Sunday, June 2, 2013

San Luis Obispo, Ragged Point, Big Sur, and some cheating

SLO was a lot of fun. I stayed with a friend-of-a-friend who made sure I saw the town and its surprisingly active nightlife. The surrounding mountains set a beautiful backdrop to the downtown area. 

I left early Friday morning to try and beat the wind. That plan worked, for the most part. I was able to cover a good amount before the battling winds returned. I stopped at a roadside vista area where elephant seals gather to mold their fur on the sand. A volunteer guide there explained the scene while they barked and growled at each other. It was a great free attraction that I highly recommend.

I continued onward past San Simeon to Ragged Point. The tiny town had beautiful vistas, large houses, but only one overpriced store and gas station. I stocked up on Snickers bars and bagels, and asked the kid behind the counter about the new Arrested Development episodes (priorities) and about places to camp. He pointed me toward a trail leading to a waterfall just off the highway where I could camp for free. It worked out well. I had a bath in the creek and pitched my tent by some huge rocks. I thoroughly sketched out some high school kids who stumbled across a wet and shirtless Kyle eating beef stew out of the can with the handle of a toothbrush. I didn't have a spoon. I slept we'll and left at dawn.

I was only aiming to reach Limekiln Creek State Park, but arrived so early that I continued on to Big Sur. The 'towns' on my map were extremely tiny, so I couldn't resupply until expensive Big Sur. The climbs into town were grueling, but the rocky coastline was amazing. I saw a fox running up the cliff to my right, dropping stones as it scrambled upward. The heat hit me hard in the afternoon. Being the weekend, most campsites to the north were booked solid, so I stayed at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for the night. I slept amongst redwoods.

This morning, I left at 5am to avoid the wind. Instead, I met it head on and was blown all over the road. A heavy fog made it hard to see more than 20 feet ahead. The blind turns and narrow shoulder made me feel very unsafe as the traffic started picking up. I made the difficult decision to hitch a ride. It felt dangerous to continue.

A young couple picked me up and took me all the way to Santa Cruz, where I'm enjoying a rest and planning my route east. I'll be in Fresno in a few days, then to Sequoia! No more coast. It's time for the valley and mountains.

I feel a little bad about hitching a ride. If I had more time, I would have just returned to Big Sur, but the fact that I'm starting a job in Sequoia meant that I had to continue with forward progress. So be it. I am safe and on schedule.


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