Carmel to San Simeon
I like to get up early and take a shower (if there is one available) and not be in the way for when everyone else gets up. Sometimes that causes a problem when there are noisy screen doors between you and the showers. I suggested propping it open last night for just that reason but no one thought that was a good idea (not sure why and pretty sure they regretted that decision when I woke them all up this morning with the squeaky door.) I think it will take a few days to adjust again to sleeping on an airmattress again so I hope I did not snore too loudly last night. You know what they say…if you do not hear anyone snoring, then you are probably the one who did it.
When I decided to come back for this last week, I was worried (just a little but not enough to keep me away) that I would be in the way because they already had two drivers scheduled to be here. Turns out it was a blessing that I came because Ed decided not to join us this week after scheduling his plane on the wrong day and the logistical nightmare for him to get caught up with us tonight. Ed, if you are reading this, I am sorry you are not here. But I also cannot tell a lie…..I am truly happy I am not a third wheel and that I will be more useful this week.
I helped Mona fix a gourmet breakfast… pancakes, eggs and sausage with fresh percolated coffee (I have missed Shane’s Smoke Jumper roasted coffee from Flagstaff – Starbucks just does not cut it sometimes) and then we were off and on the road. Carl wanted to go to church so Kyle took him and for the first few hours, Mona and I were on our own for support and we had NO cell service all day. It was like being back in Canada. Because of these factors, we stayed within a couple miles of the guys till Kyle made it back to the group around 11:15 am.
Wow, there are some huge scenic differences this leg of the ride compared to when I was here two weeks ago. We are driving along the Pacific Coast Highway now and it is spectacular. It is a very windy (and I mean it in both senses of the word: lots of wind and lots of turns) road that runs along the ocean for most of the time. It is sometimes high above the ocean and others fairly close to sea level. We had a whole mix of weather today too: cold and very windy, warm and windy, warm, cold, 57 but feels like 40, good thing I had layers with me in the car.
Another thing I have noticed is the difference in the riders. Shane, Shannon, POPs and Carl have been here for the entire journey and the difference in their level of conditioning is amazing. We went up some hills today that would have knocked them out two weeks ago. Today I stopped at the top of a brutal hill expecting that they would need a rest and they just waved and blew on by me.
|Mona & Carl Dancing for the Riders - they just blew right past|
There has also been a scheduling change (approved by POPsRide Corporate.) Instead of riding every single mile of the route, the ride ends each day at 4:30. Then everyone gets loaded into the vehicles and it is off to the overnight. What a smart decision. This time around it is NOT about someone doing every single mile. It is about the experience. It is about how Parkinsons can’t hold you back from doing the physical things you want to do. It is about people accomplishing something amazing together with the help of friends and the generosity of strangers.
So we stopped riding today at the top of a very long and windy hill. Loaded up the cars and drove on to our overnight destination of Mona’s sister’s house in Paso Robles. We made a few stops along the way to sightsee like the tourists we are. We drove past one beach and Keith said, “Look at all that driftwood” and I said, I think those are seals. Well good thing I was the lead car because I decided for all of us that we had to go check that out. The Entire Beach was covered with sleeping seals soaking up the sun.
|Seagull checking out the tandem|
I have actually been down the PCH before- we used to take driving trips when I was a kid and one time we took this drive. My favorite stop along that trip was the Hearst Castle in San Simeon which was where we officially ‘ended’ today’s route. Up on the hill we could see the castle and I know this has nothing to do with the ride but I have been dreaming about these pools regularly over the years so I just want to share them with you.
|The Indoor Pool|
The moment we turned off the coast highway the terrain changed to farms and rolling hills. We passed several wineries and even the Hidden Valley Ranch which made me crave salad. Mona’s sister made us her famous fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and I got to satisfy my salad and ranch craving.
We actually get to stay with Mona’s family two nights in a row because they are located diagonally inland from two of our stopping points so it is equal distance both nights. That is very convenient because we do not have to load up and unload the vehicles today. Plus we get to spend more time with Mona’s family and after careful consideration and approval from corporate we decided to modify Day #22's route a bit. Instead of driving the 35 miles back to the coast, riding for 70 and then driving the 35 miles back here, we are going on a wine country tour right around here. Man, our corporate office makes very wise, well thought out, and sensible decisions. Don’t you wish all upper management would do the same?
Kyle, Keith and I headed out to get gas and groceries and when we came back, Kyle and I figured out the route for our wine/olive farm tour tomorrow. Jerry, Kyle can never be the Grand Master of SAG support like you, but you trained him well Master Yoda and trying to fill your shoes, he is.
Well, I am pooped and gonna sleep like a baby tonight. (Why is that a good example of sleeping well by the way? Don’t babies wake up every couple of hours and cry until you feed them?)
See ya on down the road at the olive farm.