Big Sur!


Wow, today was incredible.

This morning I bade farewell to my wonderful Pacific Grove Warmshowers host, just outside of Monterey. Shortly thereafter, a friend of a friend pulled up in his hybrid car to drive me down the coast to San Luis Obispo. (Unfortunately, since I’m not camping, the distance along Hwy 1 was too great for me to cycle it. But I really didn’t want to miss out on seeing Big Sur, so I was grateful to my friend—and Portland neighbor—for putting me in touch with her friend who lives in Carmel. And—small world alert!—this guy is also friends with two other people I know, all three from different realms of my life. So much magic on this journey, and in the world in general.)

So we loaded up my rig into his rig, and set off southbound. It didn’t take long before the scenery got breathtaking. I had been a passenger in a car once before along this stretch of Hwy 1, way back in my PIRG days in 1997, when we all drove from Portland to Santa Barbara for a training. I recalled how stunning the scenery had been on that trip, but to see it again today, decades later, was amazing all over again.

I’ll mostly let the photos speak for themselves.

We got out for a short hike early in the drive (which totaled nearly 150 miles) climbing up a short but steep peak. We continued to pull over at various lookouts later along the way, including a beach with elephant seals! They were mesmerizing to watch.

When we pulled into San Luis Obispo (known locally as SLO, pronounced like “slow”) we stopped for burgers at an all vegan fast-food place called Ziggy’s in the north part of town. Then Jeff dropped me off in the charming downtown, where I enjoyed a soy mocha at a table on the bustling sidewalk, then later spent some time in a neighborhood park, before pedaling over to meet my host for the next two nights, a friend of another friend. (I am so thankful for my wonderful friends network!)

We chatted for a while, and then headed out on foot to SLO’s weekly Thursday nighttime farmers market. I had never seen such a thing! It was just like a regular farmers market, with downtown streets blocked off from auto traffic to hold space for the vendors—but it took place in the dark! It was dreamed up by visionary local planners some 35 years ago, to boost business for downtown merchants and bring the community out to mingle. From what I saw, it was a resounding success on both counts.

We found some vegan ice cream on offer at a market stall, and my host picked up some fresh vegetables. We came home and savored some of each.

I’m looking forward to exploring this cool town more in the daylight tomorrow!

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