Paso Robles to Santa Monica, CA
The GWBR ( Great Western Bike Rally ) was going on from Thursday to Sunday . Lissa and I (Middle Picture below) arrived to the rally on Saturday afternoon after a five hour drive. Suzy, Lissa's sister, has done a huge favor and dropped the trike and trailer of for us. Few hours later Suzy left and then it hit us, we have to ride all the way back to LA on the only transportation we have, the trike. After checking in, we set up our tent in the Bicycle Town, and met up with Parky ( Jim Wetherell Third Picture he is a Parkinson survivor who keeps the disease in control by cycling ) who talked me and Lissa into doing the ride earlier this year at the Los Angeles Acura Ride.
Sunday morning we took a ride in the city and checked out the classic car show ( pictures ) . Later on we singed up for the Concourse D'Elegance ( pictures )a bike show, where we entered the "Szocializer" in the Tandem category. I got a lot of complements, but in the end it didn't make the first three places. I had a chance to meet a lot of people, and Lissa got to brag about the trike. Monday morning we got up early, picked up camp, and packed the trailer. I was really surprised how heavy it was by the time we packed everything in it. Later, when I got home, I weight it and it was close to 100 Lb. I had never used the trailer before since I just finished it a few days before living to Paso, so it was a first. We pulled out from the Fairgrounds, and headed towards Moro Bay. Before living Paso, we stopped at a local Café and had breakfast. At nine o'clock we finally hit the road.
Few hours into the ride a cyclist told us about a shortcut, that it saved us 15 miles from the original plan. It sounded really good, till we saw the 8% grade sign. I didn't know how will the trailer follow at high speeds, and I wasn't sure if it would fishtail. Down the hill we went, and I loved it. The trike was speeding down the hill so fast, that I did not even have to pedal! The trailer was pushing us so hard that I felt like I was in control of a locomotive. The trailer was trailing so well that I only felt the weight pushing. I had to stay on the brake more than I wanted to. However, the trike quickly accelerated, and in no time, we reached speeds up to 45 mph. Boy, the 8" Hayes were hot, holding back close to 200 lbs in equipment. We got to the bottom of the hill and waited on Parky. He had to stop a few times to let the rims cool off. Few hours later we got to Moro Bay, and after a pizza diner, we decided to camp in Pismo Beach since we saved some time with the shortcut. In the Hike and Bike campsite, Lissa and I pulled up the tent, but Parky tired from the long ride, decided not to put up his tent and take a chance on the morning fog, and slept under a tree.
Tuesday morning we headed toward Lompoc. We rode up and down the hills and we stopped in Guadalupe, at a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Leaving Guadalupe, mother nature was on our side with some tail wind and we pulled in to Lompoc at dusk. The $35 dollar sign at the Motel 6 looked too tempting, and we couldn't pass it up. It was nice to have a hot shower and a soft bed for a change. For dinner, we stopped by an Italian restaurant and ordered a deluxe spaghetti dinner. They say spaghetti is good food for cycling.....
Wednesday I didn't realized, but we were headed to a 17 mile at 2% climb. It took seven hours to pull the trailer up the hill in the hot afternoon at speeds as low as 2.5 mph. Before the trip, I was going to install a small assist engine on the trailer, but a friend talked me out of it. I finally abandoned the idea, and up that hill I hated my self for it. I was getting worried since we ran out of water, and hills were the only thing in front of us. Parky's flat came as a relief, and an excuse for a break. Crunching the pedals up that hill my knees were bothering me, and up that hill, I cooked up an idea to install a set of hand cranks to lessen the load on my knees. The reward of the day came when finally we reached the top of the hill and the 2 mile 7% down grade sign looked so beautiful. I let the trike roll down the hill, reaching speeds up to 50 mph! It is amazing when you add weight to gravity, you can get yourself some serious speed. It was fun keeping up with the PCH traffic. It took almost no time to roll down the hill and pull into the Rest Area at Gaviota. I filled up all the water bottles I could find in my trailer, and I promised my self " I'll Never Go Thirsty Again.!" Taking a long brake at the rest area, we decided to ride down to Refugio state beach for the night. The campground was so nice that we decided to spend an extra day for recovery.
Friday morning we got ready for the 70+ mile ride to Oxnard. At the GWBR Jim McMillan offered us to stay at his house for the night, whenever we get to Oxnard. He left us maps on a stop sign at one of the exits we had to take. What a nice guy, Thanks Jim! We rode thru Santa Barbara and some beautiful bike trails in Ventura. It ended up being one of the nicest day for riding. We ended our day with Jim McMillan escorting us to his home in Oxnard. He was a wonderful host.
Saturday Lissa and I slept in till 10 am. After breakfast we said good byes to Jim and Parky, and we were on our way to Santa Monica. First stop was at Point Magu for a break and some pictures. Then we rode thru Malibu and Zuma Beach, and five hours later we were at the Santa Monica Pier. Running short on time, we had to call my sister, Violet, to come pick us up in Venice Beach. Our original plans were to ride back all the way to San Dimas.
It was a nice trip and I would do it again, but with out the trailer. Thanks to Parky to talking me into doing this ride. Most of all, thanks to my girlfriend Lissa, for being such a sport and giving up her kick back vacation for a 250 mile ride.
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Frank F. Takacs, Takacs Cycles and www. gotTrikes.com
All rights reserved. Last updated November 30, 2007