PCH Tour: REI Tent Return & Santa Barbara Sunset

Carpintaria Sunset

Day 54 – It was a beautiful morning in Refugio State Beach. The sun was already shining and the skies were blue when I got out of my tent. I finally bit the bullet and decided it was time to rotate my tires. They had over 1800 miles on them and the rear tire was getting bald. I let the air out of both of them, pried them off the wheels and swapped them around. I got the front tire all blown up and reconnected to the bike. I was filling the rear tire, when I picked it up to see how the pressure felt. That’s when I noticed that the tire bead was not set on the back side. The tube was bulging out around the tire near the valve. I was showing Michael, and thinking, oh shit, when the tube suddenly popped. Well, there goes that one. Thankfully, I had one more spare. I pulled it out and managed to get the tire back on and blown up to the proper pressure.

We shoved off without much food in our systems and made our way toward Santa Barbara. We took a bike path that lead to El Capitan State Park, and then cut back out onto the 101. I noticed I had a headache I couldn’t shake. I wasn’t sure if it was because I hadn’t had coffee, or if I was dehydrated. I had water in my bottles from camp, but it tasted like chlorine. I couldn’t bring myself to drink it. As we went along the highway, tons of California Coastal Classic riders buzzed past us. Our long 80 mile day must have put us ahead of them, but now they were all caught up.

We got off the Hollister Ave. exit and made our way into Isla Vista for some food. We found palace called, Silvergreens, and I ordered a juice mixed with sparkling water and a breakfast sandwich. I chugged the juice and instantly felt better. I wanted to get caught up on my posts, so I sat down with the laptop to get to work. I logged onto the web and found out that Eiry, the rider from Vancouver that I met a couple of times up north, had been hit by a truck near Santa Cruz. She was messaging me, and she told me that she was okay, but that she broke her leg and the bike was smashed up.

Instead of typing my blog, I kept trying to find out more information about the accident. It seemed that the driver wasn’t paying attention and coasted into the shoulder and ran her over. At least he stopped to help her after he realized what he had done. It only takes one person to lose focus on the road to make for a bad day. I wished her well and then tried to get back to work. Needless to say, I didn’t get much done. I ordered a burger and another juice and felt even better. I was ready to conquer the day.

We took bike paths most of the way into Santa Barbara. The zipper broke on my MSR tent the night before, and I wanted to see if REI would be willing to exchange it for a new one. I’ve heard that you can take pretty much anything back there. We worked our way through downtown and then went into REI. At first, they warned me how the policy had changed to only 1 year for returns and that a zipper is normally user error. I was just nice and told them I understood, and that I just wanted to see if they could help.

The guy at the register called his manager and they okayed me to get a new tent. I ended up picking the REI Dash 2, which was cheaper than my original tent. So on top of exchanging the tent, they credited the extra money back to my credit card. Holy crap. Thank you REI! Now the mosquitoes wouldn’t get into my tent.

From there, we rode down to the beach and took in the beautiful views. We found a spot in the marina to grab a beer and relax for a bit. Santa Barbara was such a great town to ride through. There were tons of great big trees and a variety of palms. We took the bike path along the beach when we left town. We found some side roads that paralleled the freeway, so we could get out of the traffic.

It was a nice 10 mile ride, with the warm afternoon sun and a cool ocean breeze. Our camp was in Carpinteria. Michael and I rolled into town and found a market near camp. I got all the fixins for my ramen, instant mashed potatoes, and tuna dish, along with a nice tall beer. We took our beers to the park and drank them on the beach while the sun set behind Santa Barbara. I grabbed this photo just in that moment. What a nice, relaxing day.

(Repost of my 2014 Pacific Coast Tour Instagrams)

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