Bike for the Cure XX – Day 2 – Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz CA – May 29
Up about 5:00 a.m. Slept most of the night on a too short, too narrow uncomfortable couch but finished up on one of the pews in the sanctuary.
Our church contact Sandra arrived bright and early as we were packing up and eating breakfast. Her stories are so entertaining!
Got “on the road” about 7:15 a.m. after Sandra led a prayer for us. On the Cabrillo Highway all day (State Route 1). Blue skies; 59 degrees. As usual, I drove first with Charlotte riding. We pre-determined everyone wanted to stop 11.5 miles out, at San Gregorio State Beach. Of course, I got there first. Some pretty big hills for the 3 riders. Everyone was feeling a bit weary of hills. We determined to meet up another 10 miles down the road, at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse and State Park. It is 21 miles south of Half-Moon Bay. It is very picturesque, a lighthouse, on a rock promentory. It was built in 1871, and is 115 ft tall. It is the tallest lighthouse on the Pacific Coast, and named for the ship “Carrier Pigeon” which wrecked there in 1853. It now houses a hostel (which Charlotte, Amanda Adams, and I stayed in back in 2001, when we were riding from Vancouver BC to Tijuana MX.) (See Pictures)
Here is a poem called “The Lighthouse” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
“Steadfast, immovable, the same, Year after year, through all the silent night, Burns on forevermore, that quenched flame, Shines on that inextinguishable light.”
I started riding out of the grounds at Pigeon Point. Rode past Ano Nuevo State Park, 28 miles south of Half Moon Bay. It is the home to migrating elephant seals. They are furry brown sea mammals with fleshy protruding noses. They can weigh 800 – 2000 lbs. They come ashore to breed in the winter and return throughout the spring and summer in smaller numbers to molt and rest from their journeys. You have to take a long trail to the bluffs to see these amazing animals. We did not stop there for any wildlife viewing.
Our next rendezvous point was the Pie Ranch, a working farm, educational center and organization advocating for social change. It was started in 2005. Young people come there to apprentice for up to a year. We ate lunch in the shade. Mary Ann and Sherri each bought and consumed small pies. (See Pictures.)
I continued to ride into Santa Cruz County. Passed a beach with hang gliders soaring above the ocean. I rode about a 10 mile stint before Charlotte and I switched back to her riding and my driving the van. Stopped in a small town called Davenport, population less than 400. Quite the “hot spot” coastal oasis.
In the “home stretch” now, with about 10 more miles to our destination in Santa Cruz. I drove down the road awhile, got my bike ready to ride when Charlotte got there. I rode the last 4 miles to our destination in Santa Cruz, the United Methodist Church. This church hosted Charlotte, Amanda, and me in 2001. We got in about 3:15 pm.
Trustee Sherry welcomed us, showed us around, even provided pizza for dinner. Sherri/Mary Ann took the dirty clothes to a laundramat while Charlotte and I worked on e-mail messages.
Santa Cruz is a popular surfing mecca, even has a surfing museum. UC Santa Cruz is located here. Santa Cruz means “Holy Cross” in Spanish.
Total riding distance today was 46.5 miles. Cumulative miles for the two days is a little over 82 miles. Give or take. Not sure of the distances yesterday.
We are getting into our routines now, with two days under our belts.
Please continue to keep us riders in your thoughts and prayers. It’s not “easy” riding with the hills and traffic.
With love from the road, in Santa Cruz CA,
Bike for the Cure XX – Day 3 – Santa Cruz to Monterey CA (50 miles) – May 30
Up about 5:15 am. There were homeless people sleeping in the patio of the church. Every church we have stayed in so far offers help for the homeless. After a prayer, we left the church at 7:15 am. Slow going in traffic. A couple of wrong turns had to be rectified but we finally made it out of Santa Cruz via the Pacific Coast Bike Route.
Soquel is a bedroom community to Santa Cruz. Also passed through Aptos, a quaint, upscale town. Stopped at the Santa Cruz-Monterey KOA Campground for a break from riding, using the restroom, and having a snack. Weather was a bit cloudy with temps in the high 50’s. This area is a major farming community. Crops include strawberries, kale, brussel sprouts, and artichokes. Near Watsonville the route opens into acres and acres of strawberries. To conserve water, raised beds are covered in shiny gray plastic, with holes punched for the crops to grow through. Saw many people harvesting, running back to the truck with the strawberries they picked, and running back to pick more. They get paid for how much they pick.
