Another short day. Another overcast sky. And how many consecutive days of some of the world’s most to-die-for coastline can a person really stand, anyway?

I did have to contend with a few inclines on the way south from Carpinteria, and even a brief, steep downhill alongside high-speed traffic on Highway 101. But most of the ride through Rincon, Punta Gorda, Sea Cliff and Solimar was easier on the legs, especially now that my Achilles tendon had forgiven me. My aunt used to say, “If you live long enough, everything goes away,” and my corollary is that if you ride long enough, it will too.

When you travel the central coast, it’s easy to be captivated by the beaches, waves and relaxing seascape of an ocean that goes on forever. But the cliffs and hills on the land-side of the highway are beautiful in their own right, especially when they’re unencumbered by human construction, like on this stretch. I continually took my eyes off the road and feasted them on the view to the left.

The coastline here also features long, enviable bike paths; expansive, enviable beach homes; and hulking, unenviable recreational vehicles, decked out with flagpoles, dog fences, satellite dishes and second cars in tow. For the holiday weekend, the owners had their RVs arranged in a long, dotted line along the shore, with many of the comforts of home in easy reach. Pretty different from the way I was traveling, but hey, they were getting their family out of the house and into the world, which is always wholesome.

The ocean didn’t smell good – nobody ever said that it had to, but it’s easier to like it when it does. It smelled rather like dead fish. That inspired me to keep moving.

It was gratifying to arrive in Ventura in a better mood than the one I’d had upon arriving in Carpinteria the day before. I stayed with relatives who live near the beach.

“I certainly tip my hat to your wardrobe coordinator,” my cousin observed. “That’s quite the ensemble you’re sporting.”

I explained that the ride was a triumph of determination over fashion. “History will record the accomplishment,” I crowed, “and conveniently forget the duds.”

We ate, listened to old rock music and shot the breeze about kids, parents, cycling, travel and the shared relief that comes from having kept our respective non-profit organizations alive and thriving in spite of all the can’ts that the pandemic threw our way.

Share This