Breakfast went more or less as normal. Some of the riders/roadies had rain ponchos, many had macgyvered rain gear made of garbage bags and the like. I overheard a few of the riders saying they were excited to ride in the rain for the first time . . . which set off alarm bells in my head. Riding in the rain is not fun nor easy. It's something best practiced on a much shorter ride to get the hang of it. Many other riders were deciding to SAG that day wisely due to their lack of experience. Near the end of breakfast it had mostly stopped raining and I went off to pack up my tent. Honestly at that point I almost wished my tent had been washed away so I wouldn't have to deal with it. I had my wallet and cellphone and clothes on my back, I could make it with just that for another day or two!! Well my tent was still there, and only half my stuff was soaked. Claire my neighbor and fellow food service teammate was there to help! She lent me a "shamwow" like towel to mop out the inside of my tent. I put my wet clothes in a plastic garbage bag I'd gotten from the catering folks and packed up the rest. There was much moaning and gnashing of teeth in the tent city, but lots and lots of folks were pitching in and helping one another out as well, an aspect of the ride I'd gotten used to by now.
I dropped off my stuff to the gear truck and went back to wait with the other food service roadies. As I usually do when I'm killing time I logged in to Facebook and Twitter on my phone, and it was from a Twitter friend on the East Coast that I first heard the rumor that they were going to cancel the ride for the day due to the rain and the overall conditions of the road. Twitter rumors were officially confirmed soon after. CHP had called off the ride that morning, due to bad road conditions, particularly the part of the ride that had to go on US 101 that day.
Once the cancellation was announced I really started to feel for the organizers of the ride. This is something that has never happened before. We were told to hang tight and they would keep us posted as to developments. Idle hands being the devil's work, I decided to entertain my fellow food service workers by seeing if I could get them to join me and unionize! Our hours were more than a little insane, and well our pay was actually non-existent! (OK as volunteers we couldn't really complain about pay, but those hours for sure!) Betsy, Sheriann, Mary, and David jumped on board right away. David even made an anonymous yes/no union vote card for us to fill out and came up with the name United Fruit Basket Workers, the good ol UFBW! While we were doing that ALC organizers were doing the impossible. Getting 3000+ people from Lompoc to Ventura. Yikes!!!
We waited around and they announced that we were going to help them serve lunch to the all the stranded riders with us in Lompoc. Great I thought, no rest for us. Breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! We needed our union more than ever. But there was nothing for it, might as well help out. Lunch arrived on a truck, and they asked us to unload. I was very annoyed since they didn't ask the riders lazing all around us to help unload. To the riders credit they saw us starting to unload and pushed many of us out of the way to do it for us. (By the time we'd gotten to Ventura the powers that be had gotten over their reluctance to ask the riders to help.) Lunch was served quickly.
Afterward the food service team got rides to Ventura from the sweep teams. I'd seen the sweep teams wearing their tshirts in camp and just assumed they were part of the cleanup team. Not so! They drive private cars with bike racks up and down the route and "sweep" up riders from the route who for whatever reason can't go on. Our drivers were Wilma and Tim from Hercules, CA. They were impressed that we'd actually heard of their town, but I'd driven through it a zillion times on my way in and out of the Bay Area on 80. Our drive to Ventura was particularly beautiful, though it was obvious this was also one of the most dangerous parts of the ride. US 101 and CA 1 join up and the riders would have been forced to ride along a busy 4 lane freeway in the rain, so it was for the best that it got cancelled.
The camp at Ventura was perfect! Right on the beach. I laid out my clothes and tent in the warm sun to dry them, and spent most of my afternoon trying to catch up on my blog. After a very easy going dinner (our last supper) it was time for the candlelight vigil. My friend Matt from the water and ice team joined me along with his co-captain Bud. We all went out to the beach in silence with our candles to remember why we were all on this ride to begin with. Bud made us grab a bunch of napkins since he predicted that he would get a bit weepy on the beach. I wasn't sure how I would react. On the way out to the beach Matt macgyvered a protector for his candle from a chocolate milk carton he'd just emptied. A wise move since it was next to impossible to keep a candle lit without one. On the beach, as he predicted, Bud needed his napkins; he and I both wound up clinging to Matt, who had consolidated his candle with Bud's inside the milk carton. Matt looked down and pointed out that the milk carton was starting to char from the 2 candles. I sensed that Bud needed something to break up his sadness so I quipped that Bud was burning the face off of some poor missing child on that milk carton. This was just the comic relief we all needed and the tears switched to laughter as it can sometimes do so easily. We may have gotten a few off looks from others on the beach, but at that point we all needed a giggle more than anything else! After the vigil we went to bed. Matt and Bud were princessing since their tents and gear were even more wet than mine was. (Princessing is when you opt to stay in local hotels instead of camping on the ride. There are a number of riders and roadies who do this, though few of them do it every night.)