The Lucky Seven MeetUp Riders convened to take a Pico Tour of Nipomo.
Local endurance rider Stormy Knight and her personable Arabian Pico were our guides. Stormy is passionate about the possibilities for recreational riding in the area, and enthusiastic to show others the trails she frequents.
In the lifetime of several of the riders this entire area was undeveloped eucalyptus groves. Their girlhood passion was to ride wildly through the forests, jumping fallen trees, living the rural life. Now they are ladies of a certain age, and the trails run between golf courses and developments of stucco houses.
We parked the rigs at the water treatment plant, and Mosca the Horse Fly had a chance to confer with Tobe Mule about the day's route while observing the ducks floating on the ponds.
The trails run along streets, but because it was designed as an equestrian community from the beginning the trails are well maintained sand, often with fencing separating them from the car traffic. In many places cement bikeways/walkways run alongside, providing separate areas for all modes of transportation.
Visible on the edge of the horizon are the dunes and the Pacific Ocean, and the fresh onshore breeze makes riding here delightful. This road is the Cabrillo Highway, state Hwy 1.
We were accompanied for the entire 5.7 mile ride by Julian Watkins and his dog Savannah. He took many photos of us as we traveled. Thank you!
Because the eucalyptus trees are home to Monarch butterflies for part of the year, many of the trails are adjacent to their habitat and signposted to be careful not to disturb them.
And then there are the houses in between the little vanity vineyards that serve as front yards.
To my astonishment I saw that on most of these little vine covered slopes the grapes had obviously not been harvested. Bunches of withered grapes were lying on the ground under the vines, covered in wasps sucking up the sweet juice. The vines are all serviced by drip lines, and look quite healthy. Can they really be just for show and never harvested?
So here's the view, if you owned that McMansion on the hill with the vineyard slope front yard. The whole valley filled with ticky-tacky stucco houses and condos, edged by a golf course, with one stand of eucalyptus remaining in the center.
In several places I saw these ceramic owls on the fences around the golf courses.
But all good things must come to an end. We rode 5.74 miles in 2.5 hours, a route that Pico can trot when traveling alone in half that time! But he and his Mistress graciously led us at a walking pace today.
Here are the photos of the participants:
and Pico Arabian
and Marcos Andalusian
and Oberon Gypsy Vanner
and Mosca Thoroughbred
and Jake Quarterhorse
and Braxton Vanner
And of course the MeetUp Mistrex
and Tobe Mule.
"Eucalypts are unusual in this respect: set pendulously their leaves
allow see-through foliage which in turn produces a frail patterned sort
of shade, if at all. Clarity, lack of darkness - these might be called 'eucalyptus qualities'.”