The ride down the coast was good, very, very good.
As usual, going over Devil's Slide from Pacifica was intense - not the climb, which is like any climb on a narrow, winding road, but the race down the other side where the road is rapidly falling into the sea. (Will this be the day it gives way with me on it?)
The fog was brushing up along the cliffs, moving in and out dramatically. And a bicycle is perfect, able to go faster than a car on that particular stretch of precarious road.
Speaking of fast: on the long downhills into San Gregorio SB I told Judy I was going 48 mph on the first run, and then on the second, 55 mph. No Way! she said. Man, I thought my Bike Friday was flyin', but then as we were climbing, I said, Now I'm going 6 mph, and she said she was going 4 mph. That's when it dawned on me: my computer thought it was on my Cannondale. (406 vs 700c wheels)
(This newspaper photo from the Cinderella Classic in March just arrived in today's mail. At least I sort of look fast. They spelled my name right, but it was not a race!)
When we got to Pescadero, expecting to have dinner at Duarte's, an art fair had taken over the town for the day. Instead, we bought a can of soup and big loaf of artichoke bread to take to the hostel at Pigeon Point for dinner. The 56 miles went so easily we could have gone further, but the hot tub over the sea is always a great way to finish the day.
The sun, however, sank into a fog bank and so there wasn't a photo-finish on the crumbling lighthouse.
Day two, we rode only as far as Watsonville, stopping in Davenport for breakfast where vintage Bentleys, left over from the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, paraded by; lingered through Santa Cruz, enjoying the pelicans and the beach scene; and finally meandered our way through the strawberry fields after an ice cream break in Aptos.
My planned shortcut via Harken's Slough Road, where I ignored the "road closed," "flooded" signs, didn't pan out - Harken's Slough has indeed won, filling the valley knee-deep. (In the past I've ridden into some water, but not deep enough to be a problem.) That meant climbing back out of the valley and put us into town on a strange route, but we finally found our room for the night and after showers rode into town for chicken mole, really good mole.
Day three, we had a late breakfast and nice ride around Elkhorn Slough, avoiding the busy two-lane highway by Moss Landing, and stopped in Castroville for their completely different version of artichoke soup. In Portugese Pescadero it's a creamy puree of hearts, but soft, steamed hearts in a clear broth in Italian Castroville, where a busload of Italian tourists ran in and out, quickly eating some deep-fried chokes dipped in mayonaise or butter. (Italian tourists in Castroville?!)
From there it was a short ride through the artichoke fields and sand dunes, mostly on a dedicated bike path. At Seaside we saw cyclists coming from a path we'd never tried, not knowing if it went into Monterey, but since we didn't have to go all the way into Pfeiffer Big Sur for the night, we gave it a try - and a man guided us through the trickier street section - it was terrific to avoid Auto Row, for a change.
It was so nice we dropped off our panniers at the motel where I'd left my car and went back out to ride our friskier bikes around Monterey and Pacific Grove.
That pretty much ended the bike tour, though the next day we did ride the 17-Mile Drive into Carmel (still no there there), had a grocery-store sandwich and then climbed back to Monterey, where we rode around looking at everything again.
Day five, after visiting the Carmel mission (because we could), we drove through overcast, foggy Big Sur, stopping for an expensive lunch in Gorda, and again to watch the lumps of elephant seals on the beach at Piedras Blancas, before ending up in San Simeon for the night.
We rode to Cambria and back in the late afternoon light before having a lousy dinner in a nearby, nearly deserted restaurant (we should have gone back to Cambria).
Again, a super ride down our coast. I've lost count of the number of times I've ridden those roads, but it is always wonderful. This was one of the easier, shorter versions, but no less awesome. I love it.