Monday, March 16, 2009

Day Ten, 090310 - Pt. Mugu, CA

Day Ten: Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:00
Accumulated Trip Distance: 502.35
Distance for the Day: 61 miles: Goleta to Pt.Mugu
Altitudes: Starting/Ending: ??, Highest: ??, Accumulated: ??
Speeds: Avg: 10.0 mph, Max: 51.2mph (something is wrong with this figure)
Weather: Clear, mild-to-cool, windy and cold in the evening
Expenditures: $12
Fully updated Google Maps (finally!)

Woke up at 5am, still not used to Daylight Squandering Time, so there wasn’t any hint of daylight yet. I discovered that if I cover my sleeping bag with the ground cover tarp, it gets wet from condensation, so I won’t be covering it again, unless it’s raining. I broke camp at about 6:15, left park, and continued east along the surface streets of Santa Barbara. I asked a local streetworker where I could find the nearest Starbucks, and he was able to give me detailed directions and distances – does everybody know where to find Starbucks? I rode up State St., found the ubiquitous coffee shop at 6:38, and got a hot choco and pastry ($8) before setting up my phone and battery rechargers and settling in with a newspaper. I had half an eye on my trike outside the window, and noted the occasional curious passerbys. By 8am, my batteries were charged enough to count, so I picked up to leave, and met Chuck from the Antioch University, a small, nearby university, where he worked in the IT office. We got to chatting about my trip, and in the conversation, I mentioned that I needed to find a library with internet access, at which he offered to let me use the university’s computers and even their showers. Wow, that was lucky!

Chuck was an interesting fellow: majored in environmental studies at college, he went into the military and trained as a sniper; did tours in all the middle east hotspots, and was now an Information Technologist for the Antioch University while studying law so he could help save the planet by designing, implementing, and managing green technology. I told him about the idea for an ultimate clean and infinite power source (space based solar power using a mag-lev launch platform to get payloads into space economically), and he seemed receptive to the idea. At the university, I was able to update my blog, and created the publicly available Google Maps track of my day-by-day route up to Day 6 (even though today is Day 10) (there was a definite learning curve – I kept accidentally deleting routes I’d spent time creating – not just a little frustrating). It got to be around 12:30, the day was running late, and I hadn’t made much mileage, so I thanked Chuck, gave him my card, and continued on to a goal I wasn’t sure I’d make (Oxnard).

By 2:23pm, I took a few minutes to visit a park with a name like, “The Bluffs of Carpinteria,” or something like that, and met and chatted a while with Bud and and his little dog, Duke. I only had 17 miles for the day so far, so was resigned to this being a low mileage day. I entered Ventura City limit at 3:44 pm, picked up a pre-packaged convenience store sandwich ($4), and took a picture of the yacht harbor just south of Oxnard, so I not only made Oxnard, I passed it! I then followed Pt. Hueneme Road until it hit Freeway 1 (which I couldn’t use), then took the road that paralleled the freeway and passed along the east side of the Air National Guard base. At a guard station, I was told there “is probably,” or “might be” some way to get Hwy 1 if I follow the road alongside the base. With a certain degree of trepidation over the possibility of having to backtrack/reroute, I took the road and found out that the end of it led to a freeway onramp, but that it had no “cyclists prohibited” sign on it, meaning, it had become rideable, again Saw sunset at 7:01, and a tiny bit of green as the sun set over the base, but was getting colder, windy, and dark, and I wasn’t sure where I might plant myself down for the night. But, with no other choice, I got on the highway, and pushed on.

With the wind out of the west, I had a nice tailwind, which made things much easier. I easily made Pt. Mugu, and there was an oceanside pay-for camping site. It was definitely getting dark by now, and I would have been willing to pay the $15 camping fee, but it was just a parking lot for RVs – no protection at all from the highway traffic noise or the wind. Across the street, there was a park, so I headed over there, instead, and found a nice spot near a picnic table that was surrounded by a parking lot. Protected well against the wind and the noise, I set up my gear, ate my sandwich and some M&Ms, and went to bed. I watched the full moon rise above one of the surrounding ridges that ringed in this protected spot, and hummed the theme song from Joe vs The Volcano. I’d just fallen asleep, when someone shined a flashlight at the air opening for my mouth and nose in my sleeping bag. The Park Ranger! This was not an overnight campsite, but, since I was all snug as a bug already, he was going to let me go, perhaps especially since I wasn’t really “camping,” per se (tent, fire, food all over, Coleman lantern, several people, etc.) I never even opened my air hole enough to look at the guy – just thanked him (for not kicking me out), and went back to sleep. I hate getting kicked out of a stealth camp. Truthfully, though, I couldn’t know this wasn’t a place you could or couldn’t camp in, because I couldn’t find the signs, much less read them.

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