Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 29. Sunday September 13 - Santa Cruz to Carmel by The Sea, California

We cruised through Santa Cruz and it's connected cities on sleepy Saturday morning roads. We understand the UC Santa Cruz campus is beautiful, tucked in the Redwoods at 1200 feet, but we didn't need any extra climbing. The towns, however, are quite funky; a collection of college, california and hippie.....or is that redundant.
Once out of town we went on a culinary tour of all that the county grows: rubbarb,

brussels sprouts,
brussel sprouts.JPG
artichoke (comes from the Thistle plant)
and Strawberry Fields Forever (can you hear the music?).
driscoll strawberry.JPG
But this is by far the strangest plant/tree we saw...... look closely,
cell tower tree.JPG
only in California!
Moss Landing, the beginning of the Monterey Bay, played host to a pier of sea loins.
moss landing.JPG
Our last 25+ miles was on a great bike path
monterey bike path.JPG
along the Monterey Dunes
and Bay, where we paid dearly for our tailwind of yesterday. The head wind did not prevent us from enjoying the sights, however.
One last straight up hill
and into Carmel By The Sea and a much needed DAY OFF!

Day 30. DAY OFF Carmel By The Sea

Carmel By The Sea is an enchanting place, expensive, but enchanting. Charming inns,

carmel hotel.JPG
shops and more art galleries than permanent residences. We played tourist for a minute
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poked our head in to see if Clint Eastwood was at the bar, then headed for the beach. It's spectacular;
carmel beach.JPG
pounding waves,
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and wonderfully soft sand. Apparently Carmel is the only place on the coast where the sand is created from quartz. And then there's the view of Pebble Beach and the 17 mile drive.
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That's all we have, back to resting and preparing for the climbs ahead.

Day 31. Tuesday September 15 - Carmel to Lucia, California

Most magnificent morning,

most magnificent day. The sun was bright, the day was warm, perfect for climbing Big Sur
big sur hill.JPG
The homes in the Carmel area are incredible; I can't fathom the architectural prowess necessary for some of them.
Architecture and some clever landscaping and it's difficult to tell where the cliff stops and the home begins.
carmel highlands.JPG
It was tough to make progress for all of the picture stops,
doubt we went more then a couple of miles at any given time in between photos.
big sur coast.JPG
We needed a video camera attached to our helmets,
one incredible scene
after another
and another.
First we are here
1932 bridge.JPG
and then we cross to view the bridge fro the other side.
bridge from south.JPG
This is Point Sur
with a working lighthouse. And this was all before lunch at Nepenthe.
lunch at Nepenthe.JPG
Yes, this is stopping soon
because the fog was coming in.
It rolled in off the sea like a huge wave.
rolling fog.JPG
Our stop after 50+ miles had a pretty nice view, too.
Our first sunset.
lucia sunset.JPG

Day 32. Wednesday September 16 - Lucia to San Simeon Village, California

Most magnificent morning,

lucia morning.JPG
most magnificent day.......again. Which means you will be subjected to another page of way too many pictures of the coast.
The colors of the earth,
sky and sea
are indescribable and tough to capture on camera. But of course, we'll try.
The view today was as dramatic
as the hills (note the cut in the rock-that's the road)
we had to climb
to complete the second half of Big Sur. But we enjoyed it nonetheless.
pic at big sure.JPG
The advantage of the climbs was the spectacular views.
The reality was that it took us three and a half hours to go 25 miles. A bit weary and in need of refreashment, we stopped early for lunch at Ragged Point.
ragged point.JPG
We caught a glimpse of fog sneaking around the cafe and thought we better hit the road. Heading out of Rugged Point the terrain flattened out
and we enjoyed an incredible tailwind that Travis had sent our way (Thanks Man!). It was unreal, the water looked like we were in the Brac
and the wind was an fabulous push! Luckily, we didn't disturb the elephant seals.
elephant seals.JPG
A couple more pictures,
and though it was early in the afternoon, we'd reached our destination. The wind was so strong we did 20 miles in one and a half hours, including stops for pictures. We forgot our camera for the sunset this morning, but we did post one (late) last night.

