Day 96 - Oxnard
The day started slow as I got up, packed and had coffee and breakfast on the beach, watching the tide and surfers roll in. It was beautiful, but there are days you can tell the body is just not going to cooperate. Today was going to be one of those days.
Out in the distance on the ocean, you could see the the winds were really whipping up the seas, and that as soon as I left the protected beach of Malibu I was going to run full on into them. Sure enough, as the morning progressed I became more exposed to the fierce winds and my progress slowed proportionately. At one point the winds were blowing up the sands so bad that you could barely see and the sting of the dust smacking into you was quite painful. I ran up on another north bound cyclist and we both took stock of the deteriorating conditions. He was pushing on, but I was formulating my rationale for making this a short day. All I needed was to find a Starbucks and it would be all over.
It did not take long, before I came up on one in Oxnard, a starbucks that I had frequented on many occasions when I travelled here for business. It was nice to find shelter and warm cup of coffee hit the spot. I checked the weather and their were wind advisorys for the coastal region I was cycling, which proved to be the final straw for me. As the afternoon wore on, the winds got worse and the temperature began to drop dramatically. Luckily there was a state park only 3 miles away, 3 miles that felt like an eternity as I slowly cranked the pedals.
The nice thing about these parks and their hiker biker spots is it increases the chances dramatically that you will have some biking company. Shortly after I rolled in I met Juan, a fellow from Spain that has been on the road for about 15 months, doing the Argentina to Alaska route, North bound. He describes the winds down in Chile as just brutal. Shortly after he rolled in, we had more company, Sarah and Wally, who were cycling from San Francisco to Tucson.
With the wind howling and the temperatures continuing to drop, we all huddled around the picnic table, cooking warm meals and sharing stories of our travels. I must admit that this is really something that I have been longing for on the road, some shared camaraderie. I know that as I move farther north I will continue to run into more cyclists, and hear some great stories.