Friday, August 7, 2009

A Healthy Diversion from the job search pt 2

a video of the big sur highway

I met Phil on the road in two different random places. I first ran into him as I was riding to the grocery store in Santa Cruz, and he inspired me to get on the road. I later passed him in San Simeon. He was a teacher traveling from Vancouver to Mexico, and had quite a story to tell, but the thing that stood out to me the most was this: I asked him what was the best part of his trip wondering which part of the coast was most stunning and he said, “All the wonderful people I’ve met.” And it clicked, that was the true reason I decided to go on this trip. He had dealt with loneliness, and a knee injury, but had overcome it and is probably in Mexico or on the border as I write.

David and Jacob

I also met David, and his son Jacob. They were a father son duo who, every year rode from SF to Pismo beach for a family get together. They were the most joyful people that I have met in a long time. David Told stories about traveling and giggled like a school boy. He was honestly interested in everyone’s story who was traveling through. And his son Jacob (I hope the name is right) is a Paramedic who volunteers for Rock medicine through the Haight-Ashberry free clinic. He insisted on going on a bike beer run and having a fire, being that this was their last night on the road. We drank, ate, and enjoyed each other’s company in Morro Bay. I stopped the daily poems on this day, to make room for conversation.

Suzanne and Christopher- Canadian cyclists going for the border- both teachers-one unemployed

The next day was hot and long. I rode through San Luis Obisbo and into Santa Barbara County. There were some monster hills and the heat was demeaning after all of the coastal cool weather. I passed and re-passed a training group from Santa Barbara who had a support vehicle, and didn’t even change their own tires. I camped alone in Gaviota State beach after riding about 93 miles. I definitely was able to tell the difference between central and southern California. There were bigger roads, more cars, and drier climates, and less trees. I slept well that night and rode the remaining 30 miles to my friend Christopher’s house in Santa Barbara.

Christopher was my neighbor in Humboldt County. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. It was a momentous reunion. He is a wonderful man. He showed me around his peaceful sanctuary of an apartment, and we sat and discussed life and politics with his female friend. We ate an amazing watermelon, cherry tomatoes, and some of the most amazing popcorn that I have ever had. (Christopher dressed it up with his brand of natural ingredients)

Later that night we shared songs on the guitar and a great six-pack of beer from the north coast brewing company. He and I have very similar taste in music as he is an avid Bob Dylan, Ray Lamontagne, White Buffalo, and Eddie Vedder fan.

Late that night my beautiful girlfriend, Meghan drove in from Santa Cruz. I decided to spend the weekend in Santa Barbara with her instead of continuing down the coast. We stayed up late and talked more about the past, the present, the state of education, the economy, and materialism that afflicts our society.

The next day the three of us walked endlessly around downtown Santa Barbara. We had an amazing meal in one of the local cafes, and walked along the wharf, the beach, the thrift stores, and up and down state street. Meghan and I saw the so-cal-ness that we hadn’t seen since we lived in San Diego. There were men driving bright red sports cars up and down the strip, overly processed people with Botox, silicone, and everything in between. But we loved the sunshine, the good company, and the incredible Spanish colonial architecture that makes Santa Barbara beautiful.

That night and the next day I spent exclusively with Meghan. We spent the morning in Santa Barbara and then trekked over the hills to the ine country of Santa Ynez Valley. We stopped in some small towns and tasted wine at two different wineries. We even visited the Danish town of Solvang and had ice cream.

We’ve tried to separate ourselves from the high-brow wine culture that we sometimes look down upon, but damn, was this wine good! It makes two buck chuck taste like kool-aid.
At the end of the weekend, as we were driving home, I think both of us felt at peace. The sun was setting, we had escaped the pressures and stresses that come with layoffs and unemployment. Returning to Santa Cruz felt good, but with the return comes reality: Get a job! Do something! Figure out your life! And with that our journey continues…

Wave music ebbs and flows with meditative churns of the bike
Friendship and connection forms tribes of cycle nomads
In the perfect clime of a Santa Barbara sunset
Love, community, health, beauty all become one

1 comment:

  1. Darren, great blog post and what an awesome trip. We need to catch up soon!