September 26 - From From Monterey to Big Sur

DESCRIPTION: Mileage: 50 miles. Terrain: Flat oceanfront riding along the Peninsula, with short climbs along the 17-Mile Drive in Carmel. Heading south into Big Sur, moderate climbs to 500 ft. Highlights: The most beautiful day of the tour, mostly overlooking the rugged Monterey-Big Sur coastline, passing impressive estates along the famous 17-Mile Drive.

OVERNIGHT: Big Sur Lodge, Big Sur (408.667.3100)


Today was truly one of the very best on the whole tour. The weather was mild, high overcast in the morning and bright sunshine after lunch. The scenery was spectacular beyond our expectations. Many of us had already seen this famous part of the Pacific Coast before, but to have the opportunity to see and experience it from a bicycle was extraordinary. We all took it slow and relished the moments.

Above: Cypress Point on the famed 17-Mile Drive in Monterey.

Above: The Lone Cypress, also on the 17-Mile Drive.

Above: A friendly, panhandling ground squirrel found a tourist ready with cookies to work his charming ways on.

Above: We stopped at the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course for a peek around...

Above: ...and bought some cappuccinos, lattes, and other goodies. Here, Harold holds his coffee, while Bob, Mike, and Rick wait to get theirs. Barbara had a magnificent bear claw that had been presented to her earlier that morning by Harold's friend Paul who met us in Pacific Grove near his home. (He had heard that she loved them when she rode, and that she hadn't gotten nearly enough in the past few weeks; he kindly bought her one as a surprise!) Of course, she shared it with Harold and Bob, because it was truly giant!

Above: The Carmel Mission.

Above: So, how do you park a 10 foot recumbent tandem at a sandy beach picnic? You find a convenient rock to mount its kickstand on. For the road bikes it was easy: just find a rock to lean them on.

Above: After lunch, we all took a bike ride around Point Lobos State Reserve. Here is a view of China Cove near Bird Rock.

Above: Soon after leaving Point Lobos, the landscape changed. On one side were towering coastal hills covered with golden grass with occasional cattle farms. On the other side were impressive vistas of the rugged coastline with numerous viewpoints for cars and bikers to pull over and take a look. Traffic was fairly light.

Above: Here, Barbara, Harold, and Bob biked over the famed Bixby Bridge in Big Sur.

Above: By early- to midafternoon, all of us were in our redwood wilderness cabins at the Lodge in Pffeifer Big Sur State Park. For dinner there was a spaghetti feast followed by a shuttle to the Nepenthe Inn for a look around and some truly awesome desserts.

RIDE STATISTICS: Today's ride was a modest 50 miles with a 2,450-foot total gain in total elevation and two long, twisting, fast descents, most of which occurred in the twenty miles after lunch.

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT TONIGHT'S WEB CONNECTION: There are no phones in our lovely cabins at Big Sur Lodge. In order to get a connection to the Web, Barbara had to walk down a steep hill through the redwoods to the pay phones located outside the lobby at the Lodge. There they had a special pay phone with a data jack.