Day 25 – Break the Chain!

/ Wednesday, 7 October 2009 / CaliforniaNorth AmericaUnited States

Daily Distance: 120km

Total Distance: 2405km

Several years ago, likely 1995,when the internet started becoming a household fixture (I’d been poking arond bits since the early 90’s), I started receiving several pieces of email from people, some important and actual usable, and then some that sort of looked like this.

CASE 1: Kelly Sedey had one wish, for her boyfriend of three years, David Marsden, to propose to her. Then one day when she was out to lunch David proposed! She accepted, but then had to leave because she had a meeting in 20 min. When she got to her office, she noticed on her computer she had e-mail. She checked it, the usual stuff from her friends, but then she saw one that she had never gotten before. was this letter. She *simply deleted it without even reading it all. BIG MISTAKE! Later that evening, she received a phone call from the police. It was about DAVID! He had been in an accident with an 18 wheeler. He didn’t survive.

CASE 2: Take Katie Robbenson. She received this letter and being the believer that she was, she sent it to a few of her friends but didn’t have enough e-mail addresses to send out the full 10 that you must. Three days later, Katie went to a masquerade ball. Later that night when she left to get to her car to go home, she was killed on the spot by a hit-and-run drunk driver.

CASE 3: Richard S. Willis sent this letter out within 45 minutes of reading it. Not even 4 hours later walking along the street to his new job interveiw with a really big company, when he ran into Cynthia Bell, his secret love for 5 years. Cynthia came up to him and told him of her passionate crush on him that she had had on him for 2 years. Three days later, he proposed to her and they got married. Cynthia and Richard are Still married with three children, happy as ever!

This is the letter:

You must send this on in 3 hours after reading the letter to 10 different people. If you do this, you will receive unbeleveably good luck in love. The person that you are most attracted to will soon return your feelings. If you do not, bad luck will rear it’s ugly head at you. THIS IS NOT A JOKE! You have read the warnings, seen the cases, and the consiquences. You MUST send this on or face dreadfuly bad luck.

*NOTE* The more people that you send this to, the better luck you will have.

Well, I never did reply to any of those emails, and I didn’t die the next day, any bad luck for a year that was given to me was manageable, and the world didn’t explode.

What did happen today however, is something that I never accounted for – I broke my chain.

I stirred around 8:30am, a normal waking hour for me even when I’m under a roof in the “real” world, and made the motions to deal with my camp, waving bye to a few who were ahead of me. Instead of going south, I went north back to the cafes and knowing there was free wifi. I swallowed back some hot coffee, and $12 of convenience/market style food – sometimes having to battle the cat who came and hopped up on the same table as me to make sure I was able to get it into my belly. 10Am rolled around and I still didn’t have that motor running in my head so I slammed an energy drink hoping for a kickstart, as the start of my day consisted of a hill, almost 900ft in elevation, a real killer to the statt of the day.

I made it up, almost wanting to stop after the first 10km and just call it a day, sweat poring (pun) out of me madly. The climate in this area of California is bizarre, One second I’ll be rolling my arm warmers up, and the next back down. I finally just took them off and told myself to work harder to make myself warm. I was doing a day and a half as the book would tell it, hoping to get 70 miles in for the day, which looking back, I did complete. The first 90km were indeed hell. No shoulder, steep hills and traffic whizzing by you, thankfully still the 2 laned Highway 1. Still, nerve racking and difficult, considering I still hadn’t got all my valves firing yet. I had a case of cookies strapped to the back of my panniers and kept reaching back munching throughout the day. Water was getting limited and I started metering.

Once I made it back Kirk’s Creek Campground the “supposed to be staying here” spot, started off with an epic climb around the mountainscapes, with steep jagged drop offs into the Pacific Ocean. I’d been cycling enough and was ready to do them, so I pushed forward.

Remember when I said if it’s not broke, don’t fix it? Maybe I should ammend that, or at least put a footnote – if it’s your derailleur that’s giving you problems – you should probably fix it.

While I was 400ft up the first hill (there was another right after completing this one that almost mirrored it) my chain started slipping from gear to gear, a normal thing that’s been occurring for more than 12 days now due to my lack of proper adjusting. I applied pressure, and felt it let go and immediately leaned back with quick reflexes, knowing that my kneecap could be in a world of pain otherwise. I made it out of it allright, but looked down to see no chain. I swore a bit, ok alot.

