Today was the day I remember reading about in the literature from America by Bicycle, conveniently ignoring the mileage from all the other days (60, 70, and 80 miles +). What a chump I am, I only paid attention to the 39 mile day! The weather today was perfect for riding, high 50's with little to no wind when we started and mid 80's by the end of the ride. We left Santa Maria a little later than usual because of the "short" mileage today. I think I'm beginning to sound like them...them being the other riders on this trip. If you think about it, 40 miles is 65 km and that's basically our house to Keele and King Sideroad and back...certainly not around the corner but out here on the road, distances are a matter of perspective.
Last night at RAP (the daily discussion of the next day's route and ride) we were warned that we might see tarantulas crossing the road today. Yeah, tarantulas. The monster-sized version of a spider. Needless to say, Mark didn't sleep last night worrying about this possible encounter.
So, we hit the road around 8:30. Mark kept his eyes more focused forward than he has for the other 1,200 miles we've ridden so far. We rode for about 17 miles through mostly farm country and more vineyards. Then I heard Mark yell "tarantula", and the next thing I know, he's down on the ground (safely, with another rider watching for traffic on this empty road) with his camera taking this picture.
| Mark Koltz on the ground - look at the size of that Tarantula...|
Imagine Mark's reaction upon hearing the following in a thick Minnesota accent. "They can jump you know." Needless to say, Mark and Mark didn't need any further prodding to jump on their bikes and high tail it out of there.
|Mark and I cycling away from the Tarantula!!!|
The rest of the day was spent cycling on mostly quiet country roads through more wine country. We stopped at Fess Parker's vineyard and tasted a Chardonnay. Mark took this picture of me at the top of a little climb overlooking another gorgeous vineyard, perhaps the prettiest vineyard we've seen yet.
Tomorrow we head for Oxnard but before we get there, we will pass through Santa Barbara. Maybe we'll see Oprah there...I hear she's got a great house in Santa Barbara and loves it when smelly cyclists in spandex just knock on her door. Check in tomorrow. Another 80+ miles and close to 4,000 feet of climbing (the last of the big climbs for this trip). To quote Billy Crystal from the movie City Slickers "...my ass hurts just watching it...".