Carp to Big Sur

August 6, 2015

Before we can get on with the next chapter, we have to get somewhere to undertake that “getting on.” We started with about 10 days in the Santa Barbara area, but concluded that prices are high, zoning is challenging, and finding jobs to sustain us while working on the dream would be tough. So, we did a little rethinking and decided to feel out the San Francisco Bay Area. After a week in Colorado, we returned to California ready to enact this plan. So on this morning we retrieved our bikes, checked out of our Carpinteria storage unit (A Storage Place–great friendly service and nice units), purchased some bagels at Jack’s and hit the road.

When we got to Santa Barbara, we noticed that the GPS had “decided” to route us through the Santa Ynez valley. We were both actually pretty excited. We spent our short honeymoon two years ago in that area, and have loved it for much longer. Also, since Rebbe was not with us, it was the perfect time to partake of a wine tasting. An article shared recently by a friend had highlighted Rideau Vineyards, so we made that our destination.

We approached the vineyard on roads we had biked on during our honeymoon, and it was fun to relive those memories. Arriving at the vineyard, we followed the signs to the tasting room. The atmosphere was relaxed. Two couples were just leaving and they indicated that we should take their seats. We asked if it would be OK to share a tasting (Maureen and I are wine incompatible–she drinks red and I can only drink white) and were assured that that was commonly done, especially since people are often driving.

While we were enjoying our wine, the owner, Iris, came in with her dogs (actually the dogs came in first). We had a short chat, during which we found out her dogs were Havanese and showed her a picture of our Havanese (Rebbe) and his sister, Koli. A flyer was being distributed advertising Iris’ upcoming birthday party. Another patron later told us that this is a very big community event. We noticed while we were there that many of the people who came in were members of the vineyard’s wine club. Members get discounted tours, free tastings, and monthly wine. Hmmmm.

At the end of the tasting, Maureen bought a bottle of the Bon Temps Red (there was quite a bit of New Orleans “theming”) while I fetched some leftovers from the car for a picnic on the grounds. We enjoyed our lunch, took some photos, then headed up the road.

The realtor we met with in Santa Barbara had mentioned a site that is being redeveloped as a community/foodie center, and wondered if it might fit well with our plans. We decided to drive by, since we were going through anyway. The project looks interesting–San Luis Obispo Public Market–but probably doesn’t really allow for the type of lodging we envision. SLO is still an option, though.

We continued up the coast, following the Pacific Coast bike route. At various times, we both remarked about how scary we would find cycling this route. That really got us thinking about whether focusing on being a “way station” along the coast was the right approach. Given that it’s not a route that either of us would fancy through-riding, could we still be promoters and ambassadors? Fortunately, this line of thinking has opened us up to other possible manifestations and locations.

Our day ended at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground, a little closer to dark than we would have preferred, but worth it for the experiences we had. There were cyclists coming in as we arrived, and we were happy for them that the hiker-biker spots were close to the campground entrance, since when asked how they were they replied “Hungry.” I had one last adventure for the day. The ground cloth for the tent had ended up in the back of our Thule cargo box. I could not reach it from the side door, as we were parked on an incline. So I climbed up on the back bumper and held onto the spoiler to get it out. So far, so good. But then I thought I should also get the tent out from that position. Bad decision. The weight of the tent and the slope of the parking space combined to pull me quickly to the ground. Luckily, I was able to break my fall with my hands, so the face plant into the gravel did not do damage. Even more fortunately, my head missed the wooden post nearby. Lesson learned–be careful how you stand when you remove heavy items from atop a van–especially when parked on a slope. Gravity can be cruel.

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