8/9 Day 29 - We woke up a little late this morning, but we didn't have too much packing to do. We got everything together pretty quickly and headed out. We still were not sure where we were going to stop today when left. We could either go 30ish miles and be one day behind sched or go 70 miles to stay on sched. We had 4 big hills ahead of us that we were very nervous about, which made the decision difficult. We decided we would make our decision to stop or move on at the campground 30 miles away.
Immediately coming out of the campground we had to go up the first big hill. We stopped half way up at a tiny store for a snack (raspberry tea and a donut.) That gave us what we needed to get to the top. The campground we were at was quite a bit inland so going up was really hot. But when we came down the hill we were greeted with the familiar chill of the ocean air. It was great. Hill number 1 done!
We rode for a while until we came to the state park we were planning on staying in that only had two sites. We walked out to this waterfall that Ethan wanted to see. It was pretty lame but the view of the ocean was cool. We left there to try to get to the next state park as quickly as possible. We went over another big hill, but it wasn't bad.
We got to our decision making spot at about 1:30. We could either stay there or go another 35 miles. We decided to continue on. Stopping that early regardless of how hard the hills were coming up seemed like a waste of a day. We had 7 hours or so until the sun set and figured we could make it well before then...
We decided to skip lunch so we could make better time so right before the first of the last two hills we just ate a bunch of random stuff. Poptarts, granolas and a can of mandarin oranges we'd been saving. We also had to fix my toe clip which had come unscrewed somehow (we as in me. -Ethan.) We came to the first hill and we went slow, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as we thought. The second hill was immediately after the first and again, not that bad. We were so happy. We came down the second one and knew it would be smooth sailing from there.
It really was pretty flat after those hills, which was awesome. As we rode this creepy fog started to roll in. It wasn't really thick because you could still see fairly well, but it was still really strange. We got out of the fog and eventually we were riding really close to the ocean. It was probably the closest we had rode to sea level in a long time. We saw some pretty big sea lions chillin on this beach along the way. They were funny and bigger than any marine animals we had seen so far.
As we got closer to San Simeon we saw Hearst Castle from afar. I'm not sure of the story behind it, but we hear it's pretty cool. It's huge too because we were pretty far away when we saw it. As we got closer we came to a really busy parking lot on the roadside. As we got closer we realized there were a bunch of elephant seals sleeping on the beach. We had to stop. They were pretty cool because they're huge, but we didn't stay long because they were sleeping and it was boring. We didn't have too much farther to go to the state park and we stopped to get a pop and some chips to go with dinner.
We set up, made dinner and hung out with some guys that stayed at the same place as us the night before. They made a fire and it was really cold out so we stayed there for a while. We went to bed feeling accomplished and excited to still be on schedule!