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July 27, 2017

Return to SLO-town

Left Riverside: 12:00 noon
Arrived SLO Town: 6:00 p.m.
Miles driven today: 286.5

So, today, I'm sitting there in our little work-prison in Riverside, CA and I'm supposed to go to the airport. This is what consultants do. They're supposed to fly home like homing pigeons on Thursday and then return on Monday and somehow pretend as if this all makes sense. As if flying across the country twice a week somehow is perfectly logical.

But really, after a year, it gets very old. Jennifer isn't going to be there this weekend. And I really am having a hard time mustering up the will to fly home for no real reason.

I ask this girl I work with, "Are you going back to Chicago?"



"Because, I have to wash my clothes," she complains.

Like, honest to god. That's what we're doing. Flying home to a different time zone, Washing some clothes, and then returning like Lemmings.

But somehow, I figure I've got to break this cycle. I want to go on a little adventure, even if it's only for the weekend. I want to try to see what it's like NOT to fly to Denver every weekend.

I think about where I might go. Maybe to Rosarito or Ensenada, Mexico. Muleje. Loretto. Santa Rosalio. Bajia De Los Angeles.

But the problem with Baja is that it's just so freaking hot right now. It's the middle of summer. Maybe I could go north. Maybe to Pismo or SLO town. Carmel. Monterrey. Santa Cruz. Anywhere but here.

Now, I have to figure out how much it will cost me. Basically, I figure my airfare is about $400 a week, so if I stay out in CA for 4 nights at $100 a night, it's basically a wash. The only additional expenses I might have are keeping my Honda Africa Twin at the airport in Denver for 4 days (about $40). Plus, I might spend more eating out in CA, but I eat out every meal in CO, so it should be a wash, I figure.

I go online and start looking for hotels on the Cabrillo Highway (CA-1) near Pismo Beach. Now, booking hotels in advance is a major no-no when I'm on a motorcycle adventure. It goes against everything I stand for. But this is a little different. I'll have to work remote on Friday, so I need internet access, and I need a confirmed hotel for at least Thr/Friday night.

Go online to Hotels.com and find a little no-tell motel in SLO Town.

Plus, since it's Thursday night, they'll have the farmer's market going on. I stumbled onto this almost exactly one year ago today.

So, I cancel my flight back to Denver. Then, I cancel my round-trip from DEN to ONT and back for next week. Then, I buy a one way ticket for Thursday next week from ONT back to DEN. Confusing as fuck, but this is where we are.

Just before noon, I bolt out of the little hell-hole which we call home in Riverside.

I set the GPS to Pismo Beach, hop on the KTM and start rolling towards the coast.

Now, I was thinking that, by leaving at noon, I'd miss any serious traffic. I was wrong. The LA basin is a miserable place to live, and anyone that lives there is a fool, or worse. They have no mass-trasit system to speak of. It's just a maze of 7-lane freeways that are jammed around the clock.

So, I'm lanesplitting across the LA basis, and I'm sure I'll die on this project. I'm certain of that. Basically, I take the 60 west to 71 north to Pomona. I stop in and try to have lunch at Cal Poly Pomona, but they catch me, so I leave with an empty stomach. My plan is to stop for gas in Ventura, CA.

The truth is that I have a hard time remembering where I am when I wake up. That I'm not sure which motorcycle it is I'm about to get on. I forgot how the KTM gas gauge works. As it turns out, when it gets low on fuel, a low fuel light comes on, and a new trip meter starts up. When the light comes on, you have about 30 miles to go, tops.

Predictably, I pass through Ventura without getting gas. The low fuel light comes on. Somehow, I end up driving down the coast for a short distance. I stop and ask some woman at a camp ground where the next gas station is. It's 4 miles up the road at a town called Carpinteria.

So, I stop for gas in Carpinteria. So glad to not be stranded on CA Highway 1 again. That's a bad place to be.

I follow the US Highway 101 up through Santa Barbara until it leaves the coast. Then, I cut over onto CA 1, just because I'd rather be on the smaller 2 lane road than the 4 lane 101. So, I'm blowing past these jackass cars that are going too slow, and now I see a police car sitting there, and of course he pulls out immediately and pulls me over.

I pull over and shut down the bike. The good thing is that, at least I have valid plates and insurance. (This is sort of a rarity for me.)

"Do you live here in California?" he asks.

"I'm not really sure....I mean....I sort of live in Colorado, and work in California....I commute," I offer. It doesn't sound like it makes any sense. Even to me.

"You commute from Colorado to California?" he asks.

"Yeah. I'm usually in California on Monday - Thursday. And I'm in Colorado on Friday - Sunday."

So, I hand him my license and proof of insurance. He goes back to his car. I see him writing on top of his car furiously, so I figure I'm going to at least get one ticket ouf of the deal.

But when he comes back, he says the speed limit is 55 and he just gives me a written warning.

Now, I'm rolling through the hills of southern california. Really beautiful. And I come to the town of Lompoc. Now, I remember Lompoc because it has all of these stunning murals, so I roll around and shoot some of the murals of Lompoc. Some man once warned me of how bad Lompoc was. He warned me not to stop there...not to even go through the town. But I've never had an issue with the place.

Now, I'm at Vandenberg Air Force Base. And I do like retracing my steps like this. To revisit places I've been before. It's one of the best things about traveling, it seems.

As I get closer to Pismo, I come to a bunch of fields that are planted with various crops. Lots of Mexicans working in the fields. It's hard to ignore that these people are basically slaves to fields of strawberries. It's nothing to be proud of, I can assure you.

Now, I recognize the hills and the intersections, as I get closer to Pismo. I turn and go down to the beach.

I tell the guy at the booth, "there used to be photos here of front-end loaders lifting cars out of the surf. where did the photos go?" I ask the guy in the box.

"I don't know. How long ago was this?" he replies.

"I dunno....maybe 15 years ago?" I guess.

I pay my $5.00, and now I'm driving down Pismo Beach. Get some retired man to shoot some shots of me with the Canon camera.

Now, I'm rolling north to SLO Town. SOmehow, there's an insane amoutn of traffic, and as it turns out. Garth Brooks is playing in concert tonight, in Paso Robles, I think, and the traffic is backed up nearly to Pismo Beach. I've never seen traffic like this here, on this section of road, ever.

Now, I'm lane-splitting again, trying to get to SLO Town, and somehow I make it and I find my little no-tell motel. Get checked in. They have my reservation. He hands me a map that shows where the farmer's market is.

I walk up and down Higuera Street, from Osos to Nipomo multiple times. I ate BBQ from Mother's Tavern, and an ice cream shake from Doc Burnstein's ice cream lab.

Also, someone mentioned that there's another farmer's market tomorrow night down at Avila Beach (Near Pismo). Woohoo!

Posted by Rob Kiser on July 27, 2017 at 11:44 PM


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