Spent the past couple of nights in Morro Bay at the home of my friends Barbara & Bob, whom I met decades ago when Barbara was the mayor of the city of Redondo Beach, California. We’re all vintage now. They bought a vacation home in Morro Bay way back then, and more recently bought another, larger house, just a few doors down. They sold their place in Redondo and live here full-time now, both of them retired. Barb’s mom lives in the original vacation home down the street, while their daughter Cynthia and her son Ryan live with them, all cozy.
Ryan is a fun and rambunctious 2nd-grader who likes music and is learning to play drums. Perfect for absorbing some of that energy.
This morning I decided to take a ride from Morro Bay north to Cayucos, then inland up Old Creek Road past Whale Rock reservoir. I’ve done the ride up Old Creek Road twice before, the first time being when I was attending the Great Western Bike Rally, probably in 1990. At that time I was riding my first decent road bike, a Centurion Ironman Master, with a wild paint job of whipped fuschia over a metallic white base. I think that the lowest gear was a 42×25. On the ride that day I had spent the whole time chasing a more experienced rider. We headed south from Paso Robles to Atascadero, over the hills to the coast at Morro Bay, then north to Cayucos and up Old Creek Road. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I was much younger and much stronger than now, bring it on.
Old Creek has some fair pitches getting up past Whale Rock Reservoir, then the road narrows as it passes avocado ranches and the slopes start getting radically steeper. I was trying to stay with this fellow, but on one particularly brutal switchback he laid down some V and just rode away from me. I was toasted.
The next time I went up Old Creek was perhaps 7 years later, again as part of the Great Western Bike Rallye, but I was riding with some chums from the South Bay Wheelmen club – Greg Aden (now a USA Cycling race official), Kelly Kobayashi (who was riding a frame of his own design and manufacture), and the late, lamented Hank Meier. I was also a bit older and wiser, riding an aluminum/ceramic Specialized M2 Pro with a 39 front ring, the better to climb with. This time I didn’t get toasted, but I wasn’t chasing anyone. I had more years and experience in my legs, so my pals were chasing me and I got to set the pace.
Today, on the way to Old Creek once again, I am much older and wiser. Riding a titanium frame with a triple crankset, lowest gear probably a 30×27. Planning to take it EASY, just get up the hill without going into the red zone. After all, I’m vintage. I started at the surf beach just north of Morro Rock where I met a young lady named Pearl from Astoria, Oregon. She was standing next to her fully loaded touring bike looking at a map. I walked over and started talking with her and checking out her gear. Her bike was a vintage steel lugged frame with downtube shifters, probably older than she was, but all the bags were new Nashbar models.
She was headed south to San Diego and asked where I was headed. I told her I was heading to the Hosteling International Bridge Street Inn in Cambria, and she just broke out laughing. She had just come from there, and asked me if I could take something back there with me. She had accidentally taken one of the towels from the hostel and could I please return it for her?
In the parking lot at the surf beach there was more vintage action. A lovely and mint old VW van, early 60’s I’m guessing, possibly even late 50’s. An early 80’s Fiat Spyder from Washington state, if it made it this far the driver is either a mechanic or has one on retainer. Just up the road an early 70’s Volvo P1800 with wooden teardrop trailer hitched behind.
I pedaled north on California 1 from Morro Bay to Cayucos and then inland when I got to Old Creek Road. Up and up some more, eventually to the crest, then back down. A bit breezy at times, but otherwise nearly perfect weather.