After the serendipitous meeting of Friar Anthony, I cycled to Oceano (via the Edna Valley,
thanks to my friend Jennifer Stevens’ suggestion). Cycling on Price Canyon Road to Pismo Beach was beautiful, especially at this bend in the road.
I found spot at a campground in Oceano, despite its popularity for the holiday weekend. Wherever I stay I meet nice people, unless I am “rough camping,” or staying in a motel, which is more isolating. The camp host at Coastal Dunes RV Resort and Campground in Oceano admitted that the gloomy weather had been getting him down but that making the effort to welcome and greet campers helped to lift his spirits. His mother, who greeted me the next morning, said that having people in the “hiker/biker section” next to their RV always made her feel more secure. We really do need one another, don’t we?
Living as I am with just the basic necessities is proving to be a very worthwhile experience. It’s making me more grateful for human connection, nutritious food, adequate shelter, and restful sleep. It is humbling, and makes me understand the challenges that homeless people face. My phone is my most sophisticated possession and I am grateful for the connections with people it makes possible. Ironically, it can also prevent connection with others, as it did this morning when a friend with whom I had made a phone appointment called just as I had asked a question (“So, what is your impression of Trump America?) of an English cycling couple in the campsite next to mine. (I was able to find out, later this morning. They are surprised that guns are available for sale in Camping Stores and that every other commercial on TV is for a pharmaceutical drug, giving Americans the strong suggestion that they must be very ill indeed. Yes, British people pay more taxes to their government than we do, but in return they receive free health insurance and free higher education, while our (big) money goes to these same expenses, just more directly.)
A young man from Holland who I met at the Hostel in SLO is struck by the number and size of cars and especially pick-up trucks we have here in the U. S. Large pickup trucks are rare at best in Europe; gasoline is more expensive and roads are smaller. After he mentioned this I remembered all the pickup trucks I saw in the Salinas Valley, and how common they are in RV Campgrounds, along with house-sized RVs.
As I found my way to the home of an acquaintance in Nipomo who had invited me for lunch, I came across an amazing Avocado Orchard. It was dense, lush and so healthy looking! I was amazed and inspired. I really am very impressed with the industriousness and hard work of farmers. Our state has such a wealth of fruits and vegetables.
This acquaintance, Sandy, soon became a friend as we shared the delicious, healthy lunch of salad, vegetable soup and brown rice she had prepared for us, and as we shared our stories with one another. I was very grateful for the meal and her companionship.
Sandy told me the story of her conversion to Catholicism as a result of her only son’s baptism shortly before his death from cancer at the age of 21. He was transformed when the priest told him that his baptism secured the forgiveness of his sins. It was proof enough for Sandy of the power of this sacrament and its religion.
It was fun to meet her husband, too, who seemed baffled by my undertaking. “You’re riding your bike to San Diego with no support vehicle, alone?” Whenever anyone expresses this concern I simply say that I am not alone and that I feel protected and carried by my Higher Power, as long as I do my best to be and do what I think He would have me.
I was surprised when I saw a sign saying that I was entering Santa Barbara County after crossing the Santa Maria River. It had taken me so long to get through Monterey County; could SLO County possibly be done so soon?
I was reminded that Memorial Day was approaching when I saw this cemetery adorned with flags, near the small, agricultural town of Guadalupe.
The song “Long Time Passing” came to mind and it brought tears to my eyes as I sang the few lyrics I could remember. Here it is for you to listen to, if you care to.
My approach to the Lompoc Valley was on a beautiful, sunny day, from Harris Grade Road.
I went directly to Misión La Purísima Concepción to see if they had any rooms available but they don’t have such facilities. I was directed to a nearby campground and since it was late in the day I went there without seeing the Mission, as I was concerned about getting a place with the holiday weekend. Fortunately I did secure a spot and I’m still here three days later. My time in River Park Campground has been eventful mostly because of the people I have met here, including the British couple. More about another woman I met here later; it’s getting late and time to make dinner and a fire. This business of posting on my iPhone takes some time! Blessings to you my friends and family. ?♥️??