Pismo Beach to Lompoc, CA

Today’s ride saved the climbing for last. Also, for whatever reason, a lot of people wanted to talk to us today.

We decided not to even try breakfast at the hotel today, and skipped straight to working towards rolling out. While we were at it, a young boy was very interested in our bikes, and his parents got to talk to us. They were particularly concerned about being in the sun day after day.

When checking out, I think the guy in the office was trying to explain why he had cancelled our reservation to the third party booking service, but was trying to be cagey about it.

Then we rolled off to breakfast at the Orange Cat Cafe again, where other patrons asked us about our deal.

The morning’s ride took us along the Oceano dunes, then more strawberry and other fields. The route looped around a bit before rejoining 1, presumably to shallow out the short climb. When we got back, we saw a grocery store and jumped on it (all the nearby “grocery” stores in Pismo Beach were actually liquor stores with some food. While outside, a couple asked if I had come up the big hill. I was unsure. We’ve come up a lot of hills. Big is subjective, and car vs bike is pretty different. I think they decided I hadn’t.

Coming back down, we rode through more fields of strawberries, raspberries, brussel sprouts in various stages of being harvested, and more. Fields were covered in white plastic tents. I suggested it was a plastic bag farm, though I didn’t get too much agreement.

We could see the hills ahead which surround Vandenberg, which would provide our big climb in the afternoon. It was all hazy with dust kicked up by the winds.

The road here was pretty low traffic, although with some trucks and farm equipment was about. There was almost no shoulder, except a dirt one which was really part of the field. I saw coming behind us a big, wide load, which looked like it had bits hanging off the sides at various heights. Usually I trust the professionalism of the commerical driver to know their vehicle, but with such an unusual wide load, I wasn’t going to take any chances. I announced that we needed to get off the road, now. We rolled off onto the dirt and got a couple of feet away when we were passed. Of course, the driver knew what he was doing, and gave us plenty of room.

We stopped for lunch in Guadeloupe, at some picnic tables outside a local historical museum. It opened while we were there, so I took Ruth inside and let the person inside tell us about the local history, from Spanish lands grants to the present. We’ve been at or near a bunch of these museums, but this is the first that’s been open. I’m glad we were able to go in.

We kept getting closer to the hills, and ran alongside them when Highway 1 joined up with 135 and went to freeway mode. We saw what looked like a piece of farm equipment coming the other way. When it got closer, we saw it was a pirate ship. Well, a parade float pirate ship. Anne asked if I had seen it, to make sure she’s wasn’t hallucinating. Almost everybody exited where Highway 1 cut off. Our fate was elsewhere, so we got to enjoy the empty freeway, with more fields of various crops scattered where it wasn’t too rugged.

Then it was time for our big afternoon climb up Harris Grade. There were signs forbidding trailers and trucks. Usually, they’re just “not advised”, so I figured it would be interesting.

It was fairly hot today, but the climb had enough pockets of shade to keep from overheating.

The road wound its way up, with some nice bits where you could see where you’d be a bit later. There were a few cars, mostly somewhere on the sporty end of the spectrum.

At the top, we enjoyed a nice view of Lompoc below, then a winding decent followed by a straight one. We crossed the line into suburban sprawl.

Once in Lompoc itself, we made our way across town to the hotel. Anne scouted the room and reported that it’s the smallest so far. One bed (doubles, not queens) is pressed against the AC unit, and the other has about six inches from the wall. We managed to fit everything with (barely) enough room to move around by putting the Chariot on the shelf in the closet. But at least there’s laundry!

Tomorrow we’ll head through Santa Barbara and some of the area affected by the Sherpa Fire. I think we’ll be able to get through without much trouble, although it’ll be interesting to see if the air quality is a problem.