Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ride the West - Day 15, San Francisco California to Santa Cruz California

Yesterday was our rest day and what better place to have it, than San Francisco. While most of the other cyclists had plans for walking around town, or going to Fisherman's Wharf, Gary Weinstein, Mike Munk and I had a completely different idea. We arranged in advance to meet up with my friend Randy Wadley, who had set us up with a great deal on a foursome of golf at the 5-star Half Moon Bay, Ocean course. The 3 of us stealthily removed ourselves from the hotel at 7AM and drove over to the course to meet up with Randy.

My friend, Randy Wadley

After some practice chipping and putting, we set out on hole number 1 amidst the cool, light breeze and morning wisps of fog. It was to be a great day of golf on a beautiful course, overlooking the ocean. The last few holes were especially pretty as they brought us in to the clubhouse along the coastal shore.

Mike Munk and Gary Weinstein on the 17th green

The course was a tough one, and the greens were fast and shaped every which way, providing for a difficult time with our short games. All-in-all, we had fun. Mike and Gary headed back after the game, and Randy and I headed to Fisherman's Wharf for a walk around.

Looking at the park near Ghirardelli Square

Later that evening, Baltimore Mark and Gary joined us and we headed to Chinatown for some dinner. Gary's phone had an application that gave us the names and addresses of restaurants in the area that had good reviews and ratings. We chose one and headed there. From the outside, it was nothing special, but the food was good.

Today, we had 92 miles of riding to manage, which would bring us from Lombard and Van Ness in San Francisco to Santa Cruz, a tourist trap city, with a boardwalk, located along the coast. For my Canadian friends, think of Grand Bend on a larger scale. The ride would take us along the shoreline of San Francisco, past Golden Gate Park, past the Cliff House, and along the west coast of the city.

The west coast of San Francisco, near the Cliff House

Then Joe and I would ride on a bike trail that tracks the reservoir located along the west side of Silicon Valley. The bike path was in beautiful condition and was well used by cyclists, walkers and runners.

Along the bike path beside the reservoir

As Joe and I got to the 1st SAG, we waited for some other riders to catch up. We set out along with Susan and Mark Weisbarth but fairly soon we would be starting into the climb along route 92 over the peaks. I was feeling very strong today, so I headed out and left the others behind to climb at their own rate. At the top, I was blessed with a fast downhill that serpentined through the valley. The road had some narrow spots with little, to no shoulder, but the cars were careful around me. I had no problems.

Typical coastal view along this part of route 1

Once I made it over to Half Moon Bay, I headed south on route 1, with a small tailwind to help me along. I cruised alone the next 30 miles at a good clip and arrived at the next SAG 25 minutes before the support group arrived. It was a good feeling.

Light house view from the 2nd SAG

After the SAG, we once again headed out with the same foursome as before, but I was still feeling strong, so I ventured on by myself once again. I was a few minutes ahead when I arrived at the Santa Cruz boardwalk. I saw Joe and Baltimore Mark as they came in and we had a late lunch of shawarmas, eating them on the benches that looked out on the beach.

Entering Santa Cruz along the coast

For dinner, we went to the Santa Cruz Diner, featured on one of the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show. I'm not sure which of those 3 categories it fell into. It was similar to a typical New England diner and about the same quality as the one in our town of Newtown.

The Santa Cruz boardwalk and pier

After dinner came a walk along the boardwalk, just in time for the 7:30PM closing. The whole boardwalk is really geared for the teenage and younger set, but the walk was enjoyable.

Tomorrow we get to ride along the famous 17 mile drive, as well as Monterey and Carmel. It should be a beautiful ride.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.


  1. Sure--this looks as close as you can get to paradise--but don't forget that Dredd 3D opens large on Sept 21st.

  2. Any holes in one? What a great way to spend a day off (he said jealously). I am looking forward to driving the route in a few weeks time.