Trip Log – Day 174 –Santa Maria, CA to Santa Barbara, CA

Lompoc to Santa BarbaraOctober 26, 2015 – Sun, 80 degrees

Miles Today: 67

Miles to Date: 9,039

States to Date: 25

Rule number one of bicycle touring: always listen to knowledgeable locals. My host last night, Bill Korn, gave me detailed directions on back roads from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara that proved to be challenging, beautiful, and worth following.

IMG_4931Faxon Canyon Road follows a valley rather than a traditional canyon. The valley floor has all sorts of agriculture, with sculptural hills rising on either side. I was intrigued by yet another method of efficient harvesting; a twin tractor setup that that included picking and packing in one movable process. I could not figure out what the laborers were harvesting – maybe broccoli?

IMG_4932 IMG_4933

IMG_4939As I climbed higher the fields gave over to vineyards. I had been warmed that Los Olivos, midway along my route, was a tony wine tasting town, but I wasn’t prepared for the disdain every set of eyes shot my way. The chicken panini at Corner House Coffee House was the most expensive and worst sandwich of my trip, served with a side of attitude. The Internet didn’t work (what coffee house doesn’t have superb Internet?) but the leggy staff couldn’t care less when I mentioned it. I longed for a tacqueria. Mexicanos in hairnets standing behind a steam table are so much nicer than gorgeous California girls who don’t give the time of day to a grey haired guy in a garish cycling shirt.

IMG_4936I was happy to shake the dust of Los Olivos from my feet, even if it meant cycling through the hottest part of a very hot, cloudless day. The grass along the road is beyond brown. It’s translucent stubble waiting to spark.


IMG_4944There’s a pittance of water in Lake Cachuma. The surface of the reservoir is well below the lowest discharge gate. A big green hose siphons water through the dam, an inelegant solution to a problem the dam designers never considered.

IMG_4945Before the big climb over San Marcos Pass, I ducked onto Stagecoach Road, a wonderful meandering path up and up and up. I passed under the giant bridge of Route 154, and eventually wound up higher. My legs were plenty tired when I finally reached the big descent into idyllic Santa Barbara.


About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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