DAY 37: TRAIN TO SAN LUIS OBISPO
We woke up in our quiet little motel room and spent the morning sitting in chairs and on the ground sucking up all of Starbuck's wifi until our train departure at 11am. It kept getting delayed little by little so we stayed at Starbucks longer and longer. Finally, we packed up all of our things and headed to lunch by the train station and each bought a Steinbeck book because Salinas is where he grew up!
Every time we talk to people who have biked the coast they tell us that the Big Sur area is "by far the BEST and most BEAUTIFUL part of the ENTIRE COAST" so we are all super bummed that we had to take a train around the landslides but want to come back and maybe have a Pedal the Pacific reunion trip to the area to see what we missed. I will admit that we all collectively agreed that this trip will be done not on our bikes.
Many rounds of Hearts later, we landed in San Luis Obispo and rode over to Sara's Mom's Cousin's Made-of-Honor's Sister's house for the night. Yep, you read that right and will probably go back and read it again more slowly this time to try to get it straight in your head. We rolled into Jeff, Ingrid and Tori's home and they let us shower, do laundry and had cooked an amazing Mexican meal with enchilada casserole and tacquitos that were incredible! We sat around the fire outside, told stories and fed some nearby horses some freshly picked apples.
We rode through a lot of horse farms in Oregon and Washington, but haven't seen many since we made it into California. Passing by horses has been one of my favorite silent reminders of exactly why we are doing this ride. A portion of the money we have raised is going to be used to build stables at The Refuge Ranch that will be used for equine therapy. Before we took off for the trip we got the chance to meet Ellen Pace, the Masters level trained therapist who will be in charge of all equine therapy at The Refuge. We were able to learn all about the science behind why something like this works in the healing process for people who have been through any kind of trauma and why it's so beneficial to have these kinds of opportunities to heal outside of a therapist room. (To learn more about equine therapy at The Refuge, click here to watch this video our friend made for our trip)
DAY 38: SAN LUIS OBISPO TO LOMPOC
We woke up and ate a delicious egg breakfast that Jeff made for us and then went on our way. We stopped in Guadalupe and had arguably one of the best Mexican food meals I've ever had to date and continued on. Something we look back on and laugh is the number of times that we have been stopped by old men who just looooove tell story after story without one pause of breath in between. These two old men who talked to today told us all about what the town of Guadalupe was like in the 1980's and all the different places they had gotten into gun fights on this street.
Once we got to our campground, I realized that my blue puffy jacket that I wear almost every day and night had fallen off my bike and I hadn't noticed. Boo
We set up our tents, played a few more rounds of Hearts and went to bed, only to be rudely awakened by some unwanted houseguests.
DAY 39: LOMPOC TO SANTA BARBARA
We woke up to find that we had set up on tents on an ant pile and hundreds of ants had crawled into our tents over night. A fun thing to wake up to! We shook off the ants, packed our bikes and set off early to get to Santa Barbara at a good hour. We were greeted by Savannah's first flat tire of the entire trip...and then another one. Two flat tires before mile 15. About 10 miles later Sara got a flat too, bringing our total flat tire count to 5. We ate freeze dried rice and chicken for lunch on the side of the road and headed on.
Today we were set up to stay with my dad's friend's friend's friend, Ann and Ed. We rode up beautiful Santa Barbara roads that were lined with HUGE palm trees and turned into the driveway of their beautiful home. Ann and Ed let us takeover their guest house, pool and hot tub! What a dream! We met with a local Noozhawk reporter who we got to laugh with while we told the story of The Refuge and Pedal the Pacific and everything that has happened on the ride from Seattle to Santa Barbara.
We enjoyed a much needed shower after a hot day of riding and, sadly, the newly purple hair dye washed out in just one wash. (And across the country in Houston, TX Jeanne Pfeffer sighs a sigh of relief)
Then, Ann and Ed invited their daughter's family over for dinner as well as Bill (my dad's friend's friend who set up the interview and set us up with Ann and Ed as well). They cooked salmon, steak, salad, asparagus, quinoa, cheesecake, blueberries. WE ARE IN HEAVEN! We got to have amazing conversations around the dinnner table about the realities of sex trafficking not only around the world and here in the United States, but the realities of its happenings right here in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara has been a big hub for trafficking here in California and Bill's newspaper is dedicated to bringing this injustice to light in the Santa Barbara community
Ann heard that I had lost my puffy jacket somewhere on the side of the road yesterday and got up from the dinner table and quickly returned with HER puffy jacket that she wanted to give to me. Ann and Ed, thank you for opening up your home and your dinner table to us. Thank you for being willing to have the often-difficult or uncomfortable conversations about sex trafficking, especially when you discover it's happening right here in your city. Thank you for the puffy jacket. Thank you for being a part of making Pedal the Pacific possible and forever a part of our story!
Day 40: Santa Barbara to Point Mugu State Park
We woke up and Bill picked us up in his truck and took us to breakfast at the Santa Barbara Country Club. He had emailed out to the regular Friday morning breakfasters and told them that three girls cycling the Pacific coast to fight against human trafficking would be joining him for breakfast if anyone was interested in hearing more. We got to the Club and sat at a big table full of men who wanted to hear absolutely everything about our trip, The Refuge, human trafficking and each of our stories and how they all came together to start this journey of Pedal the Pacific. Bill then drove us to a local bike shop to fix Sara's wheel where he paid for the service and bought each of us new tubes and CO2 cartridges. Bill, thank YOU for everything you have done for us - for being such a connector, giving us a roof over our head and giving us the opportunity to share our story in the Noozhawk paper and with the men at the Santa Barbara Club and being so engaged in the conversations about human trafficking. You are incredible.
