Tuesday, 02. December 2008, California
We started our trip yesterday. We really did! 1. December 2008... Bhinti's sister, Gaye, brought us to the Amtrak train station in Vancouver Canada with all our gear - 10 bags and 2 bikes in boxes. We went through the immigration and X-ray before we got on the train, thank god no sweat! We were on our way to Seattle where we stayed for a night before we hopped on the next train to Salinas California. The leaves were still on the trees, not like in Vancouver, beautiful colours. The train to Salinas left in the morning on the 2nd of December. It was a very nice train and the service was great. They even offered winetasting and they even had a movie theater. Our trip on this train took 26 hrs, getting closer and closer to our first goal. We set up our soundsystem in our little cabin and watched a movie. We also enjoyed the food which was really excellent. I always enjoy nights in a train, even though I get hardly any sleep. We were really on our way to Tierra Del Fuego... !!!

LINK: Photos 001-002, video 001
Thursday, 4. December 08, California
Yesterday we arrived in Salinas at 11.30am. It was so warm!!! There we were, with our bike boxes and our 10 bags. It was a sunny day so we started peeling our clothes off. We started assembling our bikes and organizing our bags. It took us about 4 hours. I actually had hardly any experiences in putting bikes together, so it was a nice crash course for me. We put on the tires, racks, fenders, saddle, brakes, paddle, we set up our little bike computers... It was a perfect place for that. It was warm and sunny, there were hardly any people, we had lots of space and lots of time. It was already afternoon when we finished our little bike assembling class and it started to cool off. We decided to stay in Salinas in a motel for the night. Our room was filled with our bikes and our gear. Bags everywhere... I was so excited! The next morning we loaded our bikes and actually had our first ride with all our gear; it worked... We figured out the best balance for the bags and started our trip to Monterey. It was foggy when we started, but after a while the sun pushed the fog away and the temperature climbed up to 18 degrees C. We were really on our way to the ocean!!! We really were! After a while we found ourselves at this breath taking beach in Monterey. We heard the seals in the distance, were watching the pelicans in the water and admired these beautiful cypresses. The air was full of salt. We made it to the giant pacific! It was sunny and warm. We rode around the pensinsula in Monterey, passed lots of mystery looking cypresses that were formed by strong winds. Everything was like a dream. We rode the 17 Miles Drive along the waterfront and started looking for a campground... no campground. Riding along the 17 Miles Drives was like riding in a park and they even had entrances where car drivers had to pay a fee, if they want to drive on this road. Sunset was at 4.50pm and it got dark really quickly. It was dark when we arrived in Carmel and we admired all these cute little houses with all these little inviting lights and the shops had beautiful handmade things. We pushed our bikes up the steep hill and found a motel where we stayed for the night... I was exhausted but so excited that I found it hard to fall asleep.
Resume: Salinas-Carmel, 60km, 11-18 degrees, sunny
LINK: Photos 003-025, videos 002-006
Saturday, 6. December 08, California
Yesterday I woke up at 4am. I was so excited that I could not sleep anymore; my heart was beating much faster as usual, so much excitement... We really started our bike trip! We are in Carmel!!! I was hungry, so I had my first brekkie at 5.30am. Later in the morning we strolled down the main street and enjoyed brekkie in the sun, my second one... Our destination for today was Big Sur. We are going to meet our friend Vikas tonight!!! We met him at the Osho Center in India. He is from Delhi and moved to California a while ago. We had about 40km to our campground in Big Sur. It was another sunny day. How long might it take to get there... Maybe 3 hours? No! It took us almost 6 hours! The coastal road was amazing. We had big climbs, the road was winding and sometimes there was no shoulder. While I was climbing these steep hills I was happy that I didn't end up rolling backwards down the hill.... As soon as the sun disappeared it cooled off. We just made it in time to the the campground. It was dark in no time. We camped right next to a river and were surrounded by these giant Redwood trees. Here we met our friend Vikas. It was so nice to see him! I crawled into bed at 8.30pm and listened to the river. The temperature dropped to about 5 degrees C. What a great day! We stayed the next day at the same campground and spent time with Vikas. We went for a little hike through the Redwood forest. My legs were exhausted, so Bhinti ended up pushing me up the hill and Vikas pulled me up the hill... I felt the energy of these breath taking trees... so much beauty. In the evening the temperature dropped again to 5 degrees C. I was cold and so awake, so excited...
