Shell Beach > Solvang (77.25 miles)
6:30 wake up. A bigger day was in store, and I wanted to get a jump on it.
The roll out on this segment follows coastal surface streets in the narrow stretch between Highway 101 and the beach. I made my way through Shell Beach, Pismo Beach and Oceano. After a night of rain showers, it was sunny and warm.
At Oceano, the route turned inland and the scenery changed from retirement RV parks to strawberry and lettuce fields. Big time agriculture.
It must have been the sweet smell of strawberries that distracted me from the road debris. Third flat of the trip. It was a quick fix, and I was once again on my way.
The sky was interesting and ever changing with shifting cloud patterns. I had fun watching them as I moved through Santa Maria en route to Los Olivos.
Heading East from Santa Maria, Betteravia road turns into a dreamy thing called Foxen Canyon Road. This jewel is a lovely, meandering, smooth and quiet road that stretches on and on and gradually leaves behind big agriculture to embrace vineyards and wineries.
I had fun following the light and shadow patterns as they traveled across the fields and rolling hills.
"Traffic" consisted of about a dozen cyclists and several cars for 20 miles or so. It was nice to have the road to myself. I felt free to take pictures from my bike without a consistent whir of trucks, cars and motorcycles.
There were a couple of small but steep "bumps" that tested my legs just before Los Olivos. I was almost sorry they weren't a more robust test; I was feeling great. However, I was happy when the climbs gave way to a super descent. Top speed with a 75 pound bike — 45mph.
After a quick stop in the cute little wine town of Los Olivos and a chat with fellow cyclists, I moved on to Solvang, just a pocket full of miles down the road.
Solvang is interesting. With its faux Dutchiness, it's borderline Disneylandish. The windmills may not really turn, but the community is cozy.