I get up at my usual time, around 7. No sound from the boys’ tent, so I take a shower. They’re still dead, so I make my own breakfast, then take a walk. Around 9 I yell at them, get up now or kiss the free breakfast goodbye. Mark makes it out. I cook more oatmeal. He has to pick the raisins out due to an allergy, but is otherwise appreciative. We exchange addresses and part ways.
Morro Bay is a different place in the daylight, a pretty coastal town with a hulking rock formation just offshore. I have a latte at the coffeehouse with some of the same characters from last night. At a local used bookstore I pick up a pocket dictionary and Travels With Charlie.
Highway 1 is soon uninhabited again, wending its way through green pastures and a few forested hills. The tiny but wealthy town of Cambria is a trip with its antique town center surrounded by posh houses. I pass San Simeon and stop to investigate the William Randolph Hearst state monument. I’m curious and hungry but everything is so expensive that I just wander back out into the pouring rain after watching some videos of various tours of the mansion.
This is a strange place on a wet, misty day. Green meadows seem to stretch all the way into the ocean. I make out the word “VISION” carved into the grass of a meadow. Must be meant for me.
I meet another Englishman, this one on a bike trip from San Francisco to Miami. He’s a bit ruffled when I outline my trip, not sure what to make of a meeting with someone who’s covered all the ground he plans to and a lot more before that. Some riders like to trade tales, and some like to have their trip to themselves. I make him out as one of the latter, so I wish him luck and we ride into the mist in opposite directions. I wonder what his divide crossing will be like?
Soon the coastal range comes up to the edge of the ocean again and I’m twisting, climbing, and tumbling down in a growing rain. I’m extremely hungry, but there is no shelter anywhere, so I stop and eat the rest of my oatmeal in a downpour by the roadside. A miserable meal. I find a pack of gum that is a small comfort as I slush back into my seat.
It’s mountainous coastal road for the duration of the day, but the rain does let up a bit. I become too tired to hold out for a campground, so I stash myself in a grove of eucalyptus trees on the top of a bluff. It’s majestic and private. I start into Travels with Charlie, laughing like hell whenever Charlie (John Steinbeck’s dog), says “Fffft.”