Resume: Carmel-Big Sur, 41km, 5-23 degrees, sunny; 2nd day rest in Big Sur, sunny
LINK: Photos 026-044, video 013
Sunday, 7. December 08, California
It was a chilly morning. I was cold but that changed quickly as our next leg started with a 5 km climb. Cycling on HWY1 down the Californian coast. The view was spectacular. The air was filled with the intense smell of pine trees. As we were riding we could hear seals in the distance. We saw dolphins and even condors. There are only about 30 left in the world. They are huge and their wingspan is about 13 feet. A man told us that they do serious damage to construction sites, they tore a roof and pulled some wires out from a house that was under construction. We made it to our next campground before sunset. It was a beautiful place. There was no electricity, no hot water. We tried out our camping stove for the first time... and it worked... Bhinti the chef cooked some pasta! Crickets were singing, the ocean was the background instrument. We lit our candle in the tent to warm it up, lit an incense stick and set up our little music system. It was so nice... We rode 46km today and it took us almost 7 hours. I inhaled the smell of total freedom...
Resume: Big Sur-Kirk Creek, 46km, 9-22 degrees, sunny
LINK: Photos 044-055, videos 007-008
Monday, 8. December 08, California
After having porridge and eggs for breakfast prepared by chef Bhinti we left, heading to the next campground. We saw a mule deer running and jumping across the road. It jumped so high. I didn't know deer could jump that high! We had tailwind, that pushed us gently up the hills. In less than one hour we got there and made use of the sunlight, so we went for a walk to the cliff. It was wild and rugged! We were the only ones on the campground. What a great time of the year to do this bike trip. There was hardly any traffic on the roads and the campgrounds were empty. We did some washing and installed a washing line going from one corner to the other in our little tent.... Home sweet home.
Resume: Kirk Creek - Plaskett, 10km, 12-22 degrees, sunny, tailwind
LINK: Photos 056-062
Tuesday, 9. December 08, California
We rode only 7km to Gorda for breakfast. In Spanish, the word 'gorda' means 'fat'. I guess people who have their breakfast there get really fat... We had some really big climbs, building up our strength. I am happy that I am not rolling backwards down the hill... I am always so hungry, turning into an eating machine. Everything just tastes so good. We saw a sign that said 65km to Monterey. For us it seemed to be so far away. It felt like we had been there a month ago or even longer. Our goal is to go as far South as we can, to Tierra del Fuego, but otherwise we have no plan. We blow with the wind; our path is the word of mouth. Today we saw lots of elephant seals at the beach. They are really big. Amazing how they move their heavy bodies. It was a beautiful evening sun. We even saw some zebras... We left the mountains behind us and rode our bikes on the first straight and flat road. We arrived in San Simeon at 4.30pm and set up our tent. It was a cold night. We could see our own breath in the tent, even with the lit candle. We didn't know that we camped close to a creek. That made the temperature drop down about 4 degrees.
Resume: Plaskett to San Simeon, 58km, 9-23 degrees, sunny tailwind
LINK: Photos 063-076, videos 009-010
Wednesday, 10. December 08, California
It was a cold morning. During the night, a skunk helped himself to some left overs. Bhinti could sniff him out about 2 feet from Bhinti's nose..., I didn't wake up. Our destination was Morro Bay. We had a look at our campground guide to find a place for the night. As we got there, it appeared that it was a trailer park. Nothing but concrete and trailers. That is it????? So we ended up staying in a motel for the night...
