Road Closure and (lots of) Rain

From Big Sur Kate’s Blog: Highway Closure Extended, 1/9/17 –

I’m currently in San Simeon, sitting in the Big Sur Restaurant sipping coffee and hugging the wall, tethered to the electrical outlet. Outside the rain and wind are picking up again, dousing my bike and rinsing off the mud from yesterday’s miles on flooded road shoulder. I’m about 18 miles from the start of the road closure, beyond which trees and many mudslides cover Highway 1 through Big Sur. The closure extends for many miles, past the north end of the Big Sur park. There’s no easy way around by bike. No detour.

Yesterday I left San Luis Obispo, saying goodbye to my new friends and a big warm house full of people, free muffins, and a bed I could sleep in. “The Establishment” treated me well.  But I left on a hope that while I was getting to Big Sur, the light rain would cause no more mudslides, the road would be cleared, and I could coast through today. Apparently that was a mistake.  

As I got within a half mile of the San Simeon Creek campground, I faced a wall of rain extending beyond the lush green rain saturated mountains ahead and over the foaming and roaring Pacific. So I put on my rain jacket. Getting to the entrance station I took cover under the roof, wedged myself onto a ten inch ledge where the ranger would normally peer out from the window, paid for a hike and bike spot, and cracked open an 805 Firestone blonde ale to wait out the rain. I noticed how funny it all was, feeling totally comfortable, huddled alone under a tiny roof in a storm, drinking a beer and talking to strangers driving into the campground. One guy even offered to let me sleep in the pop-up roof of his VW Vagabond after I told him a bit of my story. I chose to pitch my own tent in the rain. When the rain calmed down I made my break down to the campsite and got thoroughly soaked while setting up under a huge old pine tree. I dried the inside of my tent with bandanas and damp shorts.

After setting up my stove and taking what I now presume was a carbon monoxide-induced nap, I cooked some Annie’s garlic alfredo pasta with tuna and got some shut-eye. This morning I picked slugs off of everything, discovered two giant half-smushed earthworms squirming between my tent floor and tarp, and repacked my wet and muddy bags…Luckily it wasn’t raining, yet. 

I got to the Big Sur Restaurant and read the blog post about the road closure. I think I’ll stay here today, I heard there’s a famous spot for viewing elephant seals in January. Then tomorrow I’ll make it to an Amtrak station and skip all the mudslides. Too bad, I heard that Big Sur is the most beautiful section of road on the whole coast. 

Update as of tonight: I am not giving up on riding through Big Sur, calling the park tomorrow to see what’s up with the road, the elephant seals were amazing, got a $40 hotel room at the San Simeon lodge and decided to stay here instead of the campsite. 


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