Overcoast

Date: April 17th, 2017

From/To: Ventura, CA/Santa Barbara, CA

Daily Mileage: 40 miles

Total Mileage: 2695 miles

Conditions: Overcast and moderate winds in various directions. Mid 60s.

Today didn’t offer the nicest conditions but I couldn’t be upset by some cloudy weather. I had a short ride that mostly took me along the coast. It eventually cleared up in the afternoon but overall the clouds prevailed. I checked the weather and saw rain tomorrow, but aside from that I was soon to have nothing California sunshine for the next week or so.

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Todays trek, from Ventura, CA to Santa Barbara, CA.

I woke up around 11AM and had a quick breakfast before leaving Ventura. Before leaving, I had to send Seth (my MJFF Officer) a picture of me in my Team Fox gear with the Pacific Ocean in the background. The photo will appear with a short excerpt I wrote in a newsletter article posted by the MJFF this month!

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Seen here is yours truly, and someone taking a picture in the background.

I was on a tight deadline today to make it to Santa Barbara. I had a phone call with a TFA advisor followed by an interview with a Hawaii Island high school located in Kona. The first call was at 4 and the second at 4:30. It was only a 40 mile trek from start to finish but I knew I had to be somewhere with strong internet and limited noise. I started off towards Santa Barbara, I had a connection (from my PCB host Kathy!) to someone who lived inland a few miles from the coast, her name’s Shelby.

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Despite the overcast weather it was a nice ride along the shore today.
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By the afternoon it started to clear up. I took some time to explore around town before heading to Shelby’s house. I really enjoyed downtown Santa Barbara. State Street (seen here) runs perpendicular from the coast inland. It’s a major tourist hub with restaurants, shops, and other really cool attractions.

A rule of thumb for any tour biker: As you head inland from the coast, more often than not you should prepare yourself for a climb. It sounds trivial but this isn’t something you’d consider when driving a car. As you head along the coast you’ll obviously ride at plus-minus sea level, that changes as you head inland, especially in mountainous central California. I checked my route and noticed I had to head inland from Santa Barbara a few miles to reach my destination. I climbed for a good portion of it but I made it to Shelby’s house without much trouble. I arrived around 3PM, leaving an hour to relax and prepare for my phone calls this afternoon.

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I immediately felt at home lounging on the back porch.

My phone call interview lasted about an hour minutes. I spoke with the Principal and Vice Principal of Konawaena High School on the west side of Hawaii’s big island. After the call I had some food, cleaned up, and started my laundry. Shelby and her husband Steve are the parents of two daughters and a son, all of whom are grown up and living away from home. Shelby told me it was nice to have someone around to take care of, to me she was a second mother! One of her daughters is active in Teach For America on the recruitment side of the organization. We talked about her daughters experience with eduction and what she learned after several years with TFA. I enjoyed our conversation that continued on to other topics for the next few hours. She started preparing dinner around 5:00, grilling tri-tip, preparing baked potatoes, and chopping asparagus. Steve was flying back from a family retreat, arriving at the local airport around 7:30. Shelby invited me to come along when she went to pick Steve up, she wanted to show me the UCSB campus before heading to the airport. If I had to sum it up, I’d have to mention the massive number of bikes on campus (I know, how cliche of me to notice). We passed by countless numbers beach cruisers in several rows of bike racks next to each building. There were roads designated for bikers only, and bike lanes on any other roads that ran along the campus. It’s hard to compare UCSB to Syracuse University. Walking through Syracuse you’d maybe see one or two people biking to and from class a day. It’s not a thing out there mostly because it can’t be a thing out there for a majority of the year. The other interesting take away was how spread out UCSB was. It took us about 20 minutes to drive from one end to the other, I guess that also has to do with the favorable weather they have year round. People don’t mind walking and biking longer distances, unlike Syracuse where we always hope to spend the least amount of time outside in subfreezing temperature. It’s a different way of life out here, I can’t imagine having nice weather year round and the luxury of being active outside for all that time. I’ll certainly discover that feeling when I move out to Hawaii. I’ve always justified the four seasons as an agent of change. You endure the winter to appreciate the summer. It’s something I’ve noticed growing up in a seasonal place like New York. You don’t take a summer day for granted, you value the time you have and make the most of it. It’ll be interesting to see another perspective.

I met Shelby’s husband Steve at the airport. He’s a mobile equine veterinarian full time, running his business from home. He’s an outdoorsman so he immediately took interest in my adventure across the country. At home he offered me a few of his home craft beers, his current brew was a smoky IPA, delicious.

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The Smoky IPA, on point.

After some conversation over dinner Shelby and Steve turned in, I stayed up for a few hours to catch up on the blog. The days are flying by, tomorrow I’ll be heading to Los Olivos, some true wine country.

Enjoy The Ride,

-Matt

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