Saturday, April 20, 2013

Central California Coast Bicycle Tour

Work took me to Newport Beach, CA and I got the opportunity to ride the Pacific coast once more.  This time I was able to include a more remote portion of the coast, the Big Sur region.  In six days I rode 400 miles from Monterey to Newport Beach.

Pacific, Brompton, Highway 1 and I

The usual drill of arriving by plane involved this time taking a rental car to the hotel, dropping off everything besides the necessaries for the cycle tour, stopping by REI to grab a camping fuel canister and then driving up to the Monterey airport where I would be dropping of the rental car. It took forever to drive just to drive through LA.  Then in the valley I was stuck in a traffic jam for hours because a truck just burned out and there was no way around it.  So I got to ride from the Monterey airport to the Veterans Memorial Park campsite in the dark. Luckily the built-in lights on the Brompton are nice and bright so this wasn't an issue.  That the hiker/biker campsite is on top of a hill was a killer with me having been traveling for 20 hours straight.

Overview Map
(green: route)
Detailed GPS Route

Everybody at the campsite was asleep already when I arrived there at around 10pm.  Monterey has some military academy whose trumpet play greeted me in the morning.  I chatted a little bit with fellow campers and took off after breakfast.

The scenery for the first two days was stunning.  Highway 1 follows the rocky coast line in a relatively remote area that only serves tourists.  Since it was early in the year I didn't have to battle mass amounts of RVs and other vacationers.  The ones who did drove mostly midday, moving to their next camp site.

Point Sur

The route is quite hilly and on top of one particular long steep hill that seemed to go up forever I swear I could see Japan in the far distance across the ocean.

Brompton and the Big Sur coast line

I stayed overnight at the Kirk Creek Campground from which one has a gorgeous ocean view.  There is no running water so I stopped 2 miles earlier at the Limekiln Campground to fill up my water bag.  Although, there is a stream next to the campground which one walks along to go down to the ocean beach that allows for filtering water. 

Ocean by Kirk Creek

Simple breakfast at the hiker/biker campsites.

 I had to send a photo of my breakfast to my daughter.  She really enjoyed Alastair Humphreys' book The Boy who Biked The World.  She started to request for banana sandwiches just like the boy in the story always ate.  Currently you can even see her photo of a recent bike overnight trip we did together as a family on his site.  Really cool!  I have to confess though I just ate Nutella on bread for breakfast and bananas on the side.  It was great and quick but after four days I was glad the bread was gone and I ate at the restaurant for breakfast.

The ride in the morning from Kirk Creek was the best.  I had the road nearly to myself since it's so far away from any towns and campers usually don't' go out and drive around that early.  It could only have been better by sharing this experience with the whole family.

Later in the day I got to the chip sealed road that all the cyclist have been complaining about.  Since I rode left of the white line it wasn't as bad.  With chip seal, the shoulder won't ever get better since it's the cars that over time press the gravel into the asphalt and make the road smoother.  Only a few cars honked at me. ;)

Sea Lions

The town Guadalupe made me feel like I was in Mexico.  Around the town are large flat expansions with tomato fields where Hispanic workers were hard at work with the occasional packing plant in middle of nowhere.  The fields are quite blocked off with no trespassing signs and signs ordering one not to talk to the workers. Most of the third day of riding took me though scenery like this while I was battling strong winds.  Breaks were extremely difficult as the wind was trying to blow everything away that wasn't securely attached to the bicycle. It's interesting to see what kind of industrialized monoculture our food is coming from.  A great thanks goes out to the free delicious strawberries that I got from the Little Peter farm.

Kyle and John

Hwy 1, 101 near Gaviota State Park

Santa Barbara beach

Airplanes at Naval Base in Ventura County

Santa Monica Hostel International

Brompton in locker at Santa Monica Hostel International

Riding two days through LA was quite difference.  Instead of camping I stayed in a hostel in Santa Monica.  Luckily I was tired enough that night to sleep otherwise I wouldn't have gotten any sleep.  The communal sleeping room was quite stuffy and several snored quite loud.  Thank you ear plugs.  The nice part was the large locker at the hostel that could store my Brompton folding bike and luggage with lots of room to spare.  It probably would have been a much nicer night if I had slept at the beach while storing my stuff in the locker.

Huntington Beach

Balboa Island Ferry

Victory pose at the hotel

No matter what you do, flying takes a beating on your luggage.  Sometimes you really wonder what's going on once you hand over your luggage.  This time, on my flight out, the integrated luggage strap of the B&W Clapton Box that holds the Brompton came unglued.  I was pondering if I should use epoxy to glue it back on so it wouldn't get snagged on the flight back.  Customer support of B&W was so kind and called me back and I learned that the strap does come unglued and a heavy duty double sided carpet tape should be used to tape it back on.  I used that in addition to duct tape just to make sure.  No issues on the flight back.

Loose luggage strap on B&W Clapton Box case

This tweet from the bike shop where I got my Brompton shows again how small the world is. I even biked to Irvine to get tape to patch up the B&W case and eat dinner at a brewery on campus.

I'm excited to see where my next Brompton tour will take me but next is a three day hike with my wife. More on that later.

No comments: