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!
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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