Yes, Sur

We’re more than a week behind in posting to our blog, so I’m going to play catch-up here, as we have a few down days in Boise, Idaho.

After leaving Kevin in San Simeon, California, we had a short day’s ride to Big Sur. We had a reservation for a camp site the following night at Pfeiffer State Park, but we didn’t have a reservation for tonight. This turned out to be our first wall: everything along the Pacific Coast Highway was sold out and fully booked, except for $300+ hotel rooms, which will never be in our budget (one night’s stay at $300 takes away ten to fifteen nights camping at $20-$30 a night. You can see how we can extend our travels significantly by “sleeping cheap”). We started at San Simeon State Park, where we were told “Sorry folks, park’s full. Try Plaskett” (an hour north). We checked several others along the way, but all were full. At Plaskett we were told “Sorry folks, park’s full. Try San Simeon.”

Kevin had mentioned that a friend of his told him about a place to wild camp above Big Sur, so rather than drive hours north and inland, we decided to try it. The road was dirt, but fairly good condition, though in places it had some fairly deep silt. We climbed 3,000 feet up in seven miles to a ridge that looked out over the ocean. At that height, the marine layer (think coastal fog) was below us, so while it was 60F when we left the coast, it was 84F up here. It felt much warmer. We cooked dinner and went to bed early, but it never cooled off, so we didn’t sleep much.

At 5:30am we were up and packing. Our descent got interesting in a hurry when I overheated the rear brake until it faded away (did I mention we are overloaded?) on a steep downhill silt section. With no rear brake and the front ABS still active, we managed to build speed downhill until the embankment on the outside of the corner at the bottom of the hill provided some serious stopping power. From the outside it probably looked like a small atomic bomb had detonated. The silt mushroom cloud completely covered us and we were suddenly a brown bike and two brown riders. No damage and no injuries, thankfully. I was able to pull the bike upright away from the embankment and let the brakes cool, and we continued down to the coast at a slower pace.

After our dust cloud explosion.

There was moisture in the air as we got lower, which turned some of the dust to a light coating of mud.

The rest of the day was spent riding up the coast to Carmel, then back to Pfeiffer State Park. The dense marine layer limited visibility — and photos — and kept the temperatures in the low 60s.

It was difficult to get good photos of the coast, between the marine layer and the traffic.

This one pretty much sums it up: beautiful coastline, twisty road, extreme overcast, chilly temperatures. Overall a great day of riding.

I was reminded of the term commonly used by TV meteorologists on the news in Los Angeles: “June Gloom”. The marine layer doesn’t burn off until nearly noon, and some days later. Diana just kept saying, “This is not what you see when they show you California on TV and in the movies.”

Nope. That’s Hollywood. This is reality.

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