Back from Orcas Island

Lots of logistics, but no car travel – that's how I planned our recent return to the San Juan Islands. It's a long-distance trip from Portland; AMTRAK to Seattle is how it all starts. I used points to stay for free at the Kimpton Monaco downtown. Not this first night, but every other I'll be doing laundry in the bathroom sink – it's my secret to traveling light. As I think back, I could've traveled even lighter, but that's true for every outing. This trip's splurge was a new pair of ... Continue Reading

Packing for the Islands

I'm packing for a no-car trip to the San Juan Islands. I did it 4 years ago, for my 60th. That trip started from Orange County, CA. This trip is more compact, but hopefully just as much fun, this week-long, no-car, bike getaway. What makes it more compact, besides starting from Portland this time, is a new ferry option out of Seattle. In 2012 we ferried from Seattle to Victoria, B.C. then the four of us rented bikes for an 8-day island-hopping junket. This ferry takes us direct – party of ... Continue Reading

Bye Santa Barbara

It's our last morning; we will depart Santa Barbara at 2pm as we head for home. We've got time for a ride south along the coast; breakfast is our objective. Yeah, it's a beautiful off-road bike path, this Coast Route path, but I can't help feeling it doesn't match up on the equity side. Equity, the next of the E's coming for Bicycle Friendly Community, asks rating advocates to consider if poorer parts of a city are as well served as the wealthy. Good question, eh? Montecito has to be ... Continue Reading

Familiar Santa Barbara

Our favorite breakfast spot, Garrett's Old Fashion Restaurant, is just blocks from the Mission, so we have to pedal over and enjoy the views. Although it's our final stop on this 6-day getaway, there's no remorse. We've visited Santa Barbara a hundred times over many years — we love it here. First thing we appreciate is the climate, just like Corona del Mar — cool temps with a marine layer suits us perfectly. We have few plans for the 2 days and nights we'll visit this time. ... Continue Reading

SLO Sunday Scene

It's a quiet morning, or so I think, until the church bells start ringing at 6:50am — and they keep ringing till 7:00 — everyone's awake. We're packing out of SLO, on our way home via Santa Barbara where we'll spend 2 nights at the beach. It's gonna feel chilly after the toasty temps here in San Luis Obispo, but first we've got time to kill. Our train doesn't depart until 1:55pm. While I was catching up with the photos, Barbara was out for a walk. She's toured the I ... Continue Reading

SLO Bike Rodeo

The last post ended just as we were meeting Dan Rivoire, Executive Director of the SLO Bike Kitchen. The Kitchen does a lot of things, but maybe primarily it's a space where people can bring their bikes in need of repair and do it themselves. They've got the "tools, the parts and the knowledge you need to fix your bike." The key point here is that you do it; they help, but they're teaching people to do the basic bike maintenance to keep their bikes in good rolling condition. As we were ... Continue Reading

SLO Sights

Before the more private part of this trip begins — we're here celebrating our 39th anniversary — I'm squeezing in a few meetings. I've got breakfast with Jo Anne Miller who is breathing new vigor into the local entrepreneurship scene, then it's time for a bike ride with Eric Meyer. He's easy to spot in a crowded coffee patio; he's wearing a SLO Hothouse t-shirt and that's just where Jo Anne and I departed an hour ago. How did we meet? Through bike advocacy, of course. Newport Beach ... Continue Reading

San Luis Obispo Again

When we tell people we came by train with our bikes, they're surprised and delighted. Surprised that the message is getting out that the Amtrak Surfliner is the best way to travel the 250 miles from Irvine to SLO. There's room for 7 bikes on this train, all of them on the first car, but our Business Class seats are in the last car, so we've got a long unsteady walk the length of the train as we balance our panniers and bike helmets on our way to our seats. I only saw our two bikes onboard, ... Continue Reading

Touring Through

When I see bike tourists I always want to stop and chat; that's because, when I'm in the saddle, meeting people is the best part of touring. I saw these 3 idling in the shade at Jamboree and Coast Hwy. I wanted to make sure everything was ok; they were just taking a break. They started the day in Marina del Rey and were headed to San Diego tomorrow, eventually Phoenix. All 3 were from Minnesota. "Are you camping along the way?" They told me they were hitting hotels on this 2-week ... Continue Reading

Mystery of the Year

It's been a great year of cycling adventures, but not without its mysteries. Here's my last photo of Skunky, my mascot for the 8-day family bike tour of Victoria B.C. and the San Juan Islands this August. This tour would be how I celebrated my 60th birthday. Who knew I'd pay such a price? My son had "The Claw" lashed to his bike rack; it took me a few days to find my own distinctive amulet. Who knows how Skunky escaped? He would've been tossed into the trunk of the taxi at the ... Continue Reading