posted on Friday, April 09, 2004

San Luis Obispo

The route suggested by the Saras from San Simeon to San Luis Obispo was such a great ride, much better than my planned main route to reach the town. It follows the 'Adventure Cycling' route, going through Morro Bay National Park. I stopped by a little bay and had a salad and chicken and made phone calls to bike shops in SLO to organize for a bike box for my coach transfer to Fresno.
Art's Cyclery will keep one for me! I left the restaurant and took Turri Road a very nice ride indeed, winding his way in a valley of lush green pastures. I only met one cyclist and 3 cars for about 20 km. The road ends on Hwy 101 a major road that in a straight line I had only seen in american movies takes to Foothill Road where a left turn brings downhill into San Luis Obispo. Like Carmel it feels like a really nice place one of the nicest towns I visited so far. At the outskirts I asked for direction and ended up having half an hour conversation with a nice man admiring my way of travelling. At the end his 'good luck buddy' was a nice encouragement although I did not need any by now so much was the excitement for what I had seen in the last 4 days and the expectations for what was to come next, Yosemite and the visit of San Francisco. The temperature was hot I guess 25-30 degrees.
The town has one of the 21 christian Missions in California and its architecture and clean streets bordered with lots of trees makes it a beautiful place, certainly worth a visit. I checked into Hostel Obispo the local Youth Hostel where everyone was really friendly and the sound of Jazz music was being played in the background. I went to Art's to get my bike box and rode with the box under my arm to the nearby Greyhound station storing it there for tomorrow when I would pack my bike. I went to a photography shop to burn my pictures on CD as I am not sure if I will have enough space on my flash card. Again I ended up having a nice conversation with the very friendly owner who showed me pictures of the Yosemite trip she took the year before! Back at the hostel I had a refreshing shower, relieved that the transfer to Fresno was likely to work! The hostel atmosphere was family like with extremely friendly staff and guests. I put my 4 days ride sweaty clothes in the washing machine, opened the humid tent and sleeping bag on the grass to dry in the sun. Tomorrow I will be a brand new cyclist!
Following suggestion at the hostel I went to eat at an american bar in the central Higuera Street called Firestone. The Los Angeles Lakers were playing on a large cinema-like screen and the place was buzzing with young locals watching sports, eating or simply having a good time with friends. I ordered the 'Pig Sandwich' a Ceasar salad and french fries, hardly a good dinner for cycling...
When my order number was called I looked in amazement at the tray and wished that there were three of us! Huge portions and unlimited Coke fountains would be an hazard to my health if I was living here. I also got to find out the origin of the name 'Pig Sandwich'. By the time I finished it, I felt like one! Cost of that feast of fatty but tasty food? 10 dollars, not bad considering the quantity.
Back at the hostel I packed all my bags before bed, ready for an early start tomorrow. The coach to Fresno will leave at 07.50 and I will need a bit of extra time to box the bike.