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A Wrench in the Machine

By | June 19, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Cambria to Oceano
54.5 miles

We rode fast today! There wasn’t much climbing, and we had a helpful wind for much of the day. We took several long breaks, though, so it was a long day as usual.

We had a terrific breakfast at Linn’s in Cambria. Polenta cakes! They also have olallieberry tea, syrup, jam, cakes, and so on.

In another 10 miles or so, we tried to pass this bakery, but couldn’t.


Strangely, though, we tried a sample of their famous cookies, and didn’t like them at all. Which was good, because they were obnoxiously expensive.

I’m getting better at taking pictures while I’m riding. Here we are approaching Morro Rock in Morro Bay.

We stopped overlooking Morro Bay and ate lunch and made phone calls.

We had dinner in San Luis Obispo. At the Bliss Cafe, Sadie had to show them how to use their juicer. I got a haircut, Sadie got new cycling gloves, and we ran into Brandon again! He asked if we had called the hostel to find out where he was. He may not have been kidding. Then we still had 13 more miles to go to Pismo Beach State Park.

On the North Beach Campground’s website, it says they have hiker/biker sites, which you don’t need reservations for. And if eight cyclists show up, you just share the space. But apparently they do not have them anymore. And it took two crotchety campground hosts and two rangers, who I’m certain are very competent in their rangerly duties, but looked like bumbling cartoon characters trying to figure out the new reservation system, about an hour to determine the campground was full and we could not stay there. Even though we rode 50 miles, they sent us away!

That is the first time in all of my bike traveling that I have been turned away from a campground! I have been given space at places that only take RV’s, and then only if you’re over 55 years old! Because who turns away people that just rode their bikes from 50 miles away? Perhaps Sadie can describe this situation better. I’m too busy being flabbergasted.

So I think a big part of the problem is the privatization of the reservation system. No one on site has any power to make decisions about it. In fact, those on site barely can tell how it works or interpret the information it gives them. It’s a computer system that isn’t particularly well implemented in the first place, and certainly can’t deal with anything out of the ordinary happening.

I think everyone involved wanted to let us stay. The rangers even looked in a blank book and said maybe they could let us stay at the Brown’s site, which was like code for secret administrative reserve. But then neither of them knew which sites those were supposed to be at this campground. And this was a huge campground, with lots of extra space. But for some mentioned but not described reasons, they could only put us in a marked spot, rather than finding us a small bit of open space. Which campgrounds have done for me, on more than one occasion.

The upside of this story, is that after an hour of no one knowing what to do, they realized that the county campground less than a mile down the road would have space. And it was cheaper and had free showers. We got there and got set up just as it got dark.

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