41km – 2992 in total
The hostel offered a typical north American breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup, so I had 3 of those. I set a course for the next couple of days, made some phonecalls and I left around 11. I timed it with the opening hours of the SLO Art Museum which happened to be closed yesterday. There were two rooms with exhibits from local artists.
I was looking into an alternative road to take, in an attempt to see more places in such a short destination. The answer came out from nowhere, or in fact from a cyclist who caught up with me. Ari coming from the north as well, was on her way to Pismo Beach to attend a wedding. She cycles from San Fransisco to Los Angeles at least once a year and today she got where I was in two days, a distance it took me almost two weeks to cover. She has also toured Greece a while back, so in general pretty hardcore! After a two long days on the bike, she was taking the day slower while doing some RnD for her business. Ari is in the wine industry and she sets up bike tours taking people through vineyards for wine tasting. It didn’t take long to convince me to follow her to a couple of these business meetings.
First stop was at Tolosa, one of the big and oldest vineyards of the area. The manager met Ari and she talked about the wines they produce and any possible business plan
I know nothing about wines and I barely opened my mouth during their conversation, other than to drink the 5 samples of wine we were offered. They talked about, grapes, fruity flavors on the pallet, wood quality of barrels, last crop season and other unfamiliar to me terminologies. Very interesting to get a taste of a whole different world.
We moved on to the next one. Wolff Vineyards is a much smaller, family run business. The owner is half French, grown in Brussels, so there was a more European touch in the facility and his ideology. Once again they talked about grapes, crops and barrels, as well as sustainable and bio-dynamic agriculture. Very interesting topic, which seems to catch on a lot lately in terms of marketing. Of course all these happened, while having another 5 samplers at the shaded garden, including a members only bottle.
Ari’s parents drove to meet her for the wedding and we caught up with them at a third vineyard. There was no meeting there, but just some more wine tasting. I didn’t have much more my self, as I was already getting a little tipsy and hungry. We went off for lunch and they headed off to the wedding. I kept seeing all these vines over the last few days, but I never thought about visiting any and actually taste the wine. A nice surprise for a non typical day of cycling.
I still had an hour and a half of daylight and as I wasn’t that far from the campground I decided to go 10km north to Avila beach, that a couple of locals had recommended having a look. The beach has two piers and many nice little restaurants and bars along the seafront, but no campground to stay.
By the time I got back to Pismo Beach it was almost dark and there was no-one at the kiosk. I realized the place didn’t have hikers/bikers area. I wasn’t sure if I was meant to, neither I wanted to pay the full price for a spot. I went in anyway thinking I will deal with this problem tomorrow. While looking for an unreserved spot to put my tent, I ran into two dudes. We had a short chat and they kindly allowed me to pitch my tent next to theirs. Tim and Laurie were on a road trip all around the US. We hang out for a few hours over beers and laughs.