Resume: San Simeon - Morro Bay, 48km, 9-30 degrees, sunny, tailwind
LINK: Photos 077-080, video 012
Friday, 12. December 08, California
Yesterday we rode our bikes to Pismo Beach. We had so much chocolate cake today! Good being on bikes, so you can eat whatever you want. It gets burned off... It is so nice being outdoors all the time and being on a bike, taking photos... The sun just disappeared in the water when we got to the ocean. Another incredible sunset. Pismo Beach... what a cute sleepy surf town.We decided to stay another night. What a nice place! Christmas is soon and there are hardly any people in town and at the beach. Strange somehow... no pre Xmas-craziness! I worked on the computer and Bhinti took the bikes to the beach to maintain them. It was a sunny day. We enjoyed a nice walk along this amazing surfer beach while we let ice cream disappear in our faces... I had to try a Caipirinha at a beach bar. My assumption was confirmed... it was a good Caipi! One of my highlights today was a little butterfly kite which i bought and attached on my flagpole. I really like it. He has been following me happily. Today we have the biggest fullmoon of the year. It is really big. Strange, both our watches stopped working today... What is that all about??? I faced some frustration with the computer today as things didn't work out. I started to call him names. Bhinti helped me, so we both were calling him names. What a relief! Ha ha.
Resume: Morro Bay to Pismo Beach, 48km, 12-31 degrees, sunny, tailwind; 2n day rest at Pismo Beach, 29 degrees, sunny
LINK: Photos 081-086
Saturday, 13. December 08, California
Today we got a GPS, so finally we can blame somthing else other than us when we get lost... It was cloudy and it rained a little bit. The weather from British Columbia is following us... It got sunny later on and we had such a strong tailwind! We stopped in Guadalupe for lunch. This area is so different than Pismo Beach, very Mexican and lots of farmland. The tailwind was so strong that when I stopped, the line to my butterfly broke. We passed so much farmland, cabbage fields everywhere, even the air was full of cabbage smell. We passed two big produce distribution centers. We were so fast... We couldn't find a place to stay in Orcutt so we had to cycle to Santa Maria, which meant riding kind of back north and not south anymore. We could feel the strong wind now... I definetely enjoyed a hot bath in the motel.
Resume: Pismo Beach-Santa Maria, 53km, 16 degrees, partly sunny, strong tailwind
LINK: Photos 087-090
Sunday, 14. December 08, California
We rode back 9km to our original route and climbed big long hills. My legs didn't want to work. We passed the airforce center Vendenberg. Our destination was Lompoc. We arrived there in the afternoon. It cooled down and rained. My legs were so sore, time for another hot bath. Today we passed our first 400km. Oh, my legs were so sore, I could hardly move. I fell asleep so early, being exhausted...the next 2 days we stayed in Lompoc as my legs were screaming for rest.
Resume: Santa Maria-Lompoc, 39km, 15 degrees, partly sunny, windy; rest in Lompoc for the next 2 days.
LINK: Photo 091, video 011
Wednesday, 17. December 08, California
If you don't like the color of the sky, either you change your attitude towards it or you change your sunglasses. Ha ha! The sky was quite dark today. We put on our orange lenses, so everything looked so much brighter. I think I even felt a bit warmer. We left at 11am. Our destination for today was somewhere back at the coast. Again, we had another big climb, then a 7km long downhill. The wind was chilly, it was freezing, no sun today. Yeah, finally we were back at the ocean. Oh, it felt so good to be back at the coast. We were heading to Refugio State Park, there was a campground right at the beach. We just made in time and the sun disappeared behind the horizon. It was an increadible sunset. We were surrounded by palm trees. Southern California. Yay! It was dark when we set up our tent. We are in Southern California and it is freezing, what a cold day. I guess this is as cold as it gets in winter. On the left side of our tent we could hear the ocean, on the other side we could hear the freeway 101. The freeway 5 was closed today because of snow, so all the traffic was redirected to the freeway 101 that we were on. Loads of trucks. Imagine, they all bring all sorts of goods from one location to the another, back and forth and all over the place... The bike route was most of the time on the freeway, we had lots of shoulder though. Truck after truck, they were all passing us, and sucked us up the hills with the tailwind, that they created. We were the only ones on the campground. And again, we had dinner in our tent, while our heating candle was burning. It was cold but it was still very nice and romantic. We set up our little computer and watched a movie, I guess we are hightech freaks...