On the side of a mountain face, with no shoulder, and cars whizzing by, no one stopped. I turned my bike the other way, leaned it up against the barrier and put on some liberated rubber gloves from my hospital stay. Trying to figure out what happened I saw the chain piece was completely destroyed. Not a problem – I have a tool for that – the Crank Brothers multi 17 tool. If only I knew how to use it.


I figured it out, pushing out other pins, but unable to get the pins to go back in, simply wanting to shorten my chain, when Steve, the campmate I met the night before from Massecheusetts, hauling a guitar, and sketching his memories because his camera broke came along and introduced me to something called a Power Link. Within a matter of minutes I was back on the road and made my way up the hill. There was a small town at the top of one, yet they had the audacity to charge $2 for a piece of fruit, and the restaurant wanting $19 for a sandwich. Boo.

I decided to keep moving, with nothing but my pack of cookies, until I made it to to the top of the second hill to the Ragged Edge lookout. Here was a greasy spoon for $10 that filled me up nicely on food, allowed me to fill my water bottles (I had a minor meltdown thinking I lost one of my bottles, it was just hidden deeply in a pannier), however the best part, was that the bathroom soap container was broken, and they had left a gallon jug of GOJO in there!.

I cleaned my hands, pulling all the grease and grime from my nails before enjoying my lunch/dinner, and then got the idea to go back, fill my Gojo container back up, and wash a bunch of tools and components. People looked at me weird, but I simply told them this was the best soap I could find and I was going to use it to my advantage, as gifts like this are not common!.

After the cleanup, I came out to a strange site – Total Whiteout. Clouds moved in to the top of the mountain pass, increasing my complexity to get to my destination. I worried about incoming rain, but was assured by locals that this wasn’t the case.

I screamed down the hill leavcing the two nasties behind me for the day – with rolling bumps remaining for the rest of my ride. The cloud cover did funny things to the sun and the epic scenery that was starting to appear.

I’ll be honest. California’s been a little bit meh, maybe from the people and the other experiences, but the landscape hasn’t topped Oregon – Until today. The San Luis Obisbo county, with me being so close to the surf has blown me away, causing major stoppage issues and jaw dropping moments, forcing myself to open my mouth the whole way (face still hurts but I’ve decided no more painkillers, done with those monkeys thank you very much).

Rock formations jutting out of the oceans, some looking like actual Volcanoes getting pounded by the tidal surf and onto beaches covered in driftwood –

Wait a minute, look closer – that’s not driftwood. That’s thousands of Elephant Seals, huddled together, making their way from pod to pod to make noise with each other, having a rest stop! I made my way into a viewpoint, hopped the fence and spend a considerable amount of time watching these creatures, laughing as one continued to burrow under the sand, flinging sand in the air obviously to cover them up.

Darkness approached and I spotted the San Simeon City Limits, also spotting this bizarre entity to the East, a CASTLE! Later learning that this is the Hearst Castle, a family known for Gold digging, Newspapers, and Cattle Ranching, since donated to the State. Seriously considering backtracking to go check this Castle out in person and see what it is all about.

In San Simeon, My spirits were crushed, old buildings, with dates dating to the mid 1800s peppered the landscape, yet the market was closed, only running from 11-4. What am I going to eat!!!!

I pedalled forward, running into the hotel strip 3 miles south, grabbing some fruit, beer and moving south another mile apparently where the campground was. Just when it was getting dark I ran into Julia, and Steve, both worried about me, knowing I was in trouble and out of sorts today. My sitbones actually started making pain today, and my legs were creaking a bit. Definitely due to my rest stop it seems – tommorrow will be better as I’ll be more back and tuned up in the mode.

I setup in the dark, polished off my cookies, had a beer, and spent the evening talking with Julia about the benefits, and drawbacks of touring solo. She was to stop from Seattle to San Fran, but is making a run for the border on a whim, this time without her girlfriend and other partners and is enjoying her trip immensely without the management of other lifestyles, goals, and requirements of the touring 3 she had for the earlier 3 weeks of the trek.

The racoons are out again in full force, but I was able to find a spot to hang my food, alloing me the full comfort to streeeetch my feet. Which I’m doing right now – and that means no more typing. Good night.

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