Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 47 – Moving On to Morro Bay

As we departed Cambria this morning, cycling along Moonstone Beach, we could finally see the ocean again.

Moonstone Beach, looking north
Moonstone Beach, looking north
Moonstone Beach looking south
Moonstone Beach looking south

The fog has lifted but it is still overcast.(Funny aside, the packaged coffee in the hotel room is called “Foglifter”). This weather condition is fine with me as I would rather ride with clouds and have the bright sunshine in the afternoon once the ride is over. It just makes for gray photos.

If you have been following the trip, you have probably noticed as we have that the landscape has changed from vivid green fields, thick forests, and loads of wildflowers. We are now in the land of “brown”.  Rocky cliffs, brown fields, dusty roads, sandy shoulders are now the visual field as we ride, if the fog has lifted!

a little political statement
a little political statement

We took a detour through Cambria on Business Route 1 to check out a unique dwelling called Nit Wit Ridge, a historical landmark because of its unusual construction. Art Beal built this “three level fantasy environment from collected materials in Cambria – the locals call it the Poor Man’s Hearst Castle” Beal was a local trash hauler and also some of the materials were scavenged from the Hearst Estate.

Nitt Witt Ridge
Nitt Witt Ridge

From Wikipedia:

“Nitt Witt Ridge, one of California’s remarkable twentieth-century folk-art environments, is the creation of Arthur Harold Beal (Der Tinkerpaw, or Capt Nitt Witt), a Cambria Pines pioneer who sculpted the land using hand tools and indigenous materials, inventiveness and self-taught skills. A blend of native materials and contemporary elements, impressive in its sheer mass and meticulous placement, it is a revealing memorial to Art’s cosmic humor and zest for life.”

Nit Wit Ridge, hysterical landmark
Nit Wit Ridge, hysterical landmark

We took a few photos and then a vehicle drove up with Virginia license plates, which we haven’t seen in 3 months. Turns out the driver was a Navy man, stationed in San Diego, his wife went to William and Mary AND was a student at Coventry Elementary School in the 90’s when I taught there… she remembers Mrs. Beal for kindergarten and Mrs. Nadig. She remembered my name but did not have me as her third grade teacher. After third grade her family moved to Vermont. “6 degrees of separation”

We cycled on through town and up a few brown hills with the sunshine, then as soon as we turned back toward the coast, the fog drifted back in.

Brown hills outside of Cambria
Brown hills outside of Cambria
Blue skies for awhile
Blue skies for awhile
Trading Redwoods for Palm Trees
Trading Redwoods for Palm Trees
Fog drifting in as we approach the coast
Fog drifting in as we approach the coast

We stopped in Cayucos for a coffee break and met several cyclists (also on a coffee break) from the San Luis Obispo Cycling Club. There were tandem riders, and trike riders as well as regular two-wheeled bike riders. We had a great time sharing stories with them. In a few more miles we reached Morro Bay where we are staying this evening.  Another small world story – as we checked into the hotel, the manager said, “Oh you are from Williamsburg, I used to live on Mooretown Road” (about 3 miles from our house).

Tomorrow we cycle through San Luis Obispo then on to Oceano/Grover Beach for the evening.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 46 – Quick Ride to Cambria

This morning we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the Ragged Point Inn. We walked around the grounds waiting for the restaurant to open and tried to capture a view of “Big Sur” through the wooden sculpture entitled Portal to Big Sur – fog blurred the view. Hummingbirds were darting everywhere but have been too quick for the camera.

Ragged Point Inn pre-breakfast
Ragged Point Inn pre-breakfast
Ragged Point Inn before breakfast
Ragged Point Inn before breakfast
The foggy view through the Portal to Big Sur
The foggy view through the Portal to Big Sur
sign on portal
sign on portal
Looking out over the grounds at breakfast
Looking out over the grounds at breakfast

After breakfast we cycled on Route 1 towards San Simeon and watched the Elephant seals from a spot on the side of the road, instead of the vista point 2 miles south. A new road is being constructed east of the Elephant Seal Rookery as the seals now cross the road. They think the grass is greener, I guess.

Elephant Seals near San Simeon
Elephant Seals near San Simeon

We stopped at Sebastian’s General Store at the San Simeon State Beach.

Sebastian's General Store, San Simeon
Sebastian’s General Store, San Simeon
Old tractor next to San Simeon (Sebastian's) General Store
Old tractor next to San Simeon (Sebastian’s) General Store

Bill was able to capture some great photos of Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle

Bill has toured once and I have toured twice so we skipped the castle today and walked out on the wharf at San Simeon. A group of students from Paso Robles was participating in the coastal experience with docents from the Discovery Center. Sure brought back memories. Three quick whistles and the students who had been previously all over the beach were lined up ready for the next activity. (Still the teacher in me).

Scattered students
Scattered students
Students participating in Coastal Discovery
Students participating in Coastal Discovery called together

 

The ride today was like “a walk in the park” not only short mileage but flat roads with few hills.

Quick, flat ride today
Quick, flat ride today

By noon we were already in Cambria, our destination for the day. WIth great wifi, I am playing catch up.

