An Inconclusive End

Date: April 19th-May 10th, 2017

From/To: Los Olivos, CA/San Luis, CA/Monterey, CA/San Francisco, CA/Home

Total Mileage: 2815 miles

The last ten days of my trip weren’t spent on a bike but rather with friends and family. From where I last left off in Los Olivos, I traveled to San Luis Obispo (SLO) to visit some friends for a few days. This was my last ride in California, and despite my belief that it would be a smooth one I battled winds the entire way. I guess I wouldn’t want it any other way looking back. I proved to myself I can bike across the United States against the wind, many people cross the country but they do so riding with favorable tailwinds from west to east. Perhaps next time I’ll take the easy way, but I certainly know I didn’t sell myself short this time around.

I spent April 20th-April 23rd in SLO catching up with friends. Jamie, my college roommate, came up from LA to visit for a few days as well.

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Emily, Lindsey, Jamie and I as we climbed Bishops Peak to catch the sunrise.

SLO is one of my favorite places on Earth. It’s home to several mountains all driving distance and hikeable. It’s a twenty minute drive from the coast, where you can spend time on one of the many beautiful beaches Central California has to offer. If you don’t know when I’m talking about, check out Avila or Pismo Beach just to name two. SLO is home to Cal Poly, a forward-thinking university known for its “learn by doing” educational philosophy that encourages students to solve real-world problems in and out of the classroom. The community is full of young ambitious students who enjoy the outdoors and having fun. Lastly, the people. I won’t talk negatively about people elsewhere, but in SLO I’ve never come across a person I don’t like. Everyone appears approachable and proud of where they live, I can understand why. The first night I was there we went to the weekly Farmers Market in Downtown SLO. I had a chance to try out some of the local brews, my favorite being the Big Sur Double IPA. Being a Thursday we didn’t stay out too long, most of us had something to do tomorrow. For once that wasn’t me. I spent Friday at the beach with Lindsay’s roommate Emily and some of her friends. It was a warm sunny day and we had nothing better to do, so Avila Beach was the perfect destination. I had a great time hanging out in SLO. It was good to catch up with friends and enjoy the local scenes. A few days later Mom and Dad flew into LA and drove up to get me. I spent the last nine days with them driving up the coast. We stopped in Monterey for a few days then finished our trip in San Francisco before flying home on April 29th.

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Monterey is a beautiful place in California once known for it’s prominence in the sardine packing industry. Monterey’s Cannery row was made famous by the well known author John Steinbeck.
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The Ghost Tree along the Pebble Beach drive.

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Overlooking a sunset in Monterey.
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Making our way through Pebble Beach.
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The Golden Gate Bridge.
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Muir Woods National Park.

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We toured Castello di Amorosa in Norther Napa Valley

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San Francisco.
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The Cable Car Museum in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.
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This is a “working museum” meaning that it still serves the purpose of it’s historical significance. There are some historical items that are there for viewing,  but the museum also serves as the cable car power house that remains fully functional powering the cable cars throughout San Francisco. It’s free to tour this museum.

So before I forget, here’s the physical changes I experienced after crossing the country. I don’t pay much attention to it because I realize that even a feat as challenging as this can be meaningless if I don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keep in mind that fitness goals are not achieved by the 3 month spring break diet or a marathon training schedule that serves no purpose after the race. Fitness goals are achieved by accepting a lifestyle oriented around prolonged satisfactions, rather than the instantaneous fixations that haunt so many of us. Stay true to the lifestyle, and it’ll pay off in the long term far more than you’d think.

Body Measurements Before I Left Inches
Neck 16
Right Bicep 14.5
Shoulders 51.5
Waist 38.5
Hips 41
Mid-Thigh 25
Right Calf 16
Body Measurements After The Ride Inches
Neck 16 (0)
Right Bicep 13 (-1.5)
Shoulders 48.5 (-3)
Waist 34.5 (-4)
Hips 40 (-1)
Mid-Thigh 25.5 (+0.5)
Right Calf 14.25 (-1.75)

Weight before: 215 lb.

Weight after: 198 lb.


“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving. -Terry Pratchett

Finding a passion for travel and exploration is the best way to enrich your life. I continue to refer back to Pratchett’s quote because it’s flawless in defining what it means to go away. And once you return, you have a story to tell; an adventure that pulls people in. I see this as an opportunity not only to explain perception but also to educate and inspire others to take on similar feats. For now this is all I’ll say, however I plan to put it all down on paper at some point. Stay tuned.

Biking has become a form of meditation. It’s a time where I focus in on what’s simple to focus on: breathing. I can tell you it takes time to find this rhythm, it’s not something you do right out of the gate. Like any skill it takes practice to master. I discovered an ability to let go of anything unimportant in the moment; to be focused on the present. Much of life is oriented towards things that have happened or things that will eventually happen. Collectively we don’t spend enough time thinking about what it means to be alive and present in the moment. Biking showed me what it means to have presence, I encourage all of your to find a daily ritual that will bring you this mentality. It doesn’t need to be biking per se, it can be anything that allows you to take your mind off the many things that cross your path throughout the day. You can thank me later.

I’d like to thank everyone who supported me throughout this exploratory journey. Writing was a way to communicate with people along my ride. I was alone for most of my trip and I felt it would be less meaningful to keep my experiences to myself. I can clearly see the changes in my writing over time and I recommend journaling or blogging as a way to clear your mind, write down ideas, or simply record your experiences and life events. It worked wonders for me on this trip, and I will continue to use writing as a helpful tool in the future. Moving forward, I’ll continue to write about experiences and events that are interesting and beneficial in one way or another. Please keep in touch, and as always…

Enjoy The Ride,

-Matt

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