- Day 4 94 km (58 miles)
- Monterey to Lucia (Big Sur)
- Total 347 km (216 miles)
Today is the winter solstice, the shortest daylight of the year. In Monterey, that comes out to 9 hours 39 minutes. We wake up early every day, but in case we slept through our alarms, we would have been woken up by reveille at 7am. Apparently Veterans Memorial Campsite is next to a military base (now the name makes more sense). I subconsciously picked up my packing pace as the sound of the bugle used to be a warning alarm that a flood of dirty Boy Scout campers was about to storm the bathrooms. FYI they also played taps at 10pm last night, so hope you are a heavy sleeper or don’t mind following a military schedule. If it wasn’t for our limited vacation time, it would have been nice to have a layover here to relax and slowly explore Pebble Beach and the 17-mile drive (free for bikes). Most hiker biker campsites only allow a one-night stay, but this one is run by the city (not the state) and allows up to 3 nights.
We picked up lunch at the last supermarket on the end of town before embarking on our 90-mile journey along Highway 1, the only way in and the only way out. My biggest concern about riding during this time of the year is the high risk of mudslides that occur on this stretch. Last year there was a section of the road that fell out and closed the entire road for months. Just last week there was a small rockslide, but luckily the road was cleaned up and reopened this past weekend. The alternative route would have been the 101 which goes inland away from this beautiful stretch of coastline. You can imagine how relieved and happy I was to see a sign that reported all sections of Highway 1 open.
The town ended and nature regained its rightful place again. I had to stop a couple of times just to take photos of my dream homes, quintessential examples of Pacific coast architecture built from local wood and designed to blend with nature. This is quite the contrast to the massive bright mansions with perfectly manicured lawns you find in Beverly Hills. Truly those who live here are the richest, their house may not be the grandest, but they have nature, peace, and the vast ocean beyond them.
If it wasn’t for the beautiful scenery, this stretch of road is also perhaps the most dangerous of the entire trip. The road is narrow, winding, and hilly with often nonexistent shoulders. Although we were riding along the ocean side, there was always a rail guard and I never felt like I may fall off. The biggest concern was getting hit as were constantly passed by vehicles ranging from compacts to semitrucks to Caltrans rock plow trucks.
At the iconic Bixy Bridge, I didn’t hesitate to take plenty of photos from my camera and my drone. I wasn’t the only one with the same thought, someone landed their drone just as I took off, and then someone else took off just as I landed. May need a drone ATC for that area soon. I’m just glad we can fly there since it seems like drone restrictions are popping up all over the place
We pulled off the side of the road to enjoy lunch by the Big Sur creek at Point Sur. It was a nice change of scenery from all the coastline (dare I say?), but also, we could avoid all the tourists and rest in the shade. At Big Sur, we dumped off our lunch garbage and I took at peek at the gas prices. $6.49 per gallon. It’s like looking into the future. Another mile down the road at Glen Oaks I dropped off some body garbage and connected to the bar Wi-Fi to download some more podcasts. Gas went up another 10 cents, inflation is out of control just like the news has been saying! The girl with the backpack finally responded, you would think she would be more anxious if she knew her backpack was missing.
I felt the daylight slipping, so I unfortunately had to skip McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. We managed riding in the dark the previous few days because we were on quieter side roads that were well lit. This road becomes pitch black at night and a storm was rolling in. I hustled along to catch up to Dustin, passing by nets that have been installed on the cliff to catch falling rocks. We rolled into to Limekiln Campground 10 minutes before sunset, but it was already dark as the sun has dropped behind the rapidly advancing clouds on the horizon. I walked over to the beach to watch the sun peak out a bit before setting behind the edge of the earth. There was a churn in the water, and I rushed back to get setup before the storm.
The weather report called for rain for the next few days starting tonight. The rangers also advised us to get ready to go if we need to evacuate in the middle of the night as we were set up in a valley by a creek. I sure hope we don’t need to do that because I already take an hour to get ready without rain. Just in case, I stashed by bike under the vestibule instead of locking outside. The good news is that we are halfway through rockslide prone Big Sur, but the bad news we are only halfway through. There is no point in worrying, this trip was always meant to be flexible, and we are figuring things out every day. The best and only thing to do is enjoy the ride and all this adventure.