. Up & down hills with the spray from the cars making visibility even harder, after miles we could see a town on the distance, Guadalupe. Heaven a motel - forget it, just run down shops and shabby houses but then we see a Laundromat & go in to ask where the nearest hotel is, trouble is the first couple of people I ask don't speak English. The girl behind the counter is really nice & tells us there are hotels in Santa Maria, trouble is it's not really the way we want to go. Decide to strip off our wet & muddy clothes (wet through to underwear) and wash & dry them and hope for the rain to stop - before you have visions of Nick Kayman - there was a very clean toilet there. There was also internet & when we checked there were only hotels at Santa Maria (9.5 miles) or where we had been heading Lompoc (27 miles) a no brainer, Santa Maria here we come. After lots of chat with the locals, lots of snacks from the vending machine everything was washed & dried, even our shoes. Makes you feel really bad though as everybody in there was Mexican, I suppose they mostly work in the fields, it seems such a contrast with the huge houses we've seen the last few days. Eventually we have to leave even though it's still raining but thankfully much lighter & off to the Travelodge we've just booked, those 9..5 miles are really hard going though as they're is such a strong headwind but the plastic bags we've put over our socks are keeping the feet warm at least. It's the longest straightest road I've ever seen with signs to keep headlights on during the day, not sure if it's ever going to end. Finally signs of life & we see the Santa Maria City Limits sign, turn right into town but TomTom still says 3 miles to hotel. It's a sprawling shabby place all shops signs seem to be in Spanish! We see a Walmart at one junction so stop & buy some beer & wine - we need it and at last come to the hotel and tonight our room is really nice, the hugest bed yet plus room inside for (muddy) bikes. Have a few beers & shower then go down the road to a Mexican restaurant, owners son tells us it's been there since the 60s & is famous for its food (we didn't think it was that great) he was really nice & was a cyclist and so told us the best route to take tomorrow. Back to watch movie 'this is 40' write blog & sleep.
Ok so left the flea pit at 8.45 and cycled along route one till we got to Grover Beach & came to Old West Cinnamon Rolls so stopped for a coffee & cinnamon roll (that's all they sold!) in the sun outside then off again. Nice easy cycling going a little more inland now, lots of RV & camping parks - the forecast had said rain after midday but the sky looked ominous & it was still 40 miles to Lompoc where we were headed. It looked very much as if we'd left the rich beach areas and were in the poorer and shabbier areas now. It started to spit with rain but then got heavier, stopped to put on rain jacket & another cyclist told us it was heading our way. We had seen in a guide book at the hotel that there were huge sand dunes here and after walking up the steepest hill we could see them over towards the coast on our right. Then the rain got really heavy, it felt like the icy snow feels on you face when you're skiing, really painful. The road stretched out in front for miles with no sign of any towns, couldn't even see through my glasses, it was now real farmland with broccoli fields as far as the eye could see