Day 28 – 9/24, 3:00pm, Santa Barbara CA
One week left to go. A couple of long, quiet days riding through the hills and valleys, farmlands and ranchlands, that are just inland from the coast. Strawberry farms so huge you can taste the sickly sweet smell in the back of your throat. I just got over my last big climb, a four-mile ascent up San Marcos Pass reaching an elevation of over 2200 feet, the highest of this trip.
Having a tasty turkey fritter, pesto beans, mango quinoa salad and a slice of carrot cake at a local cafe, a nice reward. My bike is getting its final little check-up at a great shop called Cranky’s. I realize I haven’t talked about my bike at all; I’m never much of a gear-head, I’m not even sure what kind of leadpipe my cornet has. But the bike, a Salsa Vaya, has been great. Salsa – a music, a food, and a bike, a powerful triumvirate. I rarely name inanimate objects, but the bike deserves one. I’ve taken to calling it Hector, in honor of Hector Lavoe.
Santa Barbara was the last ‘official’ gig to get confirmed, but I’m very happy it worked out. In August, I missed two opportunities to play with Vinny Golia, multi-wind maestro and stalwart of the West Coast creative music community, so I wanted to rectify the situation on his home turf. It turned out Jim Connolly, an excellent bassist and the host of tonight’s music at his Piano Kitchen loft, had worked with Vinny in the past, so a natural trio was born, or will be born in a few hours.
I’m rocking some fierce tan lines on my thighs, my wrists, my shoulders. Rich chestnut contrasting with ghostly alabaster. I know I’m interracial, but this is ridiculous.
Sometimes when I have to fart while riding, I raise my butt in the air and pretend I have a rocket booster. I can’t imagine I’m the only one.
Detritus by the side of the road. Shoes, whether sneakers, flip-flops, or high heels, always single, never in pairs. Teddy bears and used diapers, a faded bikini and countless empty bottles, once a run of broken pens. Snapped bungee cords, frayed ropes, and the occasional dead snake blending together. Other roadkill: deer, raccoons, squirrels, possums, skunks, crows and sparrows and even an owl.
The joy of a wide shoulder, the terror of a hairpin turn off a cliff. How much of a driver’s personality you can tell from how they pass you – not just the extremes pro and con (the encouraging beep and wave, the violent horn and raised finger), but the subtleties of slowing down or not, waiting for ample room or just buzzing by.
The pleasant monotony that leads to these thoughts. I’m weary, but I will miss it.