“I need an hour with everyone to take care of something,” said Jessica Lah, an artist and our lead guide the last evening, in Ballard.
The day was already chaotic, our one night having dinner on our own. Most of us were going to Los Olivos. But Tracy and Patrice opted out.
And after two or three days of slim to no cell reception, we are all hustling to get ourselves organized to get home. Where is Patrice’s husband going pick her up? Five of us are set for a 6:00 train from Santa Barbara, but can we make the 4:00 train? Right Doug and Cristina were going to stay and a hotel for a couple nights, but Silvia offered to host them instead.
“It’s probably about the socks!”
Don’t remember who said it, but having been on several of these trips, we know that the last day we get a pair of Bicycle Adventures cycling socks.
The next morning after breakfast we all collected before riding.
“I mentioned to you that I’m always painting. Whatever I’m doing, I’m also painting,” said Jessica.
It wasn’t socks we were getting: it was paintings!
“Doug,” she said, “I remember the day I rode up behind you and you were cranking up a hill, head down. Cranking cranking. ‘Look around,’ I said, ‘look at the view.’ Here is that view.”
She placed a little painting of that view on the table.
For Nancy, it was Cassanova, the darling restaurant where we ate in Carmel. For Cristina, it was the view of Pismo beach where we sat at sunset.
We were just blown away, as she told little stories about each of us and what having us along meant for the trip.
Leaders and guides are so important on a trip like this. Not just for logistics and changing tires…although they take care of that too…but for setting the tone. Before we left she asked each of us if there were special snacks or requests. I want to help you “get you out of the land of decision-making,” as Jessica put it. Every aspect of the trip is creative. Even Jessica’s clothes, instead of regular bike jerseys, she tailors vintage Hawaiian shirts into biking tops, complete with pockets made of the extra material.
If you’re tired and need a boost up a hill, there is that. If your bike seat is uncomfortable, you can swap it out. But more than that, it’s the feel of things, it’s making everything easy. She and Spencer and Jeff, kept us comfortable and made it all look easy.
And all the while she was making paintings for us!
I was not the only one in tears that morning.
As the original Biker Chick with Laurie S.—who couldn’t be here this time—she Jessica had seen me once near a “share the road” sign, and that is my painting.
Amazing last day. Amazing paintings and great group.
All of this.
And socks too!