Once again, we got on our bikes and pedaled south. Today our ride took us through an AMAZING separated bike trail down the coast and we saw tons of dolphins swimming along the shore!
We made it to Point Mugu and realized that tonight was going to be our last night of camping for the rest of the trip. We've got friends and family the rest of the way down to San Diego so we feel like we'll be living in luxury sleeping in beds and on couches and having showers and laundry every night.
A few hours after we had all been asleep, around 2AM I was woken up by Sara and Savannah saying "Grace!! Do you hear that? Whatever you do, don't get out of your tent."
"That noise. I think there's rattlesnakes surrounding our tents"
Long story short, Sara was convinced that a team of rattlesnakes were angry at us for setting up our tents over their snake hole and were waiting for us to come out and face them head on. To be fair, there truly were some rattling noises happening in the forest around us, but thankfully Savannah informed Sara that MY tent was the one covering their hole so she breathed a sigh of relief and went back to bed. HA. Thanks for the concern for your fellow teammate, Sara!
DAY 41: POINT MUGU TO SANTA MONICA
We woke up and packed up our camp for one last time and headed into Malibu for a yummy breakfast. Today's ride was no fun because it was a Saturday and the beach traffic was CRAZY and every second we feared one of the cars parked on the shoulder would open their doors right as we were passing and BAM. No bueno. But luckily, we survived. And met a LOT of cyclists who were out for their "weekly 80-mile morning ride with friends" (casual). They were all very friendly and would slow down to ask us where we were coming from and what it was for. So, we got to give them an out-of-breath schpeal on our ride and The Refuge as we were pedaling up a hill.
We pulled off on a side street to talk more to Steven, a cyclist who wanted to hear more about our journey and as we were talking to him and he was encouraging us calling us "his heroes" for living on our bikes for five weeks, another bike tourist pulled up and we said "hello! Where are you coming from?" He had been pedaling North all the way from the southern most tip of Argentina and had been on his bike for TWO YEARS! Jesse YOU are our HERO.
As we were entering Santa Monica and heading on the bike path that lead us through the beach we passed a group of two bike tourists who said "hey! Are you the three girls who are biking for human trafficking? We heard about you in Oregon!"
We have no idea who it was who told these guys about us but it was a really cool and humbling thing to hear. These guys, Pete and Greg had been doing our same route but had started 10 days after us and had finally caught up! They are both teachers riding to raise money to send underpriveldged kids on educational and adventure trips. We are both finishing in San Diego at the same time and are hopefully going to meet up with them and swap stories and celebrate being finished!
Sara went and met up with her friend from University of Arkansas while Savannah and I met up with Mary Claire, Callen and Abby from UT. It was really weird but at the same time comforting to see faces from home. We laid on the beach and ate Chick-Fil-A for dinner. Success.
Day 42: Rest in LA
Savannah and I woke up to a yummy cinnamon roll and egg breakfast made by Mary Claire herself and then went with her to her new LA church. Then, MC dropped me off at an urgent care because.... *drumroll please*.... yep, you guessed it. I have a fantastic case of poison oak that scales up my legs, booty, and back. No fun. And let me tell ya, poison oak on your butt is not ideal when your only form of transportation is a bicycle! Luckily we have a couple days of rest in LA before we have to get back in the saddle.
We each got to catch up with friends and family today in LA! I got to spend the day with two of my cousins, Savannah spent the day with her sister and brother-in-law to be and Sara spent the day with her UofA friends and uncle.
It's been weird spending the last week and a half in populated cities like San Francisco, Santa Barbara and LA, surrounded by people living their "normal lives" while we feel like we've been a little off the grid for the past month. It's weird knowing we only have a couple more days of biking left until we arrive into Santa Barbara and then we are done.
This trip we have spent so much time dreaming up and planning for and then starting and wondering if we were actually going to ever make it to the finish line...but now here we are in the final stretch. We are all so looking forward to shipping our bikes home and taking a break from life on the saddle for a little bit, but as we look back and reminisce on where we've come from, who we have met, the stories we have heard and the stories we will carry with us for the rest of our lives, it's hard come to terms with the fact that it's over while trying to personally debrief everything we have learned.
One thing we all agree on is that even though this trip is coming to an end and we are booking our flights home and looking forward to having more than 2 outfit options, our belief and commitment to see The Refuge built as soon as possible is stronger than ever.
We are still going strong reminding ourselves that we couldn't and wouldn't have made it this far without YOU GUYS, your encouragement, your commitment to this journey and this fight against child sex trafficking. We are as determined as ever to make it to our goal of $75,000, with only $21,297 more to go! We can do this! Let's get The Refuge built so that these young girls can heal from their past and find purpose in their future.
*from now through the end of August, if you purpose Go Rings and click Pedal the Pacific at checkout, a portion of your purchase will go towards our goal for The Refuge!