Pacfic Coast Completed: 1300 Miles

My Pacific Coast journey is complete!  I’m in Ventura, Ca.    Rode 85 miles and 3000 ft of climbing, from Lompoc to Santa Barbara on the final leg.   1324 Total miles covered.  It has been a busy couple of days to complete this journey, which is why I’ve missed the last couple days of blogging. IMG_1784

I’ll begin with the end.  To my great surprise, my mom and sister, Lynne, and her partner, Rick, came to congratulate me in Ventura.  I am so appreciative of their support.  They both cheered me on via my blog the entire way down the coast.  I am looking forward to having a glass of wine–great choice, Lynne–and eating the basket of wonderful treats, they brought me.  If you look closely, you’ll see Lynne and I share a love of pink–her shoes and shirt, and my socks.  We must be related!

It was a long day, 85 miles, and we were blessed with a fantastic tail wind–15 to 20 mph– most of the way.  The ride from Lompoc to Santa Barbara starts with a 16 mile climb over the coastal range.



It wasn’t a tough climb, but it felt like a big hurdle to get behind us.  Once at the top, we entered onto Highway 101, South, near Gaviota.  This is one of the few places in Ca, that bicyclists are allowed on the highway.  There are no frontage roads, so bikes on the freeway are OK.  It was 17 miles of fairly nice riding, but lots and lots of high speed traffic.  We had a wide shoulder and a rumble strip and that tail wind.  Nonetheless, when a large semi, or double semi would pass, the winds would push us all over the shoulder.  Yikes.  It was hold on stead time.

We exited the freeway just north of Santa Barbara and traveled through the University, UCSB.  All the roads were very familiar to me as I grew up in SB, and attended UCSB for a couple of years, mostly majoring in beach and partying.  I left UCSB after a couple of years and transferred to Cal State, Chico–another party school–but buckled down and completed my degree in engineering away from the distraction of the ocean lifestyle.  It was reminiscent to travel the bike paths of the university.  And, also helpful to Robin and I, as it is a maze of confusing ever intersecting paths to cross the campus.

It was really nostalgic to travel the routes I knew so well. When I was a teenager, and had my first 10 speed bike, a friend and I would ride what I realize, now, was the start of my long distance cycling career.  We did one of two routes.  The first, from Goleta north to El Capitan beach, on Highway 101, a round trip of about 25 miles, and the second from Goleta to Carpenteria, a round trip of 40 miles.  I traveled these exact roads, on the ride to Ventura.

I didn’t take many pictures through out the day, because the mileage was long, and we really needed to keep moving.  We arrived in Ventura near 4pm.  And, as I shared, above,  my mom and Lynne and her partner, Rick, were there to greet me.

So,  the Pacific Coast cycling adventure has come to a close.  Cycling down the Pacific Coast has been my dream for the past 8 years, when I started riding cross country.  This is the trip I really wanted to do, but didn’t feel I was physically strong enough to tackle all the climbing of the route.   But, now I am strong enough and completed the adventure.  It was hard, challenging, fun and my dream.

So, what have I learned and re-learned, as this is my 4th US cross country trip?

Here is the re-learn category:

  •  ANYTHING is possible, especially the really hard stuff, one pedal stroke at a time.  KEEP GOING.  Stop and rest if you need to, but KEEP GOING.
  • And, of course, START.  You can’t finish if you don’t start.
  • Don’t do the hill before you get there.  This also relates to don’t do tomorrow before today.  You have to be prepared and do the foot work and prepare for tomorrow, but fretting about tomorrow, what might happen, what is coming up wastes the present.  All we have is the present,  Don’t waste it!
  • Have a GREAT traveling companion, someone you can count on through the good and the hard–Robin that is you!  I don’t have words to express the companionship, fun, safety, ease, and utter joy of riding with Robin.  I thank my luck stars we met in 2009 and continue to cycle across this planet, together.

In the new learning category, I have the opportunity to create new opportunities and goals for myself.  This journey has been like cleaning out the closet of my mind and I haven’t figure out, yet, what I intend to put back.  I’ve been in the bike bubble for 5 weeks and my days and nights have been very simple–but not always easy.  My focus has been riding my bike and being safe. I have had minimal possessions with me, which has taught me I don’t need much–and, in fact, I realize, I have too much stuff.  I intend to simplify when I get home.

I’m going to take my time and figure out my next big goals.  I’ve been working on my fluency in Spanish–for years–which I will continue, and I have been flirting with writing my memoir–this blog has been a bit of a “give it a go”.

And lastly, the next cycling adventure starts the end of April 2018, Route 66, Chicago and Santa Monica.  I’ll be back with my blog, then.

Be safe, keep you eyes on the road, and may you have tailwinds for your journeys.  Thanks for coming along.  Susan



Tomorrow is the Penultimate Day: 130 Miles To Go

I’m in Pismo Beach, Ca.    Rode 52 miles and 1800 ft of climbing.   1194 Total miles covered to date.

