Part One: Cruising
I purposely routed my course around the city of Salinas, and planned to get dinner in a town called East Garrison. When I rolled through and there was nothing there, I simply shrugged it off. "I have enough trail food to get me through mid-day tomorrow," I thought, having not given a whole lot of thought to exactly what food I was carrying with me or where my next food supply was actually going to come from. I thought I was carrying something in the range of 4,000 calories of high-calorie-density (i.e. junk) food. However, this was taking into account three king-size candy bars that I thought were in my pack, but which I actually accidentally left at home. I wouldn't discover this until I actually laid out all my food later that night, only to discover I was many miles from anywhere and 1,500 calories short.
I pulled out my paper maps to assess my bailout options. The closest community was Greenville, twenty miles away. I knew I couldn't manage forty miles of backtracking and still make my schedule by any stretch — it was already too ambitious as it was. If things went well for me the next day, I believed I would reach Highway 1 by mid-day and probably find some source of food along the highway. Using all kinds of creative justifications, I convinced myself 1,200 calories was probably enough. This delusion was harder to manage after I finished my sad dinner of two fig bars (220 calories) and still felt ravenously hungry. And yet, I still held on to this hope that I could make do.
I curled up in my bivy sack just as the wind started to blow with much more intensity. The temperature was probably in the mid-40s, and the windchill was just enough that I could feel a bite through my 40-degree sleeping bag. I snoozed for an hour or two before soft sprinkling woke me up, and managed to doze off for another couple of hours before I woke up to the feeling of cold water dripping through my hat, directly into my ear canal. At this point, rain was coming down hard. I managed to sleep through it long enough that water had soaked through my bivy sack, and also leaked in through the zipper, forming a large puddle around my head. Panic.
I wrestled out of the sleeping bag and dragged the whole damp mess over to the awning of the restroom. I tried all the doors another time and found the shower room was actually wedged open just a bit, and the deadbolt wasn't entirely set. I pulled with desperate force until I yanked the door free, opening the way to warm and dry shelter. Elation!
I rolled my bike inside and rearranged my wet gear on the floor. It was so clammy and cold that I couldn't fall back to sleep after that. I just shivered softly and listened the deluge outside, which occasionally strengthened into what sounded like marble-sized hail pounding the roof with a deafening clatter. I was glad to have shelter; if it hadn't been for a loose deadbolt, I would have had no choice but to escape to Greenville in the middle of the night. Despite my relief, I couldn't help but lay awake, nervously wondering what tomorrow would bring.