Tomorrow, another short ride will take us to Morro Bay.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 45 – Rugged Ride to Ragged Point

With a long day ahead of us (50 miles), we really needed some coffee to start our ride. Unfortunately, there was no coffee in the cabin. As we left Riverside Campground and Cabins, one of the office staff met us at the exit and shared that we could get coffee in three miles and we would have completed most of the first climb by then. We stopped at the Big Sur Bakery at 7:40,

Big Sur Bakery
Big Sur Bakery

they didn’t open til 8:00, so we got our books out and sat at the outdoor tables until they opened. Breakfast food was expensive, so we just settled for coffee. On the downside of the first hill we stopped at Deetjen’s Inn

Deetjen's Big Sur Inn
Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn

for a real breakfast and met up with a couple on a tandem and two ladies cycling from San Francisco to San Simeon.
After breakfast it was off to conquer the rest of the 50 mile ride with a long hill at the end but a nice descent for about 3 miles. Lots of bridges and a few road construction sites were part of the ride today.

The sun came out
The sun came out
Interesting tunnel and slide protection
Interesting tunnel and slide protection
Another bridge
Another bridge

We also met up with a group of 35 dads and sons who were cycling through Big Sur as a Scout Troop.

Boy Scout Troop from Elk Grove, CA
Boy Scout Troop from Elk Grove, CA
Nice to ride with the scouts, knowing this vehicle is behind
Nice to ride with the scouts, knowing this vehicle is behind
Waiting to cross one lane bridge with a few of the scouts
Waiting to cross one lane bridge with a few of the scouts

We rode with them most of the day as they would stop and chat and gave us a round of applause when we cycled into Ragged Point just a few minutes after they had all arrived for their ice cream snack break. They still had about 15 more miles to cycle to San Simeon where they were camping for the evening. It was amazing to see the young men (Scouts) meeting the challenges of the hills and mileage today – glad to see the dads and scout leaders encouraging this type of activity. Hooked on bikes!

Walking around the grounds at Ragged Point Inn
Walking around the grounds at Ragged Point Inn

Tomorrow we have a short ride to Cambria, just past San Simeon and Hearst Castle.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 44 – Biking to Big Sur

On Wednesday morning we climbed immediately leaving Monterey on our way to BIg Sur.

Looking down on a cliffside home in Carmel Highlands - figured it was NOT Clint Eastwood, no birthday balloons
Looking down on a cliffside home in Carmel Highlands – figured it was NOT Clint Eastwood, no birthday balloons
? Entering Big Sur - no idea why the sign, we saw no pigs
? Entering Big Sur – no idea why the sign, we saw no pigs

We spent the day cycling on Route 1 with glorious views out over the cliffs, bridges that I wanted to get across quickly, hills to climb, headwinds, and curves.

Beach looking back towards Carmel
Beach looking back towards Carmel

We cycled past the Point Sur lighthouse, built in 1887 and turned over to the State Park system in 2004, while still being an active Coast Guard Light Station.

Point Sur Lighthouse
Point Sur Lighthouse

As we cycled over the bridge (there were many)

Bridge crossing one of the many creeks/canyons in Big Sur
Bridge crossing one of the many creeks/canyons in Big Sur

and then on up to Hurricane Point, the fog was still lingering on the upper part of the mountains to the east.

Fog on the mountain top
Fog on the mountain top

Most of the photos reflect the lack of sunshine today. One of the rocky coves seemed to be especially intriguing to motorists and their cameras. So we stopped to take a look. What originally looked like white rocks

White rocks on the sea cliffs
White rocks on the sea cliffs?
White rocks were seals!
White rocks were seals!

turned out to be seals snoozing on the rocks. Bill’s zoom on the camera is fantastic.

California blue jay joined us at lunch
California blue jay joined us at lunch

We stopped for the afternoon at the Riverside Campground and Cabins and have an old cabin in the redwoods about two miles north of Big Sur. We walked through the woods to a pub for dinner and will be early to bed for the long and many-hilled ride tomorrow to Ragged Point.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 43 – Cycling through the Salad Bowl of CA

Another cloudy, foggy, misty, overcast start to the day, as we cycle on to Monterrey. Our route takes us off Route 1 for the day, a blessing! (Well, there were 2 miles as we cycled on Route 1 along Moss Landing).

Route 1 leaving Aptos (Santa Cruz)
Route 1 leaving Aptos (Santa Cruz)

As we left Aptos, and crossed over Route 1, we were thrilled to be on the backroads and byways. Traffic was backed up for the regular morning commute.  After a few miles through the beach communities, we were passing through what I refer to as the Salad Bowl, acres and acres of strawberries, bibb lettuce, artichokes, romaine lettuce, turnips?, asparagus and even a mushroom farm – and other unidentifiable vegetables.

salad fixins
salad fixins
strawberry fields forever
strawberry fields forever
and more greens
and more greens
as far as the eye can see
as far as the eye can see

After the first 20 miles we were back on a trail that we had cycled a few years ago. The trail runs from Castroville (the artichoke capital of CA) to Monterrey through  Marina, the Fort Ord Dunes State Park

Fort Ord Dunes State Park
Fort Ord Dunes State Park
we think maybe a prairie dog?
we think maybe a prairie dog?

then along the Monterrey Bay through Seaside, and into Monterrey.

Monterrey Bay
Monterrey Bay

Our hotel for the evening was right on the route. We arrived early enough to take in a movie and after dinner on our walk back to the hotel we heard a voice echoing through the buildings in old Monterrey. We followed the voice to discover Bernie speaking from Colton Hall – where the first constitutional convention was held in CA in 1849. Pretty impressive crowd, speaker, and location.

Colton Hall and Bernie
Colton Hall and Bernie

Tomorrow we head to Big Sur!