I’m now in Southern California.  We left Big Sur, yesterday, and had to shuttle to Cambria as Highway 1 is closed to through traffic.  All the bikes were loaded onto the van and we went by private passenger transport.  It was a day without riding. IMG_1773

Today, we rode from Cambria to Pismo Beach.  It was a blissful day biking and reminded me why I love this.  I had been physically very tired when I arrived in Big Sur after 4 weeks of cycling.   The day off the bike yesterday was just what I needed to recovery my strength.  I felt so powerful on the bike, today.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt stronger.  What a gift going into our last two days.

Big Sur: 253 Miles To Go

I’m in Big Sur, Ca.    Rode 44 miles and 2800 ft of climbing.   1142 Total miles covered to date.

What amazing weather we have here in California.  A clear day, and high 70’s to low 80’s.  We had amazing sighting-seeing type riding for our first 20 miles.  We rode the rec trail south out of Monterey, then picked up 17 mile drive, gawked at the fancy golf courses and beautiful homes, then Scenic Drive along Carmel’s coast where we gawked at more beautiful homes and beautiful beaches.  We stopped a lot and took lots of pictures.  It was bliss.

Then, it was 20 more miles on Hiway 1, climbing hill and dale, traffic and more spectacular views.  It was a hard 20 miles, though.  I kept watching the odometer, watching the miles go by ever so slowly and wondered when my head would get in the game and ride these miles effortlessly.  It never happened, today.  We’d go up, we’d go down and then we’d go up, again.  We crossed the famous Bixby Bridge, and then climbed up to Hurricane Point.   Then, on to more down and up and up and down.  We eventually arrived in Big Sur.  And, of course, where our cabins are located for the night, was a bit more of a climb…yup…seriously.  I’m pooped!

Tomorrow we shuttle to Cambria as Highway 1 is closed going south.  So, a rest day, whew.  There are only 3 riding days remaining and I can do this!

In Monterey: 297 Miles To Go

I’m in Monterey, Ca.    Rode 50 miles and 1800 ft of climbing.   1098 Total miles covered to date.

Because we were riding in my home town and on cycling routes that I know like the back of my hand, I planned the first 15 miles or so of today’s ride and shared it with the group.  We hugged the coastline and visited my favorite beaches, views and vistas as we continued to move south along the Monterey Bay.  Once we left Santa Cruz, we traveled through the farmland of Watsonville, strawberries, brussel sprouts, artichokes and lots of lettuce.  It was a regular salad bowl out there, today.  We stopped at Moss Landing at a wildlife viewing area and saw otters, dolphins, seals, pelicans, cormorants and other shore birds.

Apparently some were not able to follow all the twists and turns of the directions and accidentally wound up on Highway 1, where they shouldn’t have been and were stopped by the highway patrol and told to take the next exit.  Yikes!

Four riding days left.  It is going fast.  For some reason, I am really tired after today’s ride.  Sleep is calling my name.


At home in Santa Cruz: 347 Miles To Go

I’m in Santa Cruz, Ca, home.  Yeah.  Rode 50 miles and 2500 ft of climbing, to get here.   1048 Total miles covered to date.


I rode into Santa Cruz, yesterday, slept at home last night, and my sister, Amy, came over and spent my day off with me.  The pic, above, was taken at the Capitola Wharf and geez do I need a hair cut!  We had such a lovely time.  Makes me look forward to the close of this journey in one more week…but not until then.  At the end of the day, Am gave me a ride back to the “bike bubble”.

Now back in the “bike bubble” and one week to go, makes me realize and understand that I have a magnificent choice as to what is next.  The past four weeks have been simple and single focused, but not easy.  When the ride and the bubble ends, it will be much easier, but my life will be much more complex.  I plan to make thoughtful, careful choices as I transition back into my day to day life.

For now,  the ride from Half Moon Bay was bliss and my home territory.  My local cycling club, joined us for the ride in and then pizza and beer.  When you are Santa Cruz, come ride with us!  SCCCC  Tomorrow’s ride to Monterey, will also be familiar, too.  Looking forward to it.


The Golden Gate Bridge: 397 Miles To Go

I’m in Half Moon Bay, Ca.  Rode 42 miles and 2500 ft of climbing, today.   998 Total miles covered to date.

Started out this morning rather chilly, ~55 deg F.  Covered 10 miles through Richardson Bay to reach the Golden Gate Bridge.

What a spectacular ride and a highlight of this epic adventure.  After the bridge, we climbed up through the Presidio, to areas that I had never been to and then crossed to the park and rode the entire way out to the Great Highway.  It hardly seemed like we were in the city before we were on Skyline heading south.

The time seems to be moving very very fast as we have less than 400 miles to go.  It always seems to happen this way, and reminds me that everything and anything is possible step by step and one pedal stroke after the other.  At some point, divide providence always seems to join me and things get easier and the struggle disappears and what is left is achievement, joy and gratitude.   My goal now, as I am on what I feel is my coast, my home, is to make sure I enjoy every single moment and that I be present with this experience.

Just south of Pacifica is a treacherous piece of road, no shoulder, lots of traffic and then a nasty tunnel.  I having been fearing this stretch of road, hill and tunnel for days!  To my surprise there is now a bike detour/path around the tunnel on the old highway.  What a bunch of stress over nothing.  The lesson, again, is don’t do the future until it gets here.