Secret Spots

I’m not a big fan of HOAs. It just seems like a waste of money when I can cut my own grass and paint my own eaves. Perhaps as I get even older and want to save my dwindling stores of energy for cycling and open mikes I will come to appreciate them more. But for now my hand twitches every month when I am writing the check.

A few days ago was my first opportunity to attend an HOA meeting that covers the property I purchased in Templeton CA earlier this year. Since I am making that payment every month, I decided to go to the meeting in order to meet the managers, the board of directors, and perhaps some other residents. So I took a quick trip north from Redondo Beach, bringing along my Litespeed road bike with the idea of doing two rides with the San Luis Obispo Bicycling Club.

I left early on a Tuesday morning at 5:30am, already partially kitted up, not knowing if I would have an opportunity to change clothes at the ride start. Zoomed north on US 101 without much hindrance. The Tuesday morning ride is scheduled to start at 9:00am from the Nazarene El Morro church in Los Osos, near Morro Bay. With minimal traffic and no stops along the way, I can make it to Templeton in 3.5 hours. Los Osos is closer, so I figured the timing was OK.


The reality was that the last 5 miles goofed it up. I made it to the Los Osos Valley Parkway exit from US 101 with 15 minutes to spare. Just enough time to drive west on the parkway to the church, pull out my bike and complete getting kitted up for the ride. But BAM! – there was a road crew getting set up for their day of labor where the parkway narrows from four lanes to two and it was further narrowed to one lane by orange cones. There were flag men with radios managing the traffic flow over that one lane. Most of the traffic was flowing against me, people commuting from Los Osos and Baywood to the 101 and on to their jobs. So I sat there for 10 minutes not moving, watching the dashboard clock tick toward the 9am ride start.

Finally we got moving and beyond the construction zone, but there were slow drivers ahead of me and I was unable to pass because of oncoming traffic, my impatience growing. The clock rolled over 9am and I still was not quite there, hopefully they run late. Arrrrrgggghhhhh! Just as I am getting close to the church I see a group of cyclists pull out onto the road and start pacelining away. Asking them to stop and wait for me would be poor form – as I mentioned a few posts back, “your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

Meh. Implement alternative plan…

So I drove to Morro Bay State Park where 1) I can park along the road for free outside of the campground, the parking spots are actually 2) right next to a park restroom and 3) there are plenty of shade trees. This is a very good place to start a ride for those three reasons. Not to mention being scenically located right at the Bayside marina on the Morro Bay estuary with the Bayside Cafe just a short walk away. Secret spot #1.

Headed north on a solo ride through Morro Bay, along PCH to Cayucos, then inland up Old Creek Road, just like I did the last time I was here. Right where the canyon narrows and the road starts to get steeper, I came up behind a couple on a Bike Friday tandem. FYI, Bike Friday bikes fold and break down small enough to fit in suitcases, great for travel.

Al and Charlie were part of a larger riding group strung out on the road, some behind me and maybe some ahead. The group is an informal collection of friends who live in various places in California and get together twice each year to do rides together, the central coast being one of the gathering locations. I was heading up to the crest of Old Creek Road and then back down and return to Morro Bay, but their group was planning to keep going over the crest, onward to Cal 46, then west on 46 back to the coast and south to Cayucos where they would meet for lunch at a local BBQ place called “Ruddell’s”. They recommended the cuisine there and I said I’d try to join them after my ride.

Back down I went, speeding on the descent to PCH, and then back to Morro Bay State Park. I put my bike in the car and then drove to secret spot #2, which is the shower patio at the surf beach next to Morro Rock. There is a restroom building there with outdoor showers for surfers, and most importantly, one of the shower heads is mounted low to rinse off dogs that have been playing in the surf and the water coming out of this shower head is WARM.

Dog shower in Morro Bay

Dog shower in Morro Bay

I stripped down to bike shorts and plastic sandals, showered off, then dried and dressed in the restroom. Next, onward to Cayucos and Ruddell’s BBQ. Cayucos is a small town, and my new friends said the BBQ place was right at the beach. I just drove to the likeliest spot and there it was. The cycling folks, including Al and Charlie, were just arriving.

Ruddell’s Smokehouse is a tiny place with no indoor seating. You queue up to the counter inside and place your order, often the line goes out the door. I ordered a smoked shrimp taco and a smoked salmon taco, along with a lemonade, then joined the group at a large table outside. Ten minutes and lots of conversation later, my tacos arrived and they were huge and very, very tasty. I’ll be back, it’s secret spot #3 on the day. Here are Al and Charlie with their BF tandem in front of Ruddell’s:

Al and Charlie at Ruddell's

Al and Charlie at Ruddell’s

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