Resume: Lompoc-Refugio State Park, 55km, 12-15 degrees, overcast.
LINK: Photos 092-094
Thursday, 18. December 08, California
We woke up.... I opened the tent and the sunrays sneaked in so quickly, we were surprised. Great!!! We had a nice walk on the beach and were watching the pelicans hunting for fish. We left at noon and followed a beautiful bike trail between the railway track and the ocean. But after about 5 km we ended up in front of a closed gate. So we rode back to the campground. Okay, back to the highway... We were heading into the suburbs of Santa Barbara. Did we tell you, that we bought a GPS? We called her Lulu. So we asked Lulu for directions and accommodation. She seems to change her mind not being sure about things. Okay, the next GPS we buy is a male one and not a female. She also seems to be quite moody some times. When we arrived in Santa Barbara, it was already dark. I felt exhausted and went almost straight to bed...
Resume: Refugio State Park-Santa Barbara, 46km, 19-25 degrees, sunny.
LINK: Photos 095-101
Monday, 22. December 08, California
We stayed in Santa Barbara for 3 days as my knee needed a rest. We went for nice walks along the beach and watched all the bird life. Lots of tall palm trees grow at the promenade. Homeless people live at the beach. They pull their 'home on wheels' behind them. We also passed a skate park. This was the most creative skate park I have ever seen. All ages were there, having a great time. Even a dad was there with his about 5 year old little son. Really cute! Also big bird families live at the beach. A big pelican family... oh, I love the pelicans! We also explored the old part of the town, trandy little cafes and restaurants everywhere. After our three days in Santa Barbara we left and headed towards Ventura. It rained during the night and it was overcast when we got up. The weather forecast predicted 70% rain. We were lucky and could enjoy the 30% not rain all day long. We rode through areas where really rich people live, big houses, big gates, all the plants were trimmed perfectly. We stopped in Carpinteria and a guy wanted an interview from us. He worked for a newspaper. We told him we are heading south until we run out of road... After a while we kept on riding, along the beach with strong tailwind, lots of seagulls and pelicans were gliding in these strong winds. Oh, and we passed 'Santa Claus Lane' Exit while the bike route was again for a while along the freeway. It must be Christmas soon. Ha ha. The good thing is travelling on a bike is, that you see all the good spots, that you wouldn't see travelling in a car. We planned to stay on a campground but it was stormy, so we stayed in a motel. The kite surfers love the storm, they went crazy. Oh, I love what we are doing and I love being with my sweetheart. Everything is so amazing... Okay one thing I want to mention: I am really glad that we had an ashtrey with a non-smoking sticker on it...
Resume: Santa Barbara-Ventura, 52km, 14-24 degrees, overcast later sunny, strong tailwind.
LINK: Photos 102-126, videos 015-018
23. December 08, California
Off to Malibu today. We followed HWY1 and rode through lots of farmland. They grow oranges, cellery, strawberries and other yummy stuff. We also passed the Ventura airforce base. And imagine, we really passed a missile park. Missiles were displayed in a little park, you can build your own opinion about that... We saw people surfing down sand mountains with their boogie boards. Cool! When we thought we were in Mailbu and close to an accommodation, we were wrong. We kept on riding and riding as this town was a big stretch without a town centre and without any motels. After another 10 miles we finally found an accommodation, it was already dark and we were exhausted... We spent 8 hours on our bikes today! We crashed... Our room was really white and steril, wooden floor and a metal rack for our clothes. We were so exhausted and could hardly move, all our muscles were aching, and now the room even looked rike a hospital room. Where are the nurses????
Resume: Ventura-Malibu, 75km, 12-25 degrees, sunny, tailwind.
