Guest blogger - Ron Hendrickson (Captain Ron)
My son David and I arrived in SLO for our B3 adventure with Devon and crew. Jeff and Devon met up with us at the bike shop, we loaded up and hit the road. To dinner that is. I hadn't ridden the tandem for quite a while with Devon and never with the trailer. What a load and it wasn't fully loaded yet. As we followed Jeff for dinner, I mentioned to Devon I was glad Jeff had a plan. From the stoker seat, he said to me, PLAN, are you kidding, this trip is day to day! "Great" I am a planned person, now on Devon time and schedule where he can dictate to me from the backseat! Dinner was good at a small Italian place and we headed back to the hotel for a soak in the hot tub and a good night sleep.
The morning came quickly and we got started on our longest voyage. Cool and foggy, we headed for Pismo Beach and breakfast. The tandem, skull and all was running well. It took a few miles for Devon and I to get our shifting down but soon we were in the groove. We rolled into Pismo and picked up breakfast at a small world famous breakfast spot at the pier. (they all say world famous around here in Cali) On our way out of town we stopped and picked up some fresh strawberries at a fruit stand. Best ever! As we pedaled out of Pismo, the farm countryside was incredible. We headed past rural California farmland like no other. The strawberry farms were huge. Guadalupe came up about 10 miles south of Pismo. We stopped for water and a break. David, who is not a biker, was looking for water and more water! He was doing great but 20 miles was about his longest ride ever. We had 35 to go but didn't tell him! Both of our butts were getting sore. I looked at the seat on the front of the tandem and it is a lady lux! Not shaped for men if you know what I mean! Past captains???? But if past captains made it work, so would Captain Ron! Lompoc was our goal for day one. At mile 45 we had two choices, HWY 1 which looked fairly flat or Harris Grade Road. My definition of grade is a large, steep winding hill. Jeff and Devon's definition was scenic country side. 2.5 miles at 5% grade and ground off asphalt is what it was. We made it, even with a truck full of kids blasting an air horn at us. David almost passed out but was glad to see the top and the reward of the downhill to Lompoc.
Lompoc brought the addition of Becca and Madrona to the crew. Devon was super stoked to see Madrona which he hadn't seen for a month. The girls staked out our camp spot prior to our arrival. We then loaded into the truck and took our first trip to Jalama Beach. The road into Jalama is killer! Steep up and down and never seemed to end. The truck ride was long and tomorrow we would be riding this beast. We made it to the Jalama Beach Diner at 5:35 for the famous burger and fries only to find out the grill closed at 5:30! We checked out the beach and surf conditions, enjoyed one of the many beautiful sunsets (we'll let them claim their sunsets as world famous!) and headed back. Dinner with the camp stove was perfect and the new bike riders were tired and went to bed early.
The next morning, we now had a support vehicle, so off to the grocery store for more food camp supplies and peanut butter cups we went. Breakfast at a greasy spoon and then the 20 mile ride into Jalama. Not a good combination. Fortunately we were fine and the ride was a success. After finally cresting the grade, we started the downhill to the beach. Devon kept telling me to let the bike go faster. I kept telling him it was steep and windy with gravel! Didn't seem to bother him, he just wanted to go faster. I did let the bike run when the curves spread out a bit and he was hooting in my ear. We rolled into Jalama and the ranger told us reservations were required at most sites. But one of the four beach front sites was opening in 30 minutes and we could have it. No way! Beach front at Jalama, must have been meant to be! Our site was spectacular. The surf sessions were soon under way with Devon, Jeff and David chomping at the bit. (I don't surf so I was designated spotter) The waves looked good and Devon was hoping for a right breaking wave into the cove past Tarantula's. He got it!
For the next 48 hours it was sleep, eat and surf! It was double overhead (all surfers lie but it was big!) Jeff and Devon said they were glassy smooth and steep. We got the chance to meet and surf with Scott from Channel Island Surfboards. Jalama burgers had been devoured and it was time to climb back out.
It was now Wednesday, Oct 23, David's 26 birthday and he was at the bottom of a huge hill with a bike! No problem, he left at noon to ride at his pace. The rest of us meandered out at 2pm for another 40 mile day. The climb out was hot but quicker than the climb in. Becca met us on Hwy 1 with coffee boosters! It worked. The surfers who were dragging from all that paddling and getting tossed needed the boost. We powered the next 25 miles in good time. A huge hill above Gaviota was a thrill. We put her in full lower gear and ripped the 2.5 mile 7% downhill grade. We were probably doing 40 to 45mph with all that weight just coasting. After a nice camp dinner in Refugio, a marshmallow and peanut butter cup cake for David's birthday and nice fire, to bed we went.
Carpinteria, the destination of leg 6 was in site. Since it was a short 25 mile day, we took the scenic route. Devon and I motored ahead of Jeff and David down Hwy 101 for Santa Barbara. We missed the sign that said bikes exit here! The California Hwy patrol noticed us and gave us an escort up the off-ramp. No problem, Captain Ron was nice to the officers, told them the navigator missed the sign and that was that. We met up the Jeff and David off the 101 who saw the sign. We had a great lunch in SB at La Super Rica and then rode the bike path to Carp!
What a great adventure to be a part of! Thanks so much to Devon and Becca for all the planning and letting David and I be a part of the crew! The skull rocks and I will be passing the captain's knife to Blake soon!