The SLO road to the coast - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

December 4, 2020

The SLO road to the coast

For today’s ride, we’re driving back to San Luis Obispo for another loop ride.  Two reasons for this.  First, as beautiful as the coastline is here we’re discovering that Edenic Edna valley has the most appealing cycling around.  Second, it gives us an excuse to stop in again at Cafe Roma, the restaurant we dined at and enjoyed before.  They’ll undoubtedly be closing any day now, so today could easily be our last chance.

We park the car by the SLO Amtrak station, cross the tracks, and cycle southeast out of town toward Orcutt Road on the SLO Railway Trail.  This is a beautiful path following the tracks out of town - much nicer than working our way through downtown, getting held up every few blocks by a traffic light.

A pistache, after the leaves have droppped. Still striking, in a whole different way.
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A myrtle warbler(?) scavenges beneath the pistache. Sorry it’s not clearer, but the silly thing wouldn’t come out of the shadows.
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Bill ShaneyfeltI agree.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yellow-rumped_Warbler/media-browser/472204

Nice to have great online info. to help ID all the little brown birds that look almost alike, and are so variable!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltThey are variable, alright. Worse than the hawks. I ended up on this because it looked the least unlike this species.
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1 month ago
The overpass across the tracks at the SLO Amtrak station. Great fun switchbacking up and down, watching around each hairpin for oncoming traffic.
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Our ride begins with a mile and a half on the SLO Railway Trail. Very nice. SLO is an attractive place and very bike friendly. If we come through this region again we’d probably stay here rather than on the coast.
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Leaving SLO, on Orcutt Road again. Not the plan we started out with exactly, but we’re biking the route in reverse of what we’d intended.
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Edna Valley again - wow.  You saw this just two days ago, so I won’t say more about it now.  We’d be out here all the time if we lived here, I’m sure.  

Video sound track: Over the Hill, by John Hiatt

Looking north up Edna Valley to Islam Peak from Biddle Road.
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Still on Biddle Road, looking a bit more to the west.
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An interesting look. This is the historic Old Edna building, now a deli and wine tasting room for Sextant winery. Allegedly a popular stop for Edna Valley cyclists.
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Eastbound on Corbett Canyon Road. We biked here in the other direction two days ago, but it’s even prettier this way. Hey - does anyone know what that box on a post is? We see them all along the road here.
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James FitchHard to say for sure, but it looks a lot like an owl box, erected by farmers to encourage barn owls to nest and hunt vermin.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo James FitchOh, good. I hoped someone would speak up on this. This looks right. The website of one of the vineyards states that they have erected owl boxes for exactly this purpose. I’ve never heard of this practice. Thanks!
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1 month ago
Along Corbett Canyon Road.
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Along Corbett Canyon Road.
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Mendicants hope for a share of our lunch, enjoyed on the roadside shoulder at the corner of Bramble and Verde Canyon.
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Also keeping us company during lunch is this Say’s phoebe. This is quite a good birding area, at least in this season.
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From the east end of Edna Valley we drop toward the cost along Arroyo Grande Creek.   We’ve been here before also, but this time we take a few minutes to browse the highlights of Arroyo Grande itself.  Small, but attractive.  There’s lodging here, so you could use this as a base too.  It’s right at the base of Huasna Road, with Lake Lopez and Edna Valley just a few miles inland.  With Pismo Beach just a few miles away, you’d be spoiled for choice on a short break.

In Arroyo Grande, crossing the creek on the historic swinging bridge. Built in about 875, rebuilt after suffering extensive storm damage in 1995. The original bridge was built without sides until they were added in 1902, which is scary to contemplate. It creaks and sways as you cross - I almost took a video.
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Looking back. The white sign on the right is a Covid caution - it says to maintain a personal spacing of at least six roosters.
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In Arroyo Grande, the old Santa Manuela schoolhouse, now a museum for the historical society.
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The Rotary Club dance pavilion in Heritage Square Park. Sounds like the ideal venue for round dances.
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Bringing in the crops, near Arroyo Grande.
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Another look at the rich farmlands at the mouth of Arroyo Grande, with the town in the distance. I remember this spot from when we biked from San Jose to Santa Barbara 12 years ago.
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We end the ride by following the Pacific Coast Bike Route back to SLO: up the coast through Pismo Beach and Shell Beach, then inland through a gap in the hills on a quiet road that parallels Highway 101.  It’s a decent ride and more pleasant than we expected, but we don’t stop to look around.  Our dinner reservation is at 4, and we don’t want to be late.  We arrive in the parking lot at 3:58, toss the bikes in the car, and head to dinner.

It’s a fine last meal, seated outdoors of course with the nearest diners about 40 feet away.  We’re greeted and served by Roxandra, the personable young Romanian waitress from before.  Roxandra is great - witty, open, a bit of a flirt.  She does a double take when I return from the restroom after changing out of my bike clothes, expressing surprise that there’s a third person in the party.  We’re glad we made it back, and Rachael is really happy to have a second serving of salmon with fava bean purée.  Enjoy it while we can.

Just outside of SLO, this is the Octagon Barn, built in 1906 by dairy farmers. Now an event venue.
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Suzanne GibsonCan't square dance here either...
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyTo Suzanne GibsonIf a round dance is done in a square
While eating a chocolate eclair
Then where's the square dance?
If we have a chance
To get off of our round derriere?
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonOn the other hand, there are eight dancers in a square. Sounds perfect.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThe return of the limericks! She’s been missed.
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1 month ago
Ron SuchanekTo Scott AndersonJen is widely known as the Nipsey Russell of the cycle touring world.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekOh, right. Make me do some research. I’d never heard of Nipsey before.
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1 month ago
Back again, just in time for supper. Cafe Roma opens in two minutes, and is expecting us.
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Ride stats today: 41 miles, 1,800’; for the tour: 492 miles, 14,500’

Today's ride: 41 miles (66 km)
Total: 534 miles (859 km)

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