Randolf Hurst over a period of like 30 years to house a massive collection of european art and architecture. More than house! Incorporate. Like entire ceilings removed from 15th century churches and built into this strange amalgamation castle. It was "the place" to hang out for hollywood stars in the 30's. I took a bazillion pictures, but you can only take my word for it that it is incredibly opulent. The tour guides kept telling us: "if it looks like gold, it is."

After the tour we were hoping to catch a ride up to Big Sur so that we could ride back south with the dreadful wind, but as we lost our light we decided to try our luck with a warm showers host in Cambria and turns out they could take us in at the last minute.

Toni models her scarf tube!

Beautiful San Simeon!

I also have an awesome neon scarf tube.

Since we had an extra day, we headed back up to San Simeon and explored the beaches and forest of the area. It was one of the most fun and beautiful days of all time.

Really fun climbing tree!

We found a cave!

Cave creatures.

Awesome wintery looking woods.

We made a fairy house!

After a day of finding treasures on the beach, exploring forests, caves and tidal pools, we started to head home and were greeted by this:


Why yes, this is a heard of Zebras in front of a Castle next to a rainbow, why do you ask?

Then I found these awesome mushrooms and a deer skull which I brought home.

These were our extremely generous hosts in Cambria. They were such an inspiring couple who had traveled the world together and had just settled down and bought this adorable house. They let us stay two nights with them, so we made them a coconut curry soup that night. Tasty.

The next day we pass back through Moro Bay--here's a better view of The Rock.

And then another night at The Establishment in SLO. Another biker was traveling through on his tall bike. Yes, this bike is being ridden across the country. And those are solar panels on the back.
The next day train back to LA. We made friendship bracelets from shells and a bee mood bead we found at a store in Moro Bay. One of our campsite buddies had just gotten a bee tattoo and we mused about all the symbolism of bees, so finding these bee beads seemed perfect. Plus they change color!!!

The end. I feel like this just touched on the surface of what we did and yet, it took me two weeks to get this posted because I've been working on it in 5 minute increments (busy busy busy) so I don't think I can get much more detailed or I will never get this posted!

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