Ville and I took a day off in Santa Barbara walking around and being tourists. Every now and then we need a day off the bike seats and a chance to enjoy the places and not just ride right through them. We stayed with my cousin Chelsea and her boyfriend Erik, thanks for showing us around and letting us stay guys!! Riding south we rode along the coast (had a long stretch with an amazing new bike lane just above the water) into Ventura, where we stopped to eat lunch and watch the surfers. Met Chris from Portland, OR/Ventura who works for Patagonia, thanks for the gear coupon Chris! From there we continued along Highway 1 making it to Leo Carillo Campround just before dark. As a camp spot with time to explore, we hear this camp spot is sweet, with access to some beautiful tide pools along the water. For touring cyclists who show up before dark and ride out in the morning, this campground was the worst on the trip so far! $10/each for the crappiest construction site placed right next to the RV dump site, with not even boxes for our food (since we have no way of locking food in our cars, we rely on boxes to store food away from critters when in busy campsites).
The next morning we had to fix a flat in Ville's tire, and rode south through Malibu with georgous ocean views to our right and towering desert hillsides to our left. For miles we saw some pretty unbelievable homes and cars pass by, but as odd as it sounds, at 5 months into the trip and footloose and fancy free, I rather be on the bike traveling. If anyone remembers the beginning of the movie American Beauty, Kevin Spacey's character quits his big office job and goes to get a job at a fast food joint stating he wants a job "with the least amount of responsibility." After working full time jobs and tackeling a full house remodel for a year, we wanted a 2 year bike ride with the least amount of responsibility.
After Pacific Palisades, we rode into Santa Monica, where it had recently rained so the crowds were minimal and my friend, Danielle, came to pick us up with our bikes and we headed to downtown LA to hang with Dani's sister Kristen and her husband Adam. We got to check out their fancy, cool new loft space they have been remodeling and headed to Grand Central Market for some pretty epic food stall eating!! If you want to enjoy LA, you need to know people in the know. Otherwise, your just sitting on freeways. Thanks kids for taking us out and showing us a good time! After, we went back to Dani's place up in the hills of Montrose to stay a night and get spoiled with butter coffee for breakfast. Ville is still going through withdrawl and talks about it in his sleep :) Thanks Dani for taking the time to come get us and drive us all the way back to Santa Monica in the morning. When we decide where in the world we are going to live next, you need to move right next door so I don't miss you so much!
From Santa Monica, we spent the day riding down the coastline of LA, through Manhattan and Redondo Beaches, where Google Bike Map routed us through Torrance, Carson, and south along the LA River to Long Beach. Somewhere in Torrance at a stop light, a car pulled up to us and asked us where we were headed. When we told him where, he asked if we needed anything and if he could buy us lunch. We pulled over to Marie Callenders and met Ricardo, a local math teacher who had cycled a tour down the US coast some years back and was SO excited to hear about our trip. Ricardo, you really saved the day! It was the first time we didn't have much for lunch and didn't have much for funds to get lunch and you didn't know it, but thanks for feeding us.
I'm pretty sure Google Bike Route didn't account for sketchy neighborhoods that cyclists probably shouldn't ride through cause we saw some characters with lots of neck tattoos on our route to Long Beach. Along the LA River we ran into a guy (looking back it just might have been a stolen bike) who had a flat tire and we stopped to help him fix it. He "God Bless"ed us and headed the other way as we pedaled south. From Long Beach we rode along the coast through Seal, Huntington, and Newport Beaches. In Newport we rode inland along the San Diego Creek bike path to my Aunt Lori and Uncle Steve's house in Tustin. My Uncle Steve is a big cyclist/cycling fan and the reason Ville got into bikes. He took us to The Path Bike Shop where our bikes are getting a complete overhaul and shiny new parts as we head south into Mexico with a lot less bike shops. Thank you so so much Aunt Lori & Uncle Steve, your unconditional support & love is overwhelming! We made a quick trip down (by rental car) to Encinitas to spend Thanksgiving with Jeanne and Max ( I use to be Max's nanny and tutor since he was 7 years old in Bend and he is now 19 and going to flight school in Arazona, but only home for Thanksgiving) Thanks for having us for the holidays and we loved getting to see you both! See you again on the bike down.
Taking the week off to get bikes fixed, we have tried to see as much of my family here in the area as possible. Thanks all of you for taking the time to see us while we are in town, we love you all tons: Lori, Steve, Terri, Tom, Sara, Scott, Cindy, Steve, Josh, Travis, Sean, Eileen, Chelsea, Shannon, Kurt, Dominic, Gavin, Jeff, G.K., Chip, Taylor, Kendyll, Mike, Trish, Duncan and Meredith. If we forgot anyone, you are still loved!
So my little bump in the road turned into big bumps, called hives, all over my body. I wrote our last blog post with promises to ride out the next day and woke up to really bad hives all over my (K.G.'s) legs. If you missed our last few posts, I ate some dates (we now think they had mold or a fungus that I reacted to, since I had been eating dates the entire journey) and not heeding my body's warning of tingling lips after the first morning, ate them 3 mornings in a row. The following day I blew up like a balloon complete with patches of hives all over my face and legs. After a stint in the ER in Fort Bragg, I got some 'roids and EpiPens to keep me on our way. Of course the 'roids ran out after 6 days, when we hit Santa Cruz, and then when the Prednisone (which made me feel like a rockstar when I was taking it) was out of my system and no longer masking the problem, hives just took over and I was unable to get out of bed. Not wanting to just get on more steroids, I opted to let the "bad dates" just work their way out of my system, but as each day got worse, I called my acupuncturist in Bend who sent me to one of the best doctors I have ever been to in Santa Cruz, Kim Kuhn. (www.kimberlykuhnlac.com) Kim, your a miracle worker!!
