Day six: and then the hills ended

Start: Kirk Creek campground
End: Morro Bay
Miles Biked: 66

Today was an elephant seal day! After knocking out 30 soaring, ridiculously hilly miles after breakfast, I finally stopped for lunch at a little spot I believe is called Piedras Blancas–a reserve for elephant seals.

If you’ve never heard what an elephant seal sounds like, do yourself a favor and click on this link: elephant seal males. It’s pretty fantastic.

Another great part about the elephant seals is that they had the decency to hang out in the sunshine. While I ate my lunch and listened to the seal-y gurgles, I took the nice-weather opportunity to spread my wet clothes, tent, and everything else all over the empty parking lot. I thought it was a great idea until a state trooper drove up and wanted to know if I was okay. I guess I looked homeless, or hopeless, or just flat-out weird. When I explained about the fog and my soggy possessions, though, he seemed to understand. Or maybe he just wanted to get out of there. Either way, it was nice of him to make sure I didn’t need help.

Today’s riding also took me by Hearst Castle. I didn’t go, since I didn’t want to spend either the money or the time to actually take a tour, but I did use their visitor center to restock my water. Water and food weren’t really a problem at all this trip, since there are so many campgrounds and little towns along the way, but Kirk Creek Campground, where I’d stayed the night before, had water that was contaminated and non-potable. Though I’d boiled a little of it for cooking, I wasn’t super psyched about drinking it. Heart Castle, then, was a watery lifesaver:)

Aside from those stops, I spent most of today biking. After lunch, the crazy, winding hills I’d been biking on for the last three days disappeared. I saw (and smelled) 5 roadkill skunks in the span of about 30 minutes–a skunkageddon. I made it to the campground where I was planning to stay by 1:30, so I kept biking to the next one down the road. Which explains why I went 66 miles instead of the 40 or something I’d been planning on. I decided, as it got cloudier and I could feel the drops condensing on my eyelashes, to stay in a super cheap Morro Bay Motel 6 for the night. That’s the other great thing about self-contained bike touring: if you’re really not feeling the rainy-night camping, just find a cheap motel! :)

[By the way, a few of you have asked me if there are more pictures from my trip. I’m taking all the pictures that are posted here from my picasa site (linked here or on the bottom of the menu of links on the right side of the page). If you want a shorter trip narrative, just head on over there and look at the picture captions.]

Epic climbs; prairie stretch–great biking!

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