Today was the fourth time I have ridden through Guadalupe CA on my way down the coast. Every previous ride I arrived right at noon on a hot day, sweaty, thirsty, and woozy. This time was no different - call it deja wooz if you like - so I had to stop for some hot grub and cold drink.
Guadalupe CA (pop. 7,000) is about as close to an actual Mexican town as you can get without crossing the border. You can't buy Chiclets on the street, but everything else is quite reminiscent of a small town down south. One main drag, seven or eight crumbling Mexican food restaurants that have been there for decades, a gas station, a feed store, tired, dusty people staring out at life. Everything was exactly as I remembered it except for one new eatery in an old, used-to-be-a-taqueria building. It's name? Falafels.
Falafels? I had to check it out. The whole menu was burgers and fries and ice cream, fixed by a Greek guy and his Mom. I was starving so I ordered a double giant burger and crinkle cut fries and a refillable lemonade. I had to do something about the wooziness because there were still more than 20 miles and the steep-ass Harris Grade to go.
Well, all that Greeky grub didn't work. I was caught in the grips of a Guadalupe wooze vortex and I couldn't get out. A couple of old geezers gnawing on burgers at the next table asked me where I was heading. When I told them, they said, "Naw, you don't want to do that. Harris Grade's too steep for my F-One Fitty."
Hmmm, maybe they had a point. It was time for a reassessment. I whipped out the Smartyphone and consulted the Googlie goons. Sure enough, there was another way to work this day to my advantage. I climbed back into the saddle, finished riding through Guadalupe and hung a left on Hwy 166 toward Santa Maria.
Now Santa Maria is not my favorite place. It's kinda like somebody fed Hollister some human growth hormones, or maybe they deflated Bakersfield and shoved it closer to the coast. The people are nice enough, but they seem to have forgotten they live in California. Hello? Wake up, fellas, Wichita is like, WAY over there in the middle of the country. Are you LOST?
But one thing Santa Maria does have is a Motel 6 and that, my friends, is my go-to cure for sore knees and a woozy head. So an hour after escaping the mysterious Guadalupe time-space -culture warp, I landed in Faux-Wichita-Santa-Maria, where I nap and I munch and I think good thoughts about the Friday the 13th that coulda been worse. Truth is, except for one short but steep climb and the ridiculous for February hot temps, it was a pretty good day. I just have to accept that in my 64th year, on a hot winter day, 30 miles of recreational riding are quite enough. After all, this is not a j-o-b, you know. This is a vacation.
Oh by the way, the Oceano raccoons ain't what they used to be. Must be the video games and the medical marijuana and the rap music -they're content to hang out in the trees with their earbuds in - it's the end of an era.
Peace, Love, and Rejuvenation,