LINK: Photos 127-133
24. December 08, California
Hey, today is Christmas Eve! Oh... we could hardly move, so we stayed for a while in our hospital room without moving...Later on we moved into a different room as we decided to stay here for another day. It was dark and it rained. We went for a walk. There were no people on the street, everything was closed, and there was no city center. But somehow this made it so special and we really enjoyed our walk, it was romantic, special. I thought of my friends in Germany. They probably have their Christmas Duck dinner as they are 9 hours ahead of us. At the same time I also thought of my friends in New Zealand. For them it was already Christmas Day in the morning as they are 19 hours ahead of us. They are probably opening their gifts. Bhinti was thinking of the Slocan Valley which is still somewhere in the 60's, listening to Bob Dylan. Everything happens at the same time. Here was no Christmas decoration at all here in Malibu. I celebrated my sweetheart. It was dark and raining and it was really romantic, just us and the wild weather... I thought of my family. My parents are in that given moment on their way to Hawaii to visit my sister who lives on Maui. Bhinti and I had a nice Christmas Eve with chocolate cake and wine. We watched a Christmas movie in the evening. We have been looking for reasonable flights to Maui. The price jumped up and down, so we found a flight on the 29th...and... we really booked a flight to Hawaii.... It is hard to believe... The whole family will be together soon. I haven't seen my sister for 4 years and I am so excited to see her. What a great opportunity to meet my sister AND my parents at the same time AND being with my sweetheart. I am so excited...
Resume: Rest in Malibu, 15 degrees, raining.
LINK: Photos 134-135
25. December 08, California
Back on the road again! It was still raining when we left, but it was special. Being on our bikes on Christmas Day. So nice! The ocean was wild and the surfers had a blast, so did the seagulls. The tailwind got stronger and stronger and blew us into Los Angeles. The bike path cut the beach into two halves. I have never seen so many volley ball nets on the beach. It was a field full of volley ball fields...This was probably the coldest Christmas Day they had for a long time. After looking around we found accommodation between Santa Monica and Venice Beach. It started to rain in the afternoon. Santa Monica has 340 sunny days per year, it sounds like lots of fun in the sun.We had Christmas Turkey Jerky in the evening. Ha ha! But then we got hungry again and went for a walk, food hunting. Everything was closed, but a little pizza place was open... it was good pizza. The name of the place was : "Eat Love." We also saw some people having their Christmas meal at Mc Donalds. People are different. The walk was so nice. Everybody was at home probably eating turkey and we went for a walk into the unknown. We are going to spend our time here in Santa Monica until the 29th December, then we fly to Hawaii.... to see my family and to cycle around the island... Our family hasn't been together for more than 4 years. I am so excited! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Resume: Malibu-Santa Monica, 27km, 16-22 degrees, raining, strong tailwind.
LINK: Photos 136-145
29. December 08, California
We had some really nice days in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. The wind disappeard, blue sky. There are so many people on bikes, skates, recumbants and roller blades here at the promenade. We also saw some people on a little moving platform on wheels, they used it to get around. We explored Venice Beach... lots of crazy shops and crazy people. There was a man asking for money. He held a sign up: "Get me high"... We passed pipe stores and once in a while you could smell pot. It seems that everybody does what he wants, nobody really cares. It is a crazy place. Lots of Obama t-shirts were displayed in shops. Especially for the black people it must be so amazing to have Obama as a president. There appeares to be a tremendous sense of excitement surrounding his presidency, with so much hope for the future that things will be different. We passed a bar, it was happy hour. Now I finally knew why I felt so incredibly happy. Ha ha! We observed the people. Lots of different people... There was a black man on his roller blades playing his drums. You could still hear him for quite a while after he long passed us. People on bikes and skate boards were getting pulled by their dogs. A woman on her bike had her little doggy in the basket on the top of the handle bar. We saw a Christmas tree made of shopping trolleys... Can you believe it? We saw somebody on an electric skate board, having a remote control in his hand... Yesterday we got our bikes boxed in a bike shop and we carried them to our accommodation nearby. We probably looked like bike thieves. We packed our gear and got up at 6.30 this morning, on our way to Maui... I still cannot believe this. We thought about cycling there but we haven't figured out yet how to cycle on water. Today we will see my family. Yay!
Resume: 3 days rest in Santa Monica.
LINK: Photos 146-170, videos 019-022