August 7, 2022 on

Day 64 – California Dreamin’

Dry pack up at Refugio this morning.

I may repeat such little details so much that you’re saying to yourself, “Enough!”, but small things mean a lot out here on the road when everything you have fits into four rather small satchels attached to your bike. At dinner last night John commented that when asked what he learned from the trip he’d say, “You don’t need very much, and simple little things mean a lot and can make you very happy.” Things like a dry tent; a real brewed coffee; a tailwind; a shower that you don’t have to feed quarters; a cheap beer, a night on a yacht.

Yes, you read that correctly. A night on a yacht. John and Luke we’re climbing the first big climb on the way to Refugio, when they saw a shirtless cyclist on a mountain bike going the other way. He waved and came over and asked where they were heading and where they rode from – basic questions we get all the time*. As he started to take off, John caught up to him and asked for Mexican Restaurant recommendations where we were headed. The conversation deepened and Liberty (his real name) asked where they were staying. “McGrath Beach.” “Oh, that’s closed,” (due to flooding). “I have a yacht in Oxnard. You can stay there.” Being the great guys they are, John & Luke included Harald and me and asked if they could bring two friends. “Sure”, Liberty replied, and gave them his number and the name of his neighbor. “I’ll call him and let him know you’re coming. He’ll take care of you.”

John & Luke told me this when I caught up with them at lunch. None of us really believed it, but plan B wasn’t a great option so we put our still skeptical faith in Liberty and his 45′ yacht. At camp that evening, John gathered Harald and Elise, who we had camped with the two previous nights. (Simon stayed for a rest day at the Doty ranch.) John had put a call in to Liberty to make sure a fifth person was ok. “Yes, the boat sleeps 6 and I’ve had parties with 30 people, ” was the reply. John continued, “We have a place to stay tomorrow”, and told them the story. Their disbelief was as palatable as ours, but also as excited as the possibility as John, Luke, and me.

Luke and John took off shortly after Harald so they could get to the Marina to make sure everything was copacetic before we all got there. I stopped at a McDs for some coffee, etc. and wrote yesterday’s blog entry so I was about an hour behind the others. I got a text from John that everything was good they were in and on the boat.

The group was kind enough to assign me, based on my advanced age (cough, cough), to the captain’s quarters, which had a queen size bed and its own head. The other accommodations were four bunks with a shared head in the bow, a pretty spacious dining/sitting area, and a galley with a oven, microwave, range top, a coffee maker, and refrigerator freezer. We left our bikes in front of the boat, and put our panniers on the aft deck. A bonus was a playable guitar, an nylon stringed classical.

We made a quick trip to Aldi’s where we picked up a couple of pizzas, wine, beer and other provisions for the next day. Back on the yacht, Luke heated the pizzas and we had a nice little feast and reveled in not having to set up camp. After that, we sat out on the aft deck and I played every song I could remember with Luke accompanying on harmonicas, and John singing along. It was a great and somewhat surreal experience and escape from a normal day of touring.

* – Same questions I got when I stopped in a 7-11 in Santa Barbara. John had just texted me that the boat was legit and they all were there. The questioner turned out to be the author of this book: Freedom: A Guide to Touring California Backroads on a Budget. He had a boundless love of bicycles and touring . While we probably could have talked for hours, we chatted for about ten minutes when I told him that my friends secured a yacht for us to stay on and were waiting for me. “Go! Go! I totally get that! Go!”


  1. Kathy

    A Trawler!!

  2. Hendrika Spykerman

    What a trip. And what a coincidence to meet Liberty. As I said before, things happen for a reason:”You all needed a bed”. The perfect place to relax and a real toilet!
    I would have loved to be there with you all. Great music as well. Keep peddling and safe travels

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