Pacific Coast: Monterey, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo

My blogging workflow: Write article on tablet, offline. Copy pictures from camera to tablet. Insert pictures to article. Go into a town, find wi-fi. Open article to upload. Stare at blank article. Oh well, write it again, I guess. It’s not so bad though. Second time around, I’m like, maybe I shouldn’t have said that, and type something else, arguably better. Life should have been like that…

image

I’m still riding among farm fields. Salsa and merenge tunes fill the morning air, workers with wide brim hats moving through rows of strawberry patches, maybe once in a while slurp down a few juicy ones? Why not? Boy, am I hungry again… The book says I must turn right on an unmarked road. Fifteen minutes later it turns out, that road now has a name. After some dirt roads, I’m back on highway and stop at a roadside fruit stand. Have you ever eaten a kiwi so delicious you don’t have to peel it? You can buy 10 for $1 at Moss Landing.

image

A van driver recommends a side road and I’m off the highway for a while. Entering into Monterey takes long following designated bike paths. Veteran’s Memorial Park appears right in downtown on map but it’s very hard to get to, through a series of switchbacks that climb above the city. Bike crowd is large here. I walk to town and spend a few hours in the library. When hunger hits, I run to the fishermans wharf to get fish & chips. The man serving me keeps calling me ‘papa’.

image

Monterey is fully geared towards the tourist crowd. A driver asks me where the closest parking is; I wish I knew. All roads lead to either the aquarium or the cannery. Next morning I pack up and leave early again. I have some breakfast while waiting for Whole Foods to open at Del Monte Shopping Center. Bike path signs lead me to some weird road named Aguajito and a few miles later I am checking my direction on a compass. I am glad I’ve been around here before, because now I can get lost faster. Second car I wave at slows down. Does this road lead to Hwy 1? After a terrifying hesitation the man on the wheel says, yes, it does. After a bunch of hills and tight turns I do reach the highway, barely out of Monterey, next to Carmel-by-the-sea.

image

Point Lobos park entrance is already crowded with car line up almost touching the highway. If you visit around here, do yourself a favor and skip the “17-mile drive” and spend more time in Point Lobos instead. Along with the Saturday crowd, Big Sur begins. The fog opens up later and wild coast shows its face once more. Tailwind is strong, helping me keep up with some road runners. Before Pfeiffer State Park, I find a gas station to refill my fuel bottle. The signage claims the next gas station is 22 miles away, but a Chevron sign appears right after the bend.

image

A few cyclists I met in Monterrey are also here. The site is among giant redwoods, with the Big Sur river running low nearby. Children hop on the river rocks, swing on riverside tree branches. Right out of Pfeiffer there is a big climb to 1000ft. There is no fog or cloud, sending the temperatures to over 90F. When I arrive at Plaskett campground, it’s around noon, and apparently there is a ‘jade festival’ going on. Car and people traffic is overwhelming forcing me to just keep going. My water bottles run almost dry before I find a restroom to fill up. All of a sudden, the road on high ridge descend into San Simeon, an arid and open space. Elephant seal view point is crowded, seals lying on the beach as usual. Westerly wind picks up sending waves on to the road and people are stopping to take picture of the spectacle.

image

Never ending, twisting, curving road with no shoulders when I need it the most. Tourists watching hundreds of pelicans fishing on the shore: “why are they doing this, do you know?”; the man urging me to stop and when I do, pointing at the creek down below: “look at the DUCKS!, what are they doing?”. Goodbye Big Sur, once again.

29 days, 1482 miles.

pc6View the full route

2014-10-10 Veterans’ Memorial Park 37 03:32
2014-10-11 Pfeifer SP 43 04:14
2014-10-12 San Simeon SP 68 07:10