A Productive Lull :: Pismo Beach to Lompoc

On our way out of Oceano, we stopped at an old train car converted to diner to check email and to firm up plans with warmshowers.org hosts, then headed down old Cabrillo Highway (a.k.a. Hwy1) toward Santa Maria.

About half way in to our route I heard the distinct *ping* of a spoke breaking.  I cringed, dismounted, and walked my bicycle to the nearest driveway, which happened to lead into the parking lot of the local fire station and by the time I had found a shady, off the road, place to work, and had removed all the gear from my bike, Kai had figured out there was something amiss and had cycled back to find me.  Once the spoke was replaced we made use of the restroom in the fire station and chatted with the two fire-fighters on duty, tri-athletes themselves, and all-around spectacularly nice guys.

Three broken spokes in a week?  Something was up and I was down to only 1 spare rear spoke.  We decided to head straight to a bicycle shop in Santa Maria to have the wheel rebuilt or, at the very least, to get more replacement spokes.

Rock n Roll restaurant outside Pismo Beach

Rock n Roll restaurant outside Pismo Beach

Map review in the Rock n’ Roll Diner

We always stop for Fruit stands

We always stop for produce stands!

Stopping outside of Santa Maria to replace spokes

Repairing the broken spoke in front of the fire station

We were able to scratch off a few of our to-do list items in Santa Maria.  Spare spokes from Central Coast Cyclery, check!  Consumption of ice cream/fruit smoothies, check!  Haircut for Kai, check!  Cycling glasses for Sheila, check!

$4.99 & the World's Best Haircuts?!

$4.99 AND the World’s Best Haircut? Sign me up!

The Barber Shop inside the Bowling Alley

Oddity: Barber Shop inside a bowling alley!

$4.99 options = shaved head or a shaved head?

Guarantee - seen outside of $4.99 haircuts place

At least they’re honest!


My new cycling glasses, curtesy of the hardware store.  $3.99

Best cycling glasses ever : $4 safety glasses from the local hardware store.

After a productive day, we headed to our warmshowers.org host’s home, where Bill and his family welcomed us, despite the fact that it was a busy holiday week with a house full of family (and pets!).  We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere at Bill and Kandy’s home, making dinner at our leisure, talking with Bill about cycling and construction/building, and taking turns giving Olive (one of their three dogs) the attention she regularly demanded.  With the house full of family we took over the floor in their living room, right under their Christmas tree!

Olive, Bill's Family's dog

Olive resting from all the attention.

Kai & Bill, warmshowers host in Santa Maria

Kai & Bill

Sleeping under the Christmas Tree

THANK YOU BILL & family!!

The next day was beautiful, sunny with a comfortable temperature, and the roads were fairly empty of traffic.  Our next stop on the route was Lompoc, and we took the climb up and over Red Rock Mountain slowly as we weren’t in any rush.  Besides, we were also on a mission to find Mr. Turtle, a dear friend of fellow round-the-world cycle tourers Mike and Karen, whom they had lost somewhere near the top of Harris Grade Road, on their way south only a few weeks earlier.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find Mr. Turtle, but we did enjoy some great views and a nice downhill ride into town.

World's Most Successful After-School Program, For REALS?

We saw this sign on our way out of Santa Maria and did a double-take. ”World’s Most Successful After-School Program” . Oh COME ON, so many things wrong with this!

Harris Grade Pass

Blackberry fields on Harris Grade Road, just before beginning our way up the pass.

Harris Grade Pass

View from half way up, looking back toward San Luis Obispo

Harris Grade Pass

The top of the pass

We had expected to stay at the local campsite in Lompoc but at the end of the day opted for the local Days Inn, which offered a special holiday room price.  Utilizing the wi-fi included with the room, that night we reviewed our upcoming route and our options for accommodations in Santa Barbara, only a few days away.  Our plan was to stop there for a few weeks to take care of year-end business, to have my rear wheel rebuilt, to check off a long list of items that we didn’t take care before rushing out of Burlington (and never seem to find the time for while on the road), and to allow for some decent off-the-bike time before making our way through Mexico, but when we saw the price difference between Santa Barbara’s and our own Lompoc accommodations we decided it made sense for us to just stay put and take care of everything there.  While not as scenic as Santa Barbara, the cost was about half of what we would have spent further down the road, and we reasoned, we weren’t distracted by beaches or tourist attractions in Lompoc, plus we do have the hot tub, free breakfast, and even free nachos, popcorn, beer & wine in the evenings (of which only I take advantage of, Kai finding the processed cheese disgusting)!

We’re feeling so much better now that we’ve taken the time to get everything in order and it was actually nice to have a “holiday break”.  As for me, I’m already having anxiety attacks over no longer having access to what I call my “Hunka Chunka”, found at the grocery store across the street:


14.01 oz of mouth-watering chocolate, also referred to as a “Hunka Chunka”. Must I leave you behind?! (I think it is best for my own behind if I do!)


Route Details & GPS Tracks

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