Deserving or not, I’ve always held a bit of a grudge against California. I don’t have any real reason for this distrust of the Golden Bear State, but it probably has something to do with being just a little jealous of its idyllic weather, endless beaches and stunning coastal scenery. It also could have something to do with the fact that we like to blame Californians for moving to Montana or Idaho and blowing up our otherwise small mountain towns (it snows there, you won’t like it).
So when I crossed the border from Oregon, I was just a little unsure what I’d find and how it would treat me. The change was noticeable almost immediately. While there are certainly plenty of trees and forests in Northern CA, they are different that those of Oregon: less dense and with broken open country between stands. Where the Oregon coast has thick forests descending right to the water, many areas in CA have wide open bluffs allowing panoramic views and the ability to see miles in either direction. Coming from Big Sky country, I definitely appreciated this. I missed the ability to see! Maybe CA isn’t all that bad afterall.
Secondly, the weather vastly improved. While this is true of most places up and down the pacific coast right now, it was hard to ignore the FIRST SUNNY DAY WITH A TAILWIND in 6 weeks! It was 85 degrees yesterday...85 DEGREES! Win for CA.
Paradise on a bike tour includes a pair of excellent local hosts, perfect weather, good food, and surf beaches walking distance from home. The deciding moment came on International Women's day, when I suited up with a wetsuit and longboard, walked 50 bearfoot yards to Pleasure Point, and learned to surf with an amazing woman surfer and instructor. While I’ve attempted to surf in the past, this was the first time I actually rode a number of waves, largely in thanks to having such a patient, thoughtful coach. Thanks Ashley! If someone offered me to trade my bike for a wetsuit, longboard, and couch to sleep on, I would have just stayed in Santa Cruz for next two weeks. The Beach Boys were telling the truth!
Also, I bought my first pair of flip-flops in history. No joke. Maybe a bike supported surf trip is necessary?
I guess California isn’t that bad.