A quick internet search has revealed that on the Californian central coast someone was killed by a coyote pack, and another by a cougar...
Luckily Sam did the search after we camped...
During the night I also recalled a story I'd seen on TV in the lead up to Halloween, about a group of three friends driving late at night who stopped to pick up a hitchhiker. The guy got in and didn't say anything. As they pulled away the driver started chatting... he looked in the rearview mirror - but the guy had disappeared...
This hitchhiker ghost has apparently appeared on that highway many times. Somehow in the night I convinced myself we were on that highway, and if I opened my eyes to look outside the tent, he would be floating there...
Despite the howling coyotes and fears of ghostly visitations we managed eight hours sleep.
And despite four very tired legs, we set off in high spirits for what was to be our last day of riding before a well earned rest.
The air was warm and I was enjoying the sunshine. The road was fairly flat and we moved quickly, despite some occasionally blustery cross winds.
With about 20 miles to go we started riding uphill on highway 154. We were going past the beautiful Lake Cachuma, and now the sun was beating down.
The road kept on going up... we have no map so didn't know how far it would keep going. The road was fairly narrow, but there was a shoulder for most of the way so there was no pressure from cars.
It kept going for a long time, and topped at 680 metres, setting us up for the exhilarating ride down to beautiful, coastal Santa Barbara.
Some interesting info on the San Marcos Pass from the source of all knowledge, wikipedia:
A military expedition crossed the pass in a rainstorm on the night of December 24, 1846... 300 men sent to capture Santa Barbara, California, during the Mexican-American War.
In spite of losing 150 horses and mules, as well as cannon, which slid down the muddy slopes of the rough path, the men regrouped and captured the town without bloodshed, thereby securing the territory for the United States.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia