Day Six: Friday, March 6, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:22
Distance for the Day: 47.4 miles: Garrapata to Plaskett Creek
Accumulated Trip Distance: 247.5
Altitudes: Starting: ??, Highest: 996’, Accumulated: 4242’
Speeds: Avg: 7.4 mph, Max: 38.5 mph
Weather: 43° lightly breezy, mostly cloudy, becoming mostly clear with high winds in evening 20 gusting to 25 mph
Got up in the pre-dawn dark around 5:30am to avoid detection from residents who would now be leaving for work from the “hidden” community, and was ready to go by 6:30am. Reached the northern border of Los Padres Nat’l Forest at 8:44am, and passed over the cool looking Rock Creek Bridge (should have taken a picture), and then the more famous Bixby Bridge (this time, I did take one). Stopped at the River Inn around 9:30am for a bathroom break, and to pick up some snacking peanuts, Gatorade, scrub pad (for the burned rice on my pot), and a map of Big Sur ($10). At around 10:15am, I stopped for an hour at the Big Sur Ranger Station’s bathroom to wash some clothes and take a sponge bath; they were closed that day, due to government spending cuts, so I only had one visitor. We chatted a bit, and he told me about a “shower” from a hidden creek that some of the locals use – never did find it, but wouldn’t be able to use it, anyway, as I couldn’t leave my trike unattended. Further up the road, I met Johanna coming up from the opposite direction; pulled over to her side of the road to chat a bit; she was riding a bicycle with a trailer and heading for S.F. where she planned to hopefully sell her rig and then hitchhike home to Maine (though I don’t think that’s where she started from on this trip). Not a very eventful day, I just kept on truckin’ on down the beautiful Big Sur coastline going up long, semi-steep grades (really slow), and down (really fast). Sure wish those downhill grades lasted as long as the uphill ones, but that just ain’t how it works (Demitol!) Pulled into the Pacific Valley and Plaskett Creek (old stomping grounds from my earlier hang gliding years) in the late afternoon, and cooked up some Uncle Ben rice and broccoli in the Sand Dollar picnic area; it turned out good – very filling – but had a lot of trouble getting my stove to start in all the cold wind coming off the ocean. I met up with the people who owned the one car in the parking lot, one of whom was in a wet suit. He was a spearfishing scuba diver, and said he’d just come within 25’ of a great white shark! It wasn’t a real big one – only about 10’ long – but it sure got his attention. I should have asked if he had some speared fish with him, where the smell of blood could have sent the shark into extreme chomping mode. Stupid note (stupidity to made clear, later): I was willing to pay for camping at Plaskett Creek, but found a locked gate with a couple of hitchhikers waiting for a ride. Okay, well, even though the sign at Sand Dollar (just across the street from Plaskett) said “no overnight camping,” it didn’t look like I had much choice, so I set up behind the concrete block bathroom to hide from the wind, and hoped I wouldn't be kicked out in the middle of the night by a state trooper. The skies were clear, and I got to see constellations before going to bed at about 7:50pm.