Monday, October 27, 2014

Three By the Sea, October 26

After a delicious and filling continental breakfast, we said goodbye to the comfy hotel and biked a short distance to Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries.  Then out to the coast!  Sea lions lounged casually by the pier, and everywhere were birds of all kinds: pelicans, cormorants, gulls, grebes, and more.  The water of Monterey Bay was calm, and there was a slight breeze from the north.  We took the coastal bike trail along the peninsula, stopping along Cannery Row to soak in some history, and stopping again more and more frequently to marvel at the deep blue water and the pounding surf.  10-plus foot waves pounded the rocks; this was not a shore for swimming.  

But, with the path and the general air that here was not a place to drive hurriedly through, it was perfect for biking.  Not to mention the tailwind!  We passed Pebble Beach golf club and a number of overlooks along 17 Mile Drive, then, as we were figuring out how to get to highway 1, a cyclist asked where we were headed.  We told him highway 1, and he said to follow him; he would show us a much better route.  His name was Kevin, and he and his riding buddy Angus rode with us along the Carmel seashore, even pointing out interesting spots like a Frank Lloyd Wright house designed to look like a ship and Clint Eastwood's restaurant.  Then he gave us directions to Safeway to get water, and as we were repackaging food, he showed up and chatted for awhile.  Thanks, Kevin, for showing us around Carmel!

We stopped for a beach lunch a few minutes later and enjoyed the warm sand and the crashing waves for over an hour.  Then back to the road.  The closer we got to Big Sur, the  steeper were the cliffs above the ocean.  This road was unlike any we had ever biked.  
The wind was whipping around like crazy (fortunately a strong tailwind for most of the time), causing huge waves to crash on the rocks far below and send spray high into the air.  We reached Big Sur around 4:30 and set up camp at Andrew Molera State Park.  We're far from the beach, but that's okay.  We enjoyed polenta, rice, and refried beans for dinner, then Tam pulled out a surprise box of Oreos for dessert, which we happily dug into.  A wonderful first day on the coast!

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