We all packed up fairly early this morning and headed to Gorda for breakfast. It was a climb of about three miles. No problem. The sun was just beginning to peek over the bluff, and there was little traffic.
After charging cell phones and having a bite, I headed out to my bicycle. To my surprise, I noticed that my seat-post bag was missing. After mulling it over, I remembered that the cycle shop in Half Moon Bay removed before adjusting my dérailleurs. They have forgotten to put it back on, and I didn't catch it. I'll give them a call and see if they can send it south. Considering my jacket problem last summer, it's déjà vu all over again. Stay tuned...
We each set off at our own speed. I cycled to Ragged Point where I met Charlie. I purchased a large Coca Cola and a veggie sandwich. We started talking to a man named Steve who was riding a single-speed Schwinn bicycle. He had packed very lightly and was staying mostly in hotels - credit card touring. He had ridden the bike twice across the country and had also cycled the Pacific coast several times. You see all kinds of ways of moving out here.
I pressed on for many miles until I encountered Point Piedras Blancas. The beach was loaded with elephant seals. It was interesting to watch their relaxed behavior. Most were sprawled out on the sand sleeping. Their major movements included tossing sand on their backs (natural sunscreen?) and sneezing. They were very content to break with routine and take it easy. I guess the humans were doing the same.
I pedaled on to the Hearst Castle exit and climbed the hill to the interpretive center. A tour was leaving, so I bought a ticket and boarded the bus. We climbed the hill to the castle while listening to a prerecorded history of the place. The tour was well-worth taking. The lavish grounds and interior of the castle were a testament to William Randolph Hearst's wealth. After the tour, I wandered around the place, soaking it all in. I hopped a bus back down the hillside and watched a documentary on the castle. The realization that a single human could live so extravagantly made my heart a little heavy. How many people were exploited to fund one man's quest for contentment?
After my sightseeing was over, I headed south a few more miles to the campsite. The ranger let me know that the governor had decided to shut down the showers at the site. I realize that California is in a drought, but limiting fresh water access at public places seems fundamentally flawed. I found Charlie and Rocco at the designated hiker / biker spot. I set up my tent, dawned my swimsuit and took a makeshift shower using the nearby water spigot. This was fairly easy to do with a bar of soap and the aid of Charlie's empty twenty-two ounce Corona can. If nothing else, I provided entertainment for the car campers across the street.