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Alaska 2006

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Journal for 24-Sep : Carpinteria (Santa Barbera)

Slept very poorly. Wrong temperature, too much traffic noise, too stressed out, too much television.

On the road before dawn, grabbed some snacks at 7/11 because diner I wanted to go to not yet open for breakfast.

Early start required, as I missed a turn and did 4 unnecessary ks in SLO.

Great early morning ride on the quiet main roads, then the back roads. Guadilope looks to me like it could have been in Mexico, lots of beautiful Spanish architecture, and not an English sign to be seen anywhere (except "re-elect sheriff 'lupe' Alvarez").

More great riding through flat farmland,growing all sorts of crops with American efficiency and tons of cheap Mexican labour.

LP reckoned the big up and over to Lompoc (pronounced Lompoke) gets steeper towards the top. Didn't seem like that to me, indicating I was riding particularly well.

Supermarket fruit-athon at Lompoc.

Got stopped on the second big climb of the day by someone in need of directions. It really hurts my legs when re-starting after stopping on a climb (indicating I need a rest day), but after some initial language confusion, I was able to whip out my AAA map and be someone from the other side of the world telling locals where they are and where to go.

Route took me back to the coast and the 101 highway/freeway. Stopped at the first rest area, sorted through my 7kgs of American change (everything in the USA is priced using prime numbers), went to the pay phone to discover it won't allow coin long distance calls :-( .

Super fast riding along the coast with a great tailwind. Flocks of Pelicans cruising beside me. Oil platforms dotting an otherwise perfect ocean.

Got kicked off the freeway 20ks before Santa Barberra, then did a tour de red-light/stop sign into Santa Barberra.

Front tyre went down over the last few Ks to SB. Tried to call home again, phone ate my coins, then told me I hadn't dialled the number fast enough. After some vicious threats and some percussive maintenance, phone returned some of my coins.

Nearly collected teenager zipping across the crosswalks on a skateboard.

Changed tube on grass in front of Santa Barbera pier. Beautiful setting, throbbing with day trippers. Blue sky, blue ocean, gentle rolling waves and a foreshore lined with grass, artists, rollerbladers and palm trees. Sunday afternoon.

Tourist info here just a booking office, no real help. Wanted to take a photo, but sun was setting and I needed to find a bed for the night.

Teenager tried to tackle me as I turned into the Santa Barberra Zoo. He sort of wanted to fight after I told him what a dickhead he was. Lucky for him I was getting desperate to find a phone or he'd have been permanently wearing my bike pump.

Found phone at zoo, book motel 6 20ks down the road. Queue for the phone ('your call is important to us'), so no calling home. Cycle tourist offers me back yard to camp in as soon as I got off the phone.

4ks from motel (as it turned out), front tyre fails - the tyre, not the tube. This has been coming, ridden over too much glass and debris in the narrow shoulders. Took me an hour to get the folding tyre out and (hopefully) properly installed. So much for an early night. I was rude (not very - I just had to get on with fixing my wheel before it got too dark) to a cyclist who stopped and offered to help even though he new nothing about bike mechanics.

Mexican pig-out for tea. And I found a pay phone and got to call home!

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