Day One of this hastily conceived ride from San Juan Bautista to Santa Barbara began with a 4-mile climb to the top of the Salinas-San Juan Grade. That was the only challenging part, bicyclically speaking. (I think I just made up a word.)
The rest of the morning was either downhill or flat, cruising through the Salad Bowl of America under a grey marine layer. Nice and cool. I saw lots of folks toiling in the fields. Many of them waved at me. Seemed pretty cool overall. Donald Trump needs to get his fat rump on a bike.
I got to Castroville about 11:30. For those of you unfortunate enough not to be in California, I should say that Castroville is the Artichoke Center of the World. They grow strawberries and cauliflower and all kinds of other stuff, but chokes are the drawing card.
In town, you can see this place:
As well as this thing:
On the way out of town you might want to avoid this thing (too Trumpy, don't you think?):
I ate lunch at Pezzini's Farm Stand. It's right on the bike route and besides tons of fresh produce, it has a mobile food truck imaginatively named "The Choke Coach." I know what you're thinking. Who would want to eat at a place called "The Choke Coach?"
Why, bicycle tourists, of course! I had a yummy tri-tip sandwich and a Mango Madness Snapple. When I am riding, just the thought of a Mango Madness Snapple makes me drool.
There was also a sort of 4-H style random agri-educational factoid board outside Pezzini's which kept me occupied for a minute or three.
After lunch I crashed. I don't mean that I took a nap or rested on the beach. I mean I fell off the Dream Machine into a heap of sand and gravel. I hate it when that happens. Fortunately, I have crashed enough times to have become pretty good at the landing part. The key is to remain calm and try to experience fully each second of the fall. You don't want to all of a sudden go splat. That really hurts. What you're looking for in a crash experience is a slow motion sequence. You want to fall frame by frame, like one of those movies where two young lovers are running toward each other through a field of flowers, to meet in a warm embrace. You want to fall gently into the loving arms of the Earth Mother. THEN you want to scream son of a b@$!# because road rash stings to high heaven.
Peace, Love, and Triple Antibiotic Ointment,