With fitful sleep, we woke early. The marine layer hung dank in the sky as we attached our panniers, downed some oatmeal, and headed east towards Santa Maria again. After getting hit on Harris Grade Road outside Lompoc last year (and owing to its lack of sufficient shoulder), we opted to avoid the same route and travel inland on roads with sturdy shoulders. The 101 would be it. However, as soon as we got going, I ripped over this little-shit metal piece and punctured my tire. I rode all last year with not a single tire issue. No matter – fix the flat and move.
We hit Santa Maria and took the highway. Riding alongside epic semis and speeding cars on an open freeway is the way to build nerves and breathe.
We rode past golden grass and green vineyards. We flew through a couple small towns and eventually merged Witt the 1, bring us back on the official ACA route. We also officially merged back on the ocean. 70 miles in, we got the most epic hiker biker campsite ever at El Capitan State Beach.