Day 34: Lompoc – Ventura
Distance: 84.79 miles.
Average Speed: 11.1 mph.
After almost 5 weeks on the road, it had been looking seriously like I might not make it to San Diego, and that I might have to finish in Los Angeles instead. It was cards on the table time. After the inland struggles, yesterday was an improvement, but could I build on it?
I set off at 9 to give myself a good chance, knowing that there was a long hill to start the day and then it would be relatively flat, hopefully with a tailwind.
The initial hill was not too bad, 16 miles but very gradual, until the last two miles at least, just when the sun was at its most intense. A long steep descent followed and that was 20 miles done, in 2 hours of cycling.
I turned onto the 101 and headed for the coast, reaching it at Gaviota State Park. Once I turned South again, the tailwind was strong and the miles passed quickly, reaching 30 miles at 12 o’clock and 40 miles at 10 to 1.
Just passed the 40 mile mark, the route left the freeway and headed through Goleta on its way to the Santa Barbara oceanfront. The going was slower, and I savoured rolling through idyllic Santa Barbara with its Palm-lined boulevards set against a spectacular mountainous backdrop.
I stopped at a beachfront cafe for lunch, then pushed south through Summerland, I was already at 60 miles for the day, and it was 5 o’clock, so I was busy trying to work out which campsite to aim for.
Arriving in Ventura, at 7 o’clock, I was planning to continue for 5 miles to McGrath State Park. I googled it, to ensure it was open at this time of year, only to find it hadn’t been operating as a campground since 2014 because of storm damage. So, as it was 21 miles to the next campground ahead, I would have to endure a half mile retreat to the Emma Wood State Beach campsite.
Quickly, doing some sums as I had dinner, in Ventura Burger King, I planned the route ahead. For tomorrow night, I have booked a hostel in Santa Monica, 60 miles from here. If I can then push through Los Angeles to Doheny State Park on Tuesday, then by Wednesday evening I could be within touching distance of San Diego, allowing me Thursday to reach the Mexican border and find a bike box, before my flight on Friday.
You know, it might just work.