The day started off breezy and foggy, a typical coastal morning, then proceeded to clear up in patches revealing spots on the mountains on our left and the cliffs and beaches on our right. We encountered a handful of good hills to climb up then coast down. I would stop off at vista viewpoints to soak up the view, catch my breath, and watch the tourists take pictures with their iPads.
Looking at the mileage, we were getting close to the campground and saw a horde of cars and people around a campground. It was a Jade Festival. The park had signs saying 'closed' and I kept biking through because the park name didn't match with the one we were looking for plus I wanted to get away from the festivities.
I knew that if I got into Gorda, I had gone too far and indeed I did. Perplexed not seeing the campground, I turned my bike around and cycled back and ran into Evan and he kept saying 'This can't be good. This can't be good.' He stopped at the festival and it was indeed our campground but was under a different name. It's a federal campground so it was closed. We proceeded to ride to Gorda to ask about a place to camp and fill up our water bottles, but the water in town is not potable so we had to buy a water bottle each for cooking that evening. The attendant at the only store in town suggested that we camp at Salmon Creek Campground which he said was a mile down the road.
We rode up several hills and stopped off at a couple areas that we thought might've been salmon creek but after going another 15 miles almost all climbing uphill in some form we saw a sign for it and pulled off where a trailhead and old ranger outpost stood. We decided to call it a day and camp on a patch of grass.
As we were making dinner a VW van drove up to make camp. They were an Aussie couple who were super rad! Sharing stories of Australia and about what they loved and found strange here in America. Then another van pulled up and it was an awesome Canadian couple! That evening we all stood around sharing stories from our travels, country laws, and how we really aren't that different. It was wonderful coming from different places and being able to relate on so many different levels.
The next morning we all huddled together drinking hot beverages as the morning fog sifted through the coastal mountains. As the aussie's were leaving, they gave us a small piece of paper with their contact info, opening up their home to us if so the future allows. I love the generosity and sincerity of that offer. I hope to reconnect with them some day; Australia is on my list.
We all parted ways; us heading south, the Canadians heading to big sur, and the aussie's going up to Carmel. There were a few climbs that day but quite enjoyable with the scenery changing from dramatic cliffs into more flat sand beaches where seals piled themselves on the shore to nap.
Hearst Castle was on our to do list so we took a tour of the 'Grand Rooms' which was quite impressive. Hearst Castle is an intertwining of several European and Spanish pieces of art and architecture. The outside of the house and pools were the most fantastical! My flowery words won't do it justice.
After our tour we still had to ride a little to the next town south, Cambria. It was a little chilly getting back on the bikes but after a handful of minutes we warmed up.
We were guests of the DiMaggio family in Cambria; Evan hiked part of the Pacific Crest Trail with Marcus. Upon finding their beautifully simple haybale home they made us feel right at home showing us to the shower to get cleaned up and rehydrating us with water and cranberry juice.
Marcus' dad has been riding the Trans American Trail (cross country) in sections since he's a teacher and this past summer he met a Portugese couple who are biking from Boston to Oregon then down the coast and eventually down to Patagonia. So a couple hours after we arrived, the Portugese couple got there.
There was a big feast of vegetarian chili, cornbread, salad, and ice cream. Stories about everyone's adventures were spilling out all evening. Marcus and Evan were reliving PCT stories and catching up on what other hikers are up to and the Portugese couple and Marcus were reliving their touring times on the East Coast. It was a wonderful time.
Evening approached and got late so we all retired to bed. The next morning we awoke to pancakes and orange juice. We were all having such a good time we didn't want to leave but we all have a schedule of some sorts to get back on so we slowly packed up our bikes.
Our ride from Cambria to San Luis Obispo was relatively flat but hot! It was a really warm day with the heat reflecting off the blacktop road. We were also cycling into a headwind that wasn't much fun. It was a short 30 miles where we rode through a couple of smaller beach towns.
Next thing I know we are in San Luis Obispo or SLO.