I am not going to be keeping a day to day account of the whole trip as I want to try and keep things interesting and not just an account of me putting one foot in front of the other. So I will focus on things that I have particularly enjoyed.
After leaving Eric in Pismo Beach I headed south with no particular destination in mind. One thing that had been bothering me was that my phone wasn’t connecting to the internet and I wanted to get this resolved. I had spent a lot of time on the phone to tech support and it was finally decided that I should visit a shop to get this rectified. This meant I had to take a slight detour to Santa Maria, spend three hours in a shop and then stay in a hotel as it was too late, dark and dangerous to find somewhere to camp. When in the hotel I got speaking to some locals and told them my proposed route. They all disagreed and suggested a new more challenging but beautiful route. I am so glad they did. Instead of heading down Highway 1 and trying to find ways of missing the freeway then sent me inland. I left the hotel and headed south to East Clark Avenue and jogged inland and after a bit found myself on Foxen Canyon Road. This beautiful road follows a river south through the most beautiful valley that is also the home of the Santa Maria wine region. I can tell you it was hard to resist popping into each vineyard and having a few tasters – unfortunately acidic wine and running don’t mix!
After about 40km of beautiful countryside you end up in the quaint little town called Los Olivos. On first arrival I thought the chances of finding somewhere to sleep were going to be slight and on my first enquiries this was the case. I resorted to a chocolate milk and ice cream while I pondered my next move. While doing this I got speaking to some locals who were enjoying a couple of beers behind the grocery store. Before I knew it Jim was on his phone and seconds later I was all set on a bit of land right in the middle of town.
The next morning I woke up and made an early start as I has set myself the challenge of getting to Santa Barbara. Today’s route would entail about 50km and include running over the 2225ft San Marcos pass. With the music blazing and my spirits high I set about the task at hand. One thing that stuck me on this route was just how bad the drought in California has been. I was meant to pass a huge lake called Cachuma but the effects of no rain and I suspect a lot of pumping this was rather smaller than the map suggested and in some places it just didn’t exist. Water is going to be something I focus on more later in this expedition but this was a stark reminder that we need to be mindful of how we use our natural resources.
After the climb to the top of the pass came the decent. While many think running downhill must be easier I urge you to think again. I have no brakes on my stroller, a conscious decision. So on every downhill my body is extra hard to control everything and ensure that a fully loaded stroller isn’t racing out of control down the road.