After a week in the US I was getting into the swing of things. I had managed to stop and get some rest along with meeting amazing people. My next bit north was a road I had heard so much about and couldn’t wait to see it with my own eyes.
Monday 11th April
Knowing I could now take it a little easier having time to meet Jules and having some amazing scenery ahead I got up and went to have breakfast. A few of the house mates were up which was great as I could chat while I sat and drank my coffee. Kate arrived a little later having already been out and done 35 miles and was great to have the chance to thank her again for having me stay. It took me forever to pack my bike but by 10am I was ready. Everyone in the house had been so great and I really felt lucky I’d got to meet them. It was however time to continue north towards my goal and to meet Jules. I left town and it felt almost effortless riding as I got closer to the coast. Once over a sizeable hill I began to drop towards the beautiful seaside town of Moral bay.
One of the Morals on the way to Moral bay
With Moral rock sticking out of the sea which is one of many volcanic rocks that string out in a line it gave a nice back drop to an already pretty town. Needing fuel for my bottle I stopped to buy a litre and headed off for the water front.
I looked around a little but with most of them being gift shops or restaurants there was little need to go in.
I followed the road northwest which then started to head inland a little where the wind started to pick up. The scenery and beaches looked beautiful and were complimented by the clear bright blue sky. Reaching the town of Cayucos by lunch time I picked up a couple snacks and headed to a view point to eat.
Great spot to have lunch
It was nice to sit out of the wind and enjoy the view and soak up the sea air. I was stopped for around 40 minutes before it was time to get going once more and so I made my way to the end of the road where I was put back on to the highway. By this point the wind had picked up a lot more and with very light traffic I knew it was going to be a tough ride.
The road followed the coast for a few more miles before it went inland and felt like I was climbing but according to my GPS I was descending. I couldn’t work it out as I was pushing on hard and it really felt like I was going up but with the wind being so strong I was actually going down. After a while and planning on stopping in a few miles I spotted a cyclist ahead of me. I thought it would be fun to ride up behind him and make him jump. It almost worked but I did surprise him. He had been watching deer cross the road in which I had seen as I approached him.
His name was Sebastian from Quebec in Canada and was half way through a circler loop of Canada and the US. We rode together and as we drew close to the town we spotted more cyclists ahead so we caught them up as they were just stopping at a restaurant. We joined them inside and chatted while they ate. They were all on a group 8 day tour and were camping in the same place as us. They were great company and made it change from camping on my own. David who was one of the cyclists joined me to head to the camp ground to find a spot. Having already booked his space we split up and I made way to a spare place and myself at home. It wasn’t long before I was soon joined by Sebastian who set up next to me.
Other then being next to the highway which wasn’t that busy where we were camped was as good as anywhere and was $20 cheaper then where the others had booked. I sat with Sebastian and we talked about each others trip which I’m always interested not only in seeing how others travel but also knowing that I have so much stuff I am always interested in what people carry. He was also great company which made my evening more fun. Once we had both cooked and packed away our things it was now dark other then a moon slowly rising. It was time to hit the sack and look forward to another day taking it easy.
Tuesday 12th April
For some reason I kept waking in the night and checking my watch. Wanting to head off as early as possible but why today should be any different I didn’t know. I felt unsettled and it was hard to sleep. Everything was getting wet from condensation which was the first I’d had since the south. Feeling tired when it was time to get up I forced myself out of bed and called Sebastian. He was soon up and were both ready to go by 7am. As we made our way out we spotted the other cyclist and went over to chat.
They were such a lovely group and great to see them all out on their bikes
It was nice to see them but with no wind we were keen to get going before it started to blow. We made our way out to the highway and once past Hearst castle the climbs started.
Looking back at the sun coming up through the mist
The road followed tight to the coast but with the steep cliffs it meant a lot of ups and downs. It was however breathtaking scenery and despite the increasing wind we could enjoy the view. We rode around 12 miles before we reached an Elephant seal colony that is the largest in the northern hemisphere.
These two were fun to watch Sparing
Where as this little one was fasinated with watching this bird
They were so cool and could have watched them for hours. Being the beginning of April it was the moulting season where the females come in to shed their skin. Once we had enjoyed looking at them we headed back to the car park to have breakfast. It was a good place to stop and also have the chance to dry the tents. Once we had eaten we set off again heading north. We took it steady often stopping to take photos and just enjoy it.
We stopped at a cafe for a drink before riding on to find a place to eat. As we rode on looking for a place to stop I spotting a sign for Monterey at 65 miles and I realised I needed to slow down.
Having two days to reach it I figured if I found a nice place I would camp early. Sebastian on the other hand needed to get to the town and once I had found somewhere would head on.
We covered another 5 miles and I spotted a stunning place sheltered from the wind with a perfect place to camp. Although it wasn’t allowed I said goodbye to Sebastian then made my self at home and thought it a good time to fix a few things. Not being a very good seamstress I set about sewing up my panniers and gloves before doing a couple bits to my bike. I was hot in the sun so with my tent now dry I put up the inner and sat inside reading.
