Pacific Coast - Day 5 - Sunset Beach to Monterey
- Distance 51km
- Max Elevation 55m
Pacific Coast - Sunset Beach to Monterey Ride Profile
The next morning we continued our Pacific Coast ride through the intensive farming area, with huge field after field of fruit and veg, which employed large numbers of mainly Mexican workers.
Finally the Pacific Coast route came back onto 1 which was busy and noisy with lots of lorries. Although there was a wide hard shoulder, this section was boring and unpleasant.
Suddenly, a sign advised us that we were coming to a Freeway ( the UK equivalent of a Motorway). We couldn't see any other way ahead and stopped to ask a Mexican worker in the fields. He told us to continue along the Freeway until the first exit. We pedaled like maniacs along the hard shoulder with three lanes of fast moving traffic, convinced that we were breaking the law and about to be arrested by the police. When we reached the first exit a sign said " No Bicycles beyond this point", so it was obviously part of the official Pacific Coast route, but the signs didn't give much indication of that.
From there we traveled on quite side roads and then onto a well surfaced Pacific Coast cycle track parallel to the Freeway, all the way into Monterey. The rough ground around the cycleway was a warren of ground squirrels that kept doing a kamikaze dashes in front of our wheels.
Approaching Monterey we had lovely views across the beach to the Pacific Coast headland. The Fisherman's Wharf on the outskirts of the town looked inviting with lots of restaurants and shops. We locked up the bikes and had a delicious homemade pasta lunch. Afterwards we walked along the wharf to see the resident sea lions and pelicans.
Sealions in Monterey Harbour
Karen had left her brand new North Face fleece top under the bungee cord on the bike of her bike and whilst we had our backs turned someone made off with it. Grrrrr!
Checked into the Hostel on Hawthorne Street for two nights as we needed to get hair cuts, get our computer fixed and find a new fleece top.
Monterey is a lovely Pacific Coast resort town that originally made its living from whaling and later catching and canning sardines, but they fished the stocks to extinction by the early 1960s. Now the canning factories have been converted to gift shops, stores and restaurants catering to the tourist trade. The town has a nice ambience and is very bike friendly.
The hostel was homely and the staff were very friendly. There was a large sitting room and well stocked kitchen. One member of staff would entertain us with classical and popular piano. Breakfasts were pancakes and waffles for just a donation of 50cents.
We cycled to the suburb of "Seaside" to buy a fleece for Karen but ended up coming back to Joselyn's Cycle shop. She got a nice girly pink one.
Took the computer to be fixed twice, but not a lot of success. $50 later we still have a dodgy computer.
The haircut was an experience. We found a place run by two Spanish ladies of a certain age. There were no customers (should have rung alarm bells). Karen had a first when both ladies set about (being the operative words) her hair at the same time. One then broke off to give Steve a good going over! Still, that's traveling for you!
Duties completed we rode the 17 mile drive around the Monteray, Pacific Coast headland, passing through and between seven different golf courses the most famous probably being Pebble Beach.
Stopped at the Fish Wife cafe for a delicious lunch of Clam Chowder and Seafood Pancake.
Although the Pacific Coast ride was lovely it was spoilt a little by a lot of traffic and tourists at each view point.
The last part took us up a steep hill through the park ,which still had cypress trees that were over 1000 years old. In a country that has only existed as a united nation for less than 300 years, this is real history.
We got back onto highway 68 in rush hour. It was busy, narrow and steep. We were glad to get off the 68 and onto Prescott (not John) to take us back to the hostel. One part of this was about a 33% incline.
That evening a young guy arrived at the hostel. He was a cocky, curly haired guy that we didn't initially take to. He boasted about having ridden from Half Moon Bay to Monterey in one day approx 100 miles. As we sat reading in the lounge he fell asleep and was still asleep when everyone had cleared off to bed. Don't know what time he actually got into his bunk, but it was late or even early morning. When we left the following morning he was only just eating his breakfast.
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