I was SO miserable and she squeezed me in, explained that it would take 4-6 weeks to get the toxin out of my system, but put in needles (acupuncture) and sent me home with herbs to take 3 times a day until things were improving. The needles finally relieved some of the burning fire all over my skin (which had by now spread all over my body), and by the following day things had started improving. I was also put on a special bland diet to help not add fuel to the "fire" and after a couple days felt well enough to get back on our bikes to head south. (Ville used their wetsuit and surfboard to surf all the days I was bedridden before you go feeling super sorry for him, and the waves were really good). Our good friend Hannah (we had been crashing at her place while she was away) came back and we spent our last day in town with Hannah and Amy (whom we met before our bike trip in Thailand) seeing the sights and getting to hang. Can't thank you all enough for letting us stay and helping us out while we were there Bill, Kizzy, Hannah and Amy!!!! And Hannah, your gonna kick some serious ass with your surgery, recovery and meet us (us, Amy, JLo, and ???) to celebrate becoming the biggest baddest banshees at the end of this journey in Tierra Del Fuego. See you there!!
Heading south we passed through Monterey and down the coast of Big Sur for the next 3 days, which we had been dreaming about since beginning this epic journey. And it did not disappoint! Weather was fantastic, views were surreal, and we got to enjoy the Super Moon lighting up our night sky and then setting over the crashing waves in the early mornings. The last night camping at Kirk Creek Campground we met Richard and Helena who shared their dinner with us and were so excited to hear about our trip. We are planning a visit in Pasadena on our way south. And day 4 we arrived in San Louis Obispo where my Aunt Annette and Uncle Scott live. On our spin around the downtown, the local LuLuLemon store gifted Ville and I with a free pair of snazzy shorts to support our ride! Thanks LuLuLemon! And thanks Annette and Scott for hosting and spoiling us on our way through. Scott, your a rockstar and we will be sending you good healing energy for a very speedy recovery!!
Since the camping spots have become more challenging as we head south, my Uncle called ahead and the following night we spent at the Los Alamos Fire Station with Justin, Mark, and Alex. We planned to camp in the yard, but the boys let us stay in the gym and even bought us a burrito dinner with leftover birthday cake for dessert. Thanks a ton guys!! With tailwinds at our back, we flew on to Santa Barbara and made 60 miles by noon. The sun has been shining on us the whole way and we crashed at my cousin, Chelsea's place last night and enjoyed a day off today resting and catching up. Next stop, Malibu and on to LA and OC. Who is en route and needs their dose of Ville and K.G.???
Ville and I had a plan to take off a day in Mendocino and then hit the road, but me, K.G, had a new attention getting scheme! I ate something weird (I think it was probably the dates we picked to spice up the oatmeal, but can't confirm as of yet), have never had an allergy of any kind, woke up to my face blown up like a balloon and a severe outbreak of swollen hives all over my body! Cool, right? Yep, not that cool. So I took Benadryl and thought I would ride it out and the next day they were even worse, so Jeremy was nice enough to drive us back to Fort Bragg so I could go to the emergency room and get a shot of Adrenalin (which did nothing because I am an adrenalin junkie and get high on that all day every day), steroids and an IV. Then, they prescribed me a generic EpiPen (which luckily my insurance covered because of the whole fiasco of what they cost now) because we will be in a lot of remote places and I prefer not to die somewhere because of food. My very sweet husband said I looked like a botched plastic surgery patient, so I am pretty much looking and feeling awesome these days.
So back on the road after 3 days off, heading south and the sun FINALLY came out!!! After 3 weeks of solid rain (we had rain from the time we left Portland to Mendocino), we finally were able to dry out and see some epic Highway 1 views of the coastline. And if you have yet to drive from Leggit south, I recommend adding it to the Bucket List. Lots of ups and downs for this dynamic duo on wheels, but at least my butt will look good if my face and everything else looks like a nightmare.
Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge was pretty surreal and having lived a few years in the city in my early 20's, a blast from the past of memories! A huge thank you to Arron and Emilia for taking us in on such short notice and even giving me all kinds of goodies to help me feel better (Emilia, all the drugs are helping and I couldn't keep going without them!). Thanks to Johanna and Aino for the goodies sent all the way from Finland, what a treat on our journey! Thanks Sue for lending us David and Thea for a night in Half Moon Bay, you both are awesome and what a great time getting to go to a house party full of kids and partying husbands!
When we left San Francisco, we had a short day to Half Moon Bay and David, Thea, Ginger and Phinneas welcomed us for an evening of bar-b-queing, boozing, and wild times! Thea left for ladies night and Ville and I got to party with all the dads and kids. What a stellar group of guys that welcomed us in, fattened us up, forced booze on us and laughed with us as friends. Rare when we are always on the move, it was much needed, thanks guys! Special thanks to the great host Sam. The next morning, David took us down to Mavericks to watch the 30-40ft waves going off and the surfers nuts enough to paddle out! Our ride south down to Santa Cruz was SO beautiful! Hugging the coastline, epic warm weather, easy road and huge surf. It was the moments we had dreamed about when planning this bike trip.
Sadly, our dear friend Hannah had to bail to NY when we were passing through, but she gave us her lovely parent's and they could not be nicer people! We had a tasty dinner last night with Kizzy, Bill and Brenda, Kizzy's mom and got to sleep in Hannah's bed. Ville says, "Sorry Hannah for wetting the bed!" Please come visit us in San Louis Obispo Hannah!! So off we go, weather is suppose to get sunnier and hotter as we continue south, and if any of you are in our path, please reach out for a visit. Until next time, keep on keepin' on...
K.G. & Ville
In Cuenca, Ecuador. Next stop, Loja.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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