With dinner on the go and the sun setting i was in a perfect place
It was so nice to have the time to relax and would often fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks then wake to read some more. As the sun got lower I made dinner before clearing my things and heating water to wash.
The camp spot was perfect as there was a clear river that ran right next to it. With no shortage of water I could do what I wanted before it was time to pack the rest of my things and go to bed. Hoping that no one would disturb me I turned in and hoped for a better nights sleep.
Wednesday 13th April
Waking up knowing I had another short day I turned over a few more times to enjoy a short lay in but with the sun now over the hills and turning my tent into an oven I knew my time was limited. I got up to put the kettle on and started to pull my things out of the tent when I noticed it was full of water. Quickly realising it was my water bag that was the issue it was now time to start drying everything out which judging by the spread of everything it looked like everything. Luckily it was a nice day and no wind so once I had eaten breakfast I headed up to the car park to load my bike. Seeing people getting ready to surf I went to check out the spot to see some pretty good guys.
Watching the guys surf all I wanted to do was get in the water
I watched them for a while before I set off and continued to ride north. I met a guy who was also heading north but he didn’t seem to like the route due to the hills. For me however i had the time to stop and take it all in. It was stunning as I wound my way along the craggy cliffs with the Pacific Ocean to my left.
Looking back at the Big Sur and the ocean road
Spotting a couple with binoculars I stopped to ask if they had seen something to which they said whales. Letting me look through there binoculars I could see a grey whale slowly moving north also heading to Alaska. I set off once more getting closer to the Big Sur and stopped to see a waterfall that fell into the sea. It was beautiful but from what I was told us very rare.
The scenery was amazing
A rare sight of a waterfall falling into the ocean
Bixby bridge, Bis Sur
After another hour I reached Big Sur and stopped to have a snack. I looked at my phone to see I had got a signal and loads of messages had come in, one of which was from a guy called frank. He asked me where I was and would I make it today. Not even sure how he had my number or where he lived we started to message to find he was a friend of a friend of Chris and was another 30 miles up the road. Inviting me to stay and with it being 2pm I decided I would go for it. As I set off I noticed the wind had picked up and was now howling.
Big Sur redwoods
Even though it was slow going I noticed the redwoods had started and we’re getting bigger by the minute but as they did I became more protected from the wind. Once out of them my speed slowed as I was faced once more with a brutal headwind that made it hard to move forward. I did manage to keep going climbing hill after hill and crossing the famous Bixby bridge. After stopping to take photos I rode on and arrived in the outskirts of Carmel which is a very rich and hilly area. The houses were beautiful all tucked away in between trees that lined the road. Once I had climbed a big hill I dropped the other side and dropped towards the Ocean. With a bit of searching I found Franks house and was met by Savannah who was Franks grand daughter and Bob who was Franks friend. Their home was beautiful and was situated right on the sea front with stunning views out to the horizon. Frank arrived home with his lovely wife Michelle and their friends.
Just the most amazing family
I was immediately made to feel at home and shown to my room. I had arrived in paradise with a hot tub outside my room and a bed with air cushioning that came with a remote control. I sat with them and chatted while having dinner. They were such a lovely family and really made me feel at home an incredible one at that.
Thursday 14th April
Waking up in not only an incredible house but with an incredible family I went in to join them for breakfast. Hearing that Jules flight had not left the UK was so rubbish as I knew he was so excited about coming out. I chatted to frank about what our plans were and he very kindly offered both of us to stay as long as we needed.
Michelle, Savannah and their gorgeous dog Bella
Wanting to go into town and visit Frank and Michelle’s hire shop I headed out into town to find it. I rode around the bay and it wasn’t long before I arrived at a huge bike, kayak, paddle board hire shop which I was really impressed with. I chatted with the staff for a while but wanting to go and check out an outdoor shop I got directions and headed out of town. Having arranged a time to meet Pat the owner of Fuji bikes I headed out for 7 miles to the north which took a while to get there but once there I started to see all the things I really wanted. Realising after about an hour I was about to spend far to much I stopped looking and brought the things I wanted. Pleased with my purchases I checked my watch to see I was going to be late to meet Pat in the centre of town. I raced back as fast as I could and reached the shop about 10 minutes after I was meant to be there. Seeing Frank in the shop we headed over to the hotel to find Pat chatting to a few people so went to say hello. I really enjoyed chatting to him because I could tell he was passionate about what he did. I told him I was on a Surly Troll so Pat took me to meet Dave grey or Mr Surly to everyone else and had given the bike its name.
Frank, David, Me and Pat
It was so great to be surrounded by these people, as like Tom Richey and Joe Breeze who had invented the mountain bike, It was people like these guys who had developed the bicycle to a point that allowed us to push the boundaries of what is capable on a bike. Setting new records and developing new talents on a bike that were previously thought impossible. I was amongst the greats and although I was pushing their product beyond what it was designed for it was because of these guys that I was able to do this in the first place.
