andres' life

Living the Dream

Cycling along the California Coast.

After a great bike tour and a fantastic summer adventuring in the wonderful Sierra Nevada I once again got the itch.

Yup! It was time for another bike tour. Apparently on the last one I fell so in love with it that I made a promise to myself. Over the course of my life I would complete the Alaska to Tierra del Fuego bike tour. For those of you who don’t know about this, it is a 15,000+ mile bike tour that goes from the start of the Pan American highway in Prudhoe, Alaska to the southernmost tip in South America, Tierra del Fuego.

Of course I did not had 2 years to dedicate to this tour, merely one week. So I did what any sensible person would do and departed for San Francisco intent on biking from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo in five days, thereby completing another portion of the grand tour.

Just follow the signs....

The tour started on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge where Paul dropped me off. If you don’t already know this, Paul is one of the best friends anyone can have and I owe him alot for always being there when I need his help.

The start of Day 1 on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge

After dealing with San Francisco traffic for a bit and fixing a minor gear snafu I was off onto the Great Highway headed south through Daly City towards Santa Cruz. As with any adventure I soon ran into my first obstacle. Apparently camping on the section between San Francisco and Santa Cruz is limited to illegal beach camping and “deluxe resort” camping (KOA-style) where it costs $25+ for a pad of dirt. Being the dirtbag that I am I refused to pay that much for a pad of dirt to sleep on. And as much as I wanted to illegally camp on the beach, illegal activities on Day 1 scare me. So I did what any sensible person would do and wandered onto a organic berry farm and asked for a plot of dirt to sleep on. I was not only invited to stay there but ate some delicious berry treats in their storefront before pitching my tent on their reservoir.

My home for night 1. Thanks Swanton Berry Farm!

Morning came and I was quickly reminded what Central Coastal weather is like…. cold and wet. After a quick breakfast and camp break down, I was off. Somewhere down south was my next destination, Monterrey. It was on the way there that I ran into more bike tourers down the same ride (I had met a fellow the day prior who was from Korea riding from Vancouver B.C. to Mexico). These folks were from England and were headed down to LA I believe. We also ran into a local cyclist who was was rather helpful and cycled the last few miles into town with us and showed us where our hotel (them) and campground were.

The Brits, the local and myself cycling into Monterrey.

Day 3 began rather nicely and after a quick ride out of Monterrey and Carmel I began the section of the ride that can only be described as magical. At this point, my words would do little justice in describing just how beautiful this section is. Instead just imagine you are cycling up and down hills that hug the coast with waves crashing below you and every time you look to your right you see this, ALL DAY LONG!!!!

Looking north somewhere between Monterrey and Kirk Creek Campground

There were so many beautiful beaches along the way.

I could live here.....

I finally arrived at my campsite for the evening, and I can honsetly say that it was the best $5 I have EVER spent.

My beach front home for the night with Ryan (http://ryanvanduzer.com/) in the foreground.

After a cold and soggy morning start I started Day 4 which I consider one of, if not THE BEST, days of cycling in my life. Again, my words do little justice so just enjoy…

Bliss.

It truly never gets old.....ever.

As if the jaw-dropping views weren’t enough I got lucky and spotted a cove of elephant seals that was not visible to tourists from a car and promptly created a roadside attraction when people started pulling over to see what I was looking at.

Northern Elephant Seals (Mirounga Angustirostris) are some of the fattest, smelliest, loudest and laziest sea creatures ever. I LOVE them!

I finally ended up at Morro Bay Campground right outside San Luis Obispo and opted to stop here because riding to San Luis Obispo meant paying $25 at the minumum for a place to stay. After a nice night’s sleep and a cold morning (coldest yest) I rode the final 15 miles into San Luis Obispo and caught a bus north.

This is what cold and wet Andy looks like.

Battle Kitty strikes again! Miss Kitty here has been on a tour of the middle east with the National Guard, climbing trips in the Southwest, on a cycling tour of Central America and now a cycling tour of California's central coast.

No, this is not a magical land of free beer, naked women and smoked salmon. It is actually a prison, way less cool......

fin.

I just cycled over 300 miles, I'll eat whatever I want!

After a 6 hour bus ride north I was deposited in San Francisco and cycled the final 8 miles through town and over the bridge where Paul was waiting for me. As if I had not had enough adventure for one week, I decided to ignore the signs saying “No cyclists allowed” and almost died about 20 times trying to navigate around and over highway barricades, lane entrances, overgrown sidewalks pathways and chain link fences. Next time I’m taking the proper path….

All in all it was a spectacular tour with a little over 300 miles of riding spread over 5 days. If anyone is ever interested in seeing the Big Sur coastline, I HIGHLY reccomend doing it by bike.

Lessons learned:

1. California never fails to impress with it’s natural beauty. I am blessed to live here.

2. The coast is cold and wet, be prepared.

3. Starbucks instant coffee grounds suck.

4. Bike touring is truly the best way to see a new place, hands down.

5. Riding solo with only your thoughts running through your head is highly therapeutic.

Well that’s all I got…. for now.

Stay tuned for my next silly adventure.

peace, love and poptarts,

el Andy.

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2 comments on “Cycling along the California Coast.

  1. ayngelina.
    September 20, 2010

    Taco Bell???
    Dude, have you learned anything!

  2. yolie Lopez-Gaffney
    October 5, 2010

    wow! love the pics:-) i got to do that drive some time (I’ll skip the biking part) good job!

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This entry was posted on September 19, 2010 by in Biking and tagged , .

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