Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day Four, 090304 - Seaside, CA

Day Four: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 (updated 3/13/2009)
Distance for the Day: 38.6 miles: New Brighton to Seaside
Altitudes: Starting/Ending: 132’/117’, Highest: 296’, Accumulated: 1542’
Speeds: Avg: 8.3 mph, Max: 30.2 mph
Weather: 42° to start, clear and turned mild to almost even warm
Expenditures: $14.50

I have a wide latitude in my physical requirements, and can often get along fine with very little food, water, bathroom breaks, or sleep (not necessarily all at the same time.) So, despite the sleeping bag pool, I still managed to get enough rest to feel fine the next day. I woke up at around 5am, and was surprised to see bright stars shining through the eucalyptus trees towering high above me. This was the first time I’d seen stars since starting, three days earlier! I got up about a half-hour later, and began de-camping. During the process to break down my gear, I used my hand towel to sop up moisture off the ground tarp and bivvy sack to give myself a quickie sponge bath, right there in the pre-dawn dark of the parking lot. Cold it was, yes, but I just couldn’t face a fourth day without doing something, and a sponge bath + change of clothes made a world of difference in my personal comfort, as you may imagine. Or, maybe you’d rather not. After stowing all my wet gear away, I continued on down the road a ways, and at 8:19am found a mini-mart next to a laundromat. I bought an Odwalla protein drink ($4), and took it over to the laundry to throw my bivvy sack, rope, and sleeping bag into the dryer ($1.50). While waiting, I had a breakfast of Dian’s delicious mini-loaf of banana bread (thanks Dian!) and the protein drink. When my stuff was dry, I repacked my trike, and took off again. Stopped again at the local KOA campground for a bathroom break, and bought a bottle of Gatorade ($3). Took some cloud pictures on San Andreas Rd. (just after leaving the KOA). Got to Sunset State Beach park at 10:35am and took a picture of the entrance, but it looked like a long way in, so just continued on. Along the road heading back to Hwy 1, I came upon some kind of medium-sized peregrine falcon-like bird sitting on a telephone wire. I wasn’t more than 25’ from this beautiful bird, and we just eyeballed each other for a few moments, until I pedaled away. Cool.

Right around noon, I came into Moss Landing, home of northern California’s natural gas power plant. I pulled into the coastal hang gliding site, Marina State Beach, around 12:45pm; no one was flying as the wind was a bit too far out of the south, but they apparently still do fly there, as evidence of hang gliding operations were there to see (such as tie-downs in the sand). After leaving Marina, I made my way into Sand City, a few miles short of Monterey, and spent quite a bit of time at the library there, doing blog entries (free!), handling email, and looking for goggles online. It was close to 4pm by the time I left, so I stopped in at a grocery store to pick up some more Gatorade and brussell sprouts for dinner ($6). It was starting to get a bit on the late side of the day, so I left the library in search of some place I could hole-up for the night.

I went up into the hills above Seaside, also just north of Monterey and found the Seaside First Baptist Church with a large empty fenced-in lot next to it. Aha! I went to the church’s office, and asked Pastor Lennie Gonzales for permission to overnight in his lot. A very pleasant fellow, he agreed immediately, and was quite interested in my trip. I gave him my card, and he gave me some promotional literature about Christianity. He led me to the lot through the back gate, and left to take care of Youth Night activities, while I set up my camp. I cooked up some rice along with my brussell sprouts (burned some of the rice, Demitol), and ate the lot while reading the little handout booklets Pastor Lennie gave me. I don’t know – I’ve seen these things, before, and they always leave the logical, critically thinking side of me unsatisfied and suspicious. Unsatisified because the whole basis of Christianity comes from The Bible, which was written by the people of its time, yet taken as the “word of God.” Suspicious, because earlier religions have similar stories (such as immaculate conception, or returning from the dead), and didn’t the Christian religion incorporate pagen holidays (yuletide-to-Christmas, spring rites-to-Easter) to help convert or “blend in” with the pagens? I don’t need to believe there’s an all-powerful God who requires His creatures to thank him, or ask his guidance, or from whom you can ask for favors, or who will send me to Hell if I don’t believe in him. I’ve come to believe that religion serves two purposes: to try to keep the morally and ethically weak “in line,” and to help people blend in with a society that is predominantly religious. It also provides a structure to support certain social needs, such as charity, projects for the common good, and a common ground for people to come together. These are good and needed things, to be sure, but other non-religious groups also provide similar functions without needing “the God thing,” and I can deal with them from the bottom, up. The Big Guy In The Sky just seems too conveniently like superstitious fairytale hokum, dreamed up to explain the (at the time) inexplicable, and to keep the masses in control. It unfortunately also sometimes helps disguise “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” such as pedophiles and presidents (e.g., “The Bushwacker”), and religion in general has been the excuse used by humans to kill more people and destroy entire cultures than any other cause in history. As you may have guessed, I was not converted, but to those who find comfort and meaning in religion - I'm happy for you.

The early evening night was beautiful, with a luminous half moon shining in a sky that was so dark blue, it was almost black. The Winter constellations sparkled brightly in the southwest. I tucked in soon after it got completely dark, around 8:30pm, and fell asleep.


BillT said...


I hope that the weather improves the further south you go! Stay dry and well fed!


CVBruce said...

Too bad. Had I known that you were at New Brighton Beach, I could have provided you shelter. We have friends that have a cabin a couple of blocks from the parking lot you "slept" in. I couldn't have gotten you into the cabin, but they have a nice carport that would have kept you dry.

It's great reading about your adventures, but I think you need to add some detail about you plan for the next day or two.

Also have you considered Twitter? Twitter uses SMS text messages to micro blog about where you are and what you are doing. If you followers reply to your post, you get an SMS message back.

You could SMS, I'm in XXX looking for a spot to sleep. One of your followers could respond with Try YYY. It's an idea. I didn't say it was a good idea

Beaky said...

Hi Don,
I knew it! But I'm sure it is a *good* stink! Can you imagine what the world must have smelled like before people caught on to the fact that hygiene didn't make them sick? Food for thought. Dave requests more observations about the scenery and things you may have noticed along the way. Here's to dry weather! May you have some soon! - RD&A

Julie said...

Yo Don - do you have room to pack a small tarp or even one of those really small compact umbrellas? You could at least cover yourself so the rain isn't hitting on you directly...I thought CA was in a drought! Just your luck...hope the sun comes out soon! Love you, Poolia

Julie said...

by the way, you might want to let Rich know where you are going, per CVBruce's good suggestion, he knows people down in San Diego and he actually knew some in Santa Cruz so if you network, you might find more friendly accomodations (and a SHOWER). The Acuna's have relatives down in Arizona and Texas too.... xoxo

Joe said...


You probably have too much advice at this point, but here's some more! You might consider splurging on a youth hostel every so often -- they're only $20-25 a night. And all those people who are avoiding you now will be a lot friendlier after you shower...

- Joe

rjrizor said...

Tr's Day 8 and we haven't heard anything from you in awhile; everything going okay?

(To jog your memory, we met on Highway 1 a week ago, Day 1, south of Half Moon Bay; my girlfriend and I are fellow trikers from Michigan and wishing you the best on your journey.)

Take care,

Paula Johnson and Ronald J. Rizor

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