The riders were riding on the shoulder of Highway 1. Lots of traffic speeding by.
The weather had really turned nasty, in the 50’s with a strong headwind. I hadn’t ridden all day; Charlotte was having too much fun riding. She bailed at 32 miles. After loading up Charlotte’s bike, we went back to a farm market and got some inexpensive kiwis and avocados for Sherri. Got off of Hwy. 1 (thank goodness). Then we drove a few miles to the Northern Terminus of the Monterey Peninsula Trail, which later becomes the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.
I rode the last 8 miles with Sherri and Mary Ann. The trail parallels Highway 1 for quite a few miles. Hwy 1 is a “freeway” through Monterey. There seems to be lots of bike trails here. This one went right by the Edgewater Shopping Center. We stopped in the parking lot of Target. Everyone was tired and cold so we loaded up Charlotte’s small frame bike inside the van and the rest on the bike rack on the back of the van.
Drove about 4 miles to St. John’s Chapel (Anglican). Greeted warmly by Church Secretary Cynthia and shown our accommodations in the “Bride’s Room.” A volunteer at the church made a $20 donation because she knew someone who had HD. This Church is located very near the prestigious Santa Catalina School, a private co-ed Catholic Facility. We went to the YMCA for free showers (which Charlotte had pre-arranged), returned to the Church, then Mary Ann/Sherri went to dinner at the Monterey Fish House. Sherri had crab ravioli and a crab cake. Mary Ann had prawn pasta with a white cream sauce. They said the food was delicious.
Got settled in for the evening. It’s a little tight with our bikes, sleeping on pads on the floor, a huge table in the middle of the room, and the room surrounded with stuffed chairs.
The route was 50 miles today, a little hillier than we realized. Our 3 day total is 138 miles. No sign of any “road change” yet.
Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. With love from the road, in picturesque Monterey,
Bike for the Cure XX – Day 4 – Monterey to Big Sur CA – May 31
Up at our now usual time (5:15 am) , ate breakfast, and loaded the van. We had decided to start riding from Fisherman’s Wharf. Bought gas for the van. 21.5 gallons was $82. Good thing we split expenses among the four of us!
Charlotte, Sherri, and Mary Ann started riding. I SAGged along approximately the same route and caught them a couple of times. At the start of the 17 Mile Drive, everyone needed a potty break, something warm to drink. So they left their bikes with me (waiting under a huge tree) and drove into the adjoining little town, got/did what they needed, then came back, got the bikes, and started riding. Mansions on dry side and unobstructed views of the rocky coastline in a continual ribbon of parkland on the wet side. It is the location of the Pebble Beach Golf Course, which Mary Ann has played. They passed the Lone Cypress, a solitary California cypress tree perched on a rocky promontory. Driving, I passed the Point Pinos lighthouse, which was built in 1853.
They got off the 17 Mile Drive in Carmel-by-the Sea. Mary Ann knew of a restaurant (Friar Tuck’s) at which she and Sherri wanted to eat their B2 (second breakfast). Blueberry pancakes – yum! We continued to ride, passing the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission. Some may be familiar with the California missions, others probably not. California was an area being colonized by Spain in the later 1700’s. 21 Adobe churches were built, each one a day’s walking journey from the next, from Southern to Northern CA, starting in 1770 (San Diego). It was an attempt to evangelize and re-culturalize the native Americans. This mission was the second of the missions. Father Junipero Serra was a Franciscan priest who headed up the effort. He ended up living and dying at the Carmel missiion. He was canonized a saint in the Roman Catholic Church in 2015.
Got onto State Route 1 riding South, towards our destination of Big Sur. It is still called the Cabrillo HIghway coming out of Carmel. We all smilled at the sign that said “Hills Curves next 63 miles) The title “Big Sur” came from the original Spanish “el pais grande del sur.” In 1915 English speaking people adopted the name. Big Sur is not a town. It is an area without formal boundaries although roughly it is between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon. It is sparsely populated with numerour state parks. Lillian Ross defined Big Sur as “not a place but a state of mind.” It is one of the most scenic driving routes in the world the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous US. It is a rugged section of the California Coast between Carmel and San Simeon. Terrain was mildly hilly, and pretty tough riding with sometimes small shoulders on the road, especially crossing the early 1930’s built bridges. My guess is that they were built by the CCC or WPA during the depression years.
