Mini Touring, Day 3

Today’s our big day on the bike. Remember, this mini tour is all about short distances between bike-friendly accommodations. Our destination is the retro Santa Maria Inn, 27 miles south.

Winds have been strong the past few days. The tailwinds are appreciated, but winds coming off the Oceano Dunes Natural Preserve create a hazardous mix of dusty air pollution. We depart the Dolphin Bay Resort at 7am to get a jump on the afternoon winds.

Breakfast in Grover Beach at the Station Grill seems ideally timed. We cut into downtown and off Hwy 1 for the next few miles.

The Nipomo Mesa

Today’s big ride event is climbing up onto the Nipomo Mesa. Instead of following my GPS we cut off on S. Halcyon Road to make a frontal assault on the climb up. It’s steep and narrow, but blessedly short – we’re walking our bikes uphill while cars fly by.

The next few hours pass uneventfully and by 10:30am we’re checking in – a little ahead of schedule. Our room is available and bikes are ok in the room. We have hours to explore downtown Santa Maria before the Bici Centro open house at 4:30pm. Fortunately, the hotel is surrounded by Santa Maria’s best restaurants…

An early start to avoid the Dunes afternoon unhealthy air quality
Tailwinds can only help so much – S. Halcyon Road is steep
Santa Maria's agricultural economy
Tailwinds on Oso Flaco Lake Rd
Guadalupe ahead – light traffic and good pavement
The Fox and Hound theme of the Santa Maria Inn
Santa Maria's frail economy – agriculture and retail

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