To Limekiln SP 92km
To Hearst San Simeon SP 72km
To San Luis Obispo 74km
We were told the ride was going to be boring, but we found it anything but boring. We rode for hours through fields of strawberries, artichokes, peppers and other indistinguishable vegetables, all being harvested by huge numbers of Mexican workers. You have to wonder how many are legal. Then we dodged heavy traffic for an hour on a main highway, before slipping onto a cycle path that took us into Monterey. And enroute we met, as usual, some fascinating people, like the airline pilot who 25 years ago had cycled across the USA, and was really excited to meet us, and the recently retired cop, married to an ER nurse, who was just thankfull that he had survived his 25 years service. No, it wasn't boring, and neither was the previous evening.
As we arrived in New Brighton, so did the fog. It got really cold. The next morning wasn't too different, but Ju was keen to hang out to see if it warmed up, so she could go surfing. It didn't. But that meant we needed to stay at the campsite two nights. Officially you can only stay one night. No problem said two different park staff. Just self register..... Oooops. Just on dark the Hiker/Biker site is visited by a Park Ranger. She has a gun on one hip, a Tazer on the other, a big badge and an attitude. Everyone on the campsite got nailed. The English didn't have their receipts taped to their bikes. The Swiss family had only filled out one form instead of four. The Americans only had one form, and we had already stayed a night. No amount of arguing (I did try), was going to get us anywhere except...." I could cite you, arrest you.... (tazer or shoot you..)". We had to move to another site, in the dark, and pay an extra $25. Poor Park Ranger. I hope she felt better after venting her frustration on all us vulnerable and innocent tourists.
The following night was almost as exciting. A woman camping on the Hiker/Biker site, who seemed a little under the weather, drug or alcohol induced, was shipped out in the middle of the night by Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade and Park Rangers. They even packed up her tent into a rubbish bag and took that away. In the meantime, another camper, who was also acting a little strangely during the afternoon, grunted, groaned, and moaned all night, very loudly, keeping everyone, except me, awake. Apparently, he was a "Vet" with Post Combat Stress Syndrome. Knowing that didn't help everyone else sleep though.
Monterey was very nice. We watched a parade.... the Italian, Catholic Community Celebrations, and then we went for a cruise out along the coast and onto 17 Mile Rd, where we saw lots of gated communities, and very fancy houses, surrounded by plush Golf Courses. Apparently these homes (holiday homes, which are used two weeks a year), are owned by the "1%". Seems a little weird seeing so much wealth on one side of the hill, and so many homeless, hopeless cases on the other side of the hill..... but this is America, where we are told it really is "survival of the fittest (read richest)".
We are meeting fascinating people. Like Jessie, a one time drummer, and song writer, in a band sponsored by Van Halen, who after touring the USA for several years, became a councillor in a school for under privileged kids. He and his mother auditioned and got parts in a travelling "Jesus Christ Superstar " cast. He told us some amazing stories. And Diana and William, a young couple, from South Dakota, on their first cycle tour. We've enjoyed their company several nights, and today even cycled with them for several hours. Touring this coast is very social.
And did I say it was spectacular. We spent the last two days cycling the coast near Big Sur. Stunning, and with the added excitement of huge bush fires, that have burnt right down to the road edge, closed camp sites and parks, and water restrictions. We watched a helicopter make several trips to a bay below the cliffs, to fill it's monsoon bucket. And the animals? The last couple of days we've seen Sea Otters, Elephant Seals, Orcas, and Humpback Whales. The only negative, other than the grumpy Park Ranger, has been the amount of traffic, especially on the Sunday.
And now we only have two weeks before we fly back to NZ. Ju is excited, as today she past 2000km on her bike, and we have at least another 500km to go. She feels like a "real cycle tourer". I'm not as excited. I've got very mixed feelings. I'm very keen to be home, but I'm not sure I'm as keen, for this adventure to end. I'm really glad she's here to hold my hand these last few days.