When Charlotte, Mary Ann, and Sherri got to the overlook of the Bixby Creek Bridge and saw the hill they would have to climb on the other side, they decided they were through riding, so we loaded the bikes. I never got the chance to ride today. I will make sure I do get the chance tomorrow.
The iconic Bixby Creek Bridge was the highlight. There were little rodents begging for food near the parking area. I gave them some of my GORP. Newer bridges have adequate shoulders.
Pass Point Sur Lighthouse. A Navy dirigible, the USS Maron, sank in 1450 feet of water in Feb. 1935. Craft was nearly 800 feet andmade of an aluminum frame and cotton skin. It carried 4 scout planes which it could launch and recover with a trapeze mechanism, and traveled 80 mph.
Arrived at our destination about 3:10 or so. We drove past where we are staying to see some of the terrain ahead tomorrow, then returned to check in at the Big Sur River Inn which has comped us two lovely rooms. Walls are knotty pine, which gives it a cabinesque feel. Fairly new facility. We all appreciated the shower!
Total distance of the route was 42 miles, of which 32 was covered by bicycle and 10 driving to our destination.
Total route mileage is 180 miles. No “road change” yet.
With love from Big Sur,
Bike for the Cure XX – Day 5 – Big Sur to Cambria – June 1
The long awaited day of the unknown … Left Big Sur River Inn with everyone in the van, and bikes still loaded. The gals didn’t want to ride up a long hill so we drove up, then Mary Ann, Sherri, and Charlotte unloaded their bikes and started the 22 or so hilly miles South to Lucia. Lucia just has one main building on the highway, a grocery store and gift shop. When the Mud Springs and another mudslide occurred, it totally isolated Lucia from both north and south. For seven months food, supplies, etc. had to be helicoptered in. The gal in the store said business is at only about 30% of normal as a result of the road closure South of Lucia.
The detour starts near Limekiln State Park entrance. It is the Nacemiento-Ferguson Road (NM Rd), 1 1/2 lanes, no shoulder, curves. It is a 97 mile detour with marginal services, and the first 14 miles are extremely steep and windy. Could only go about 15 mph so it took almost an hour to go that distance. It crosses Fort Hunter Liggett, through Jolon, and out to the US 101 Hwy at Bradley. Stopped in San Miguel to eat lunch (it was about 1:30 pm). Went about 20 miles South on US 101 to Paso Robles, then another 4 miles to where SR 46 comes from the West. Turned right, and followed 46 for about 22 miles into Cambria. Drove past maybe 20 wineries, but didn’t stop at any of them for samples.
Turned North on SR 1 towards San Simeon and drove up where the elephant seals are molting on the sandy beaches. There are hundreds of them just lying there, relaxing and napping. Brown ones haven’t finished molting yet, but the gray ones have. Mary Ann’s knee tendonitis was bothering her, so I had a chance to ride and she drove the van. Rode about 13 miles from there back to Cambria. Had a lovely tailwind and it was a fun ride. Basically it was a retracing of some of where Charlotte, Amanda Adams, and I rode in 2001, although we started at Ragged Point, about 10 miles further North. We needed to be at Joe and Mary Fay-Zenk’s home between 5 – 5:30 pm. We arrived in Cambria a bit early, so we looked around in the Farmers’ Market then drove to Joe and Mary’s.
Our friend Kathleen Conway was also at the Zenk’s to greet us. Kathleen, Mary, and I graduated from the same high school as Meghan Markle (wife of Prince Harry).
We were served a lovely vegetarian lasagna (so good I thought it was made from scratch), some sausage, salad, bread, and a homemade carrot cake for dessert. Great conversation at the table on many different topics.
Joe and Mary’s master suite is downstairs, with a second master suite upstairs (with en suite), and two other bedrooms which shared another bathroom. Lovely accommodations.
Good transitional day, now on the Central California Coast. half-way to LA. Basically we have completed half of the ride now.
Believe it or not, I finally found my first “road change” – a dime”.
Route today was about 35 miles riding, plus the detour driving.
With love from the Central California Coast,