Santa Cruz > Carmel (68 miles)

This morning Siri woke me up at 7:00am. I was well rested, and had a Tranquil sleep at Carmelita Cottages.

I brewed my Verve coffee, ate my Whole Foods fruit salad, packed my Ortleib panniers and hit the road. It was a leisurely departure. First thing on the loosely formed itinerary was a visit to Lulu Carpenter's espresso hut for a tiny cup of lovely stuff. I swear the trip would have been worth it if this visit was the only thing I accomplished.

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After two cups of espresso, I picked up a new supply of "That's It" nutrition bars at Whole Foods, and started to meander southward along the coast. I came across a lovely little farmer's market.

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At the farmer's market, I discovered a Lulu's satellite operation. One more please.

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Between Santa Cruz and Capitola, beach life ebbed and flowed in a wonderful rhythm. Dog lovers accompanied their faithful companions, beach cruisers coasted on wide handled bikes, joggers weaves in and out of the ever shifting traffic, walkers made steady progress at a conversational pace, and wetsuit clad surfers dotted the water like fishing bobbers.

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I offer my gratitude to Cafe Gratitude for the healthful goodness it served up the day before. Once I really got rolling, I realized my legs felt delightfully springy and fresh. Kind of like their food.

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South of Santa Cruz's outlying beach communities, the route headed inland and passed through strawberry and artichoke fields. This was pretty much the view until I approached the aptly named Sand City. This is where I met Alain. He's a fellow touring cyclist from Montreal. We enjoyed riding with each other for a handful of miles.

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When I got to Monterey, I decided to forgo the shortcut across the neck of the penninsula and take the famous 17 Mile Drive. Before I reached the drive, I navigated through the tourist trap that is Monterey on what was actually a pretty fun multimodal path.

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Late lunch was had at the Pebble Beach Market.

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When I was leaving Pebble Beach, I met Joe, a friendly and approachable staff member. He passed on some valuable bits of information about camping options south of Big Sur. I'm looking forward to Limekiln State Park. It may be a little more rustic than The Lodge at Pebble Beach, but I think it wil do. The scenery sounds great, and heated showers sound even better.

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By the way. When I travel this way, loaded down with everything short of a portable generator, I love the interactions I have with people I meet along the way.

As soon as I arrived at the Normandy Inn, I showered and changed so I could stroll about and visit a coffee shop. On my walk, I was glad to see the suave Italian gentlemen were still seated outside Portobello restaurant, where I left them in January.

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The sunset was gorgeous.

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I lied earlier about Lulu's coffee. My La Bicycletta tomatoe, portobello and arugula pizza (sans oil and cheese of course) is the piece that was worth the trip. Ooo lala.

 

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Mark Mularz1 Comment