One of the best views from a house I have ever seen
Only having a short window to say hello to a few people it was time to head off and go and get ingredients to make a crumble. Frank and Michelle were very kindly cooking me a steak and I wanted to do something in return. Once back at the house Michelle and I went out for a short run and to try out my new running shoes. It was good to stretch the legs but they still didn’t like running. Once back we both prepared the things we needed before we sat down to eat the most amazing steak. I couldn’t believe what an awesome family they were and felt so lucky to be in their company. They truly are the most amazing people with the biggest hearts.
Dolly is ready for a good night out
It was so great to relax and watch a film but being tired I headed to bed before the end but seeing the hot tub I had to go in just for 5 minutes. I was in heaven and I didn’t want it to end.
Friday 15th April
Joining Frank, Michelle and Savannah for breakfast we chatted about my day and what I was going to do. With no news from Jules which was good news as it would mean he was on his plane meant I had a day to do as I pleased. Sorting through a few things Frank asked if I could go to the shop and help one of their guys with some wheels. More then happy to help out I got what I needed for the day then set off out into town.
A very old John deere on display in the centre of town
Needing a few things I did what I needed, then made my way to the shop. I met up with Rudey and we set to work on a few wheels getting them back to where they should be and helped with a few other things. Being well after lunch by the time I was done I went to get some food then once finished I decided it would be good to just check over Dolly to see if there was anything that needed doing. Spotting a couple loose spokes, cleaning the chain and making a few adjustments felt good and my bike was now ready for the off. I headed back to the house and needing to sort through my things for our ride south I went through my kit. Finally getting a message from Jules was great and even better was that he had managed to catch the shuttle bus to Monterey. Knowing he would be here in a few hours we headed out to grab some tea and be in the right place to meet him.
We went to an amazing place with amazing food and managed to time it perfectly. Getting a message from Jules to say he had arrived we headed across town for 5 minutes and arrived to pick him up. It was so good to see him and knew he would be tired form his long flight. We headed back to the house got him some food and celebrated with some wine.
An amazing sunset after a great day
Frank showed him around and once we had a couple drinks we headed outside our room to use the hot tub. The adventure had began and we couldn’t wait for what we had planned for tomorrow.
Saturday 16th April
Once Jules had enough sleep we got up and joined Frank for breakfast. We felt so at home here and yet this place was like heaven. We took it easy sorting through our things until Ben their driver arrived to take us and our bikes out to the Sea Otter Classic which is a Cycle event with all the major brands and top cyclists getting together to race and promote their products. It took about half an hour to reach and were soon in checking out the latest products and new designs.
One of the weirder bikes on offer which was the iso truss bike
With everything from the wacky to the incredible it was great to look around. We spent about an hour looking at a few stalls before stopping to eat and got chatting to a few locals.
Checking out the stalls with the down hill in the background
Coming from Moral Bay 100 miles south they invited us to stay as we would be heading south back down the Big Sur and so decided to take them up on their offer. Once we finished lunch we continued to look around before heading to the track to check out the racing. With a mountain bike race on we stopped to watch and felt tired just watching them. They were flying with the course looking pretty tough going. We watched for about an hour before heading back to Monterey to go kayaking before it got to late.
Being pretty much all down hill we soon covered the 11 miles back to town and once we had got a few snacks we headed to the shop to sort out the kayak trip. The guys in the shop were great and soon had us sorted out and ready to go. We made our way down in front of the hotel and were both given a Kayak. As soon as we set out we could see our first otters laying in the kelp beds grooming themselves.
One of the sea otters checking me out with Jules in the background
They lay on their backs to keep their paws warm
They were amazing to watch and so cool to see so close up. We headed up the bay passing many more otters some more nervous then others and the odd seal that wold stick its hard up to say hello. With the wind blowing us gently back we made our way through the various kelp beds spotting all the different otters. We felt so lucky we had this opportunity and it had been made possible by Frank and Michelle. Once back and still having time we headed up through the old town and up to the supermarket to get a few bits.
These guys were so much fun and we were both so happy to be here
Tonight we were being treated to a BBQ and an amazing one at that. Ever since we have been here we have been spoiled by the most amazing people and made to feel so welcome. Frank, Michelle and Savannah were just the best and their dog Bella was the most awesome dog. We did however miss Savannah who was at a friends place but we hoped to see her when we returned. With a plan to leave early tomorrow for the Big Sur it was time to head to bed via the hot tub ready for our next adventure but it was going to be hard to leave paradise.
Having had an incredible ride up the Big Sur I was now with Jules and and amazing family. The further I went north the better it got and with the last week being so beautiful I wanted to doing it again but this time with Jules. I knew we would be going the wrong way but it was going to be so worth it. shedding some weight would mean we could do it with ease and enjoy it more. I was now on holiday and I knew we were both about to have fun.
Thanks for reading xx