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.
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.
At the farmer's market, I discovered a Lulu's satellite operation. One more please.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Late lunch was had at the Pebble Beach Market.
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.
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.
The sunset was gorgeous.
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.