Monday, September 17, 2012

Ride the West - Day 16, Santa Cruz California to Carmel Valley California

There seems to be a pattern here. For many days, we start out in cool, foggy weather requiring 3 layers of clothing: under-armor, jersey and jacket. As the day progresses, only one layer is removed. Today was no different. It was cool and foggy leaving Santa Cruz. The sights continue to be as incredible as any other day. It's hard to decide on which day has been the best, as each one of them reveals such spectacular scenery, but today was a good contender for the award.

We left Santa Cruz after a good breakfast at a restaurant called “Jeffery's”. I had the cinnamon raisin French toast. It was good, but too sweet, so I left much of it on the plate. As Joe, Mark, Gary, Tim and I made our way south, we passed by endless strawberry fields, along with artichokes and some type of cabbage. The pickers were out in force collecting those delectable berries and getting them ready for shipping. Did you know that the reason a strawberry is named that, is because when they were originally sold in the old marketplaces of England, each berry was tied to a single piece of straw and hung from the seller's stand, and they became known as “straw-berries”.

Strawberry fields

As we continued our route south, we found our way onto a long bike path that took us not only into the city of Monterey, but through it too. We used it to navigate our way past the shops and restaurants that line the coast along Cannery Row, passing by the old sardine canning factories that John Steinbeck wrote about.

Bike path with the Monterey Bay in the background
Bike path near Cannery Row in Monterey

At the end of Cannery Row, is the Monterey Aquarium, which you might recognize if you saw “Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home”: the one about the whales. The aquarium used in that movie was the Monterey Aquarium.

Cannery Row

Joe, Mark, Tim and I stopped for a panini sandwich and soup near the start of Cannery Row. It was starting to get warm and the skies had cleared. It was turning out to be a beautiful day.

We ate outside the building on the left

As we left Monterey, the 4 of us made our way along the rugged coast that was laced with expensive homes and golf courses. These all had wonderful views of the ocean and coastal shoreline.

The Monterey coastline

After miles of riding along the coast, we made a turn onto the famous 17 Mile Drive, and the expensive homes and golf courses of Monterey turned into outrageously expensive homes and golf courses that overlooked an even more impressive coastline. Famous people live along the way, and even more famous golf courses call this area home, like Spyglass, Spanish Bay and of course Pebble Beach. We followed the 17 Mile Drive for about half of its length, exiting on the road to Carmel.

The 17 Mile Drive coastline

Carmel is an expensive town that is well cared for. The hilly terrain of the downtown streets are lined with pricey shops, boutiques and restaurants. By this time, Tim and I were riding together as Joe and Mark had no interest in stopping at The Pebble Beach Golf Club.

The 18th green at Pebble Beach Golf Club

We got out of Carmel and made short order of the last 12 miles into Carmel Valley. Our hotel for the evening is an old, converted horse stable, where the stable stalls have been modified into individual cabins. It's very quaint.

Our converted stable, hotel room

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

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