Day 33. Thursday September 17 - San Simeon Village to Pismo Beach, California

It was a quite, calm morning leaving San Simeon with the fog waiting just offshore.

leaving san simeon.JPG
After we passed through Cambria, a few miles down the road from our hotel, we headed inland enough to enjoy warm sunny skies and California farm country.
Ten miles later we turned towards the sea
towards cayucos.JPG
and the quaint coastal towns of Cayucos
and Morro Bay.
And a really cool bay it is.
morro bay rock.JPG
We're sure there is a name for this rock,
rock at morro bay.JPG
and though we stopped to take about 50 pictures of it from different angles, we never stopped to ask the name.
We definitely recommend putting these two towns on our 'must do' California tour list.
It's still strange to see cow fields mingled among these small towns.
Morro Bay is an beautifully protected harbor
stuffed with sailboats.
After our 'cooling off' tour of these two coastal towns, we were blown inland, off of Highway 1, around the 4000 foot 'hills'
hills of san luis obisbo.JPG
and once again, farm country; pumkins are almost ready.
We did manage to capture a couple of horse pictures
for Lisa and Quinn.
Stark dry hills contrasting to lush, watered vineyards
incredible. But there really is nothing like a beach
pismo pier.JPG
and this is the first time we've actually seen people sunbathing.....in bathing suits. Pismo Beach is your typical looking southern California beach town, surfboards, sand on the sidewalk and lots of skin.

Day 34. Friday September 18 - Pismo Beach to Lompoc, California

We left in a fog this morning, plus it was really thick and cold.

It would not last, as shortly after Pismo and Grove Beach we turned inland. Not sure why the course put us on a 5 mile loop through the hills to progress one mile, but it did allow us wonderful views of sprawling rancheros.
and small nurseries. We see these plants all the time in flower arrangements,
strange florals.JPG
but never growing naturally.
We bumped into Don again in Guadalupe, where we learned from John
john and don.JPG
(made infamous in the Lonely Planet book) that they filmed "Odd Couple II" here. If you've seen the movie, you may remember this.
odd couple.JPG
We rejoined Highway 1 to bike through the Santa Maria Valley, home to hundreds of acres of farmed land
in different stages of harvesting. Most of the fields (if not all) are organic and it's amazing to see how green everything is, before it gets picked and shipped. We saw it all, lettuce-every variety, celery,cabbage,
broccoli and more strawberries. The smell was intoxicating and delicious. This is a roadside stand
strawberry stand..JPG
where you buy strawberries on the honor system; very cool and incredibly sweet. In between the very green, watered fields, was dry ground.
The contrast was beautiful.
We stopped for an early lunch in Orcutt in our first air conditioned building. The hour we took to relax and eat made us feel like we had stepped into Nevada as we left the restaurant. Maybe not that hot, but it was definitely in the 90's, no breeze and uphill, of course. But with most good climbs, comes good views
and a shot of the the Lompoc valley that we would descend into.
lumpoc valley.JPG
Our last five miles was downhill, it didn't matter that it was into the wind, we were almost there.

Sandy, Good Luck tomorrow on your triathlon. May the Travis Winds be at your back!

Day 35. Saturday September 19 - Lompoc to Summerland, California

We got out at 7:15 this morning as our destination was uncertain, but potentially a long way away. Originally, we planned on staying in Santa Barbara until we heard that there was a huge music festival and 30,000+ college students checking in at USC, so we'd have to go further.
The morning's fog was so thick, it dripped off our helmets and misted our glasses. We didn't see all the flowers Lompoc is famous for, but the wall murals were outstanding. This is of the Lompoc Indians, for which the town was named.

lompoc indians.JPG
The hills that stretched up on either side of us, were beautiful,
but in the fog, tough to capture on film.
fog leaving lompoc.JPG

After two hours of biking through the narrow valley, we needed to cross very large mountains to the sea. Luckily, we had a narrow pass
pass to pacific.JPG
that avoided the steep climb. We biked right along the Pacific with the steep mountains
rising directly to the east.
We stopped in Goleta for lunch, where we met Mike,
mike in goleta.JPG
who rescued us from our hotel dilemma, thanks man. Goleta seems to be a northern suburb of Santa Barbara, it's all connected. But you definitely know when you've arrived in the American Riviera.
Their beach
and parks
santa barbara park.JPG
may be the draw, (and rightly so)
santa barbara beach.JPG
but the town is not without it's extremely exclusive hotels and shops. A few miles south, or more like a southern suburb of Santa Barbara, we rested for the evening after 64 miles in Summerland.

Week 5 Complete

Santa Cruz to Summerland, California

week 5.png

320.7 miles