2019 – Ride the West – Day 20 – Marina to Big Sur, CA

Day 20 – Davenport to Marina

This is my third cycling adventure in the US and on each of the other two rides there have been a number of days that stand out as being ‘special’ for a number of reasons. Today’s ride was one of those ‘special’ days and one that I will remember for a number of great reasons.

As we rolled out of Marina the sun was already shining and there was no need for a jacket of any kind today. The day started with a left turn out of the hotel instead of a right turn but fortunately we realised our mistake within a couple of hundred yards and did a quick u turn. The first 10 miles to Monterrey were on a well constructed cycle path that ran parallel to Hwy 1 and it was just nice to not have to cycle on the main highway.

Monterrey is a very nice town situated on the bay where there is an abundance of marine wildlife, especially whales which tend to congregate here.  We ambled into town and found a lovely little coffee shop that overlooked the bay and sat here for a while just enjoying the view and the warm sunshine.

We headed off and followed a cycle path all around the bay until we came to the famous 17 mile drive. This is a very scenic road that follows the coastline and is also where the wealthy folk of this area build their really nice homes on the shoreline.

The road was initially very flat and we just ambled along slowly stopping as and when to absorb the great views and to take many photos.  Eventually the road turned inland a little and became a little hilly but we were in no hurry today with just over 50 miles to ride.  We passed the famous ‘Pebble Beach’ golf course where a number of the US major golf competitions are played before arriving at the very nice town of Carmel where I eventually caught up with Roy.  We decided not to stop for lunch in Carmel but headed on and eventually found a small cafe at the side of the road where we grabbed a drink and sandwich and sat in the cafe courtyard.

We knew that the final 20 or so miles involved two climbs and whilst Roy headed on I decided to pedal gently and enjoy the coastal scenery. I stopped at a pull out and spent 10 minutes chatting to a couple about our journey and found out that the gentleman had spent several years cycle touring in Europe.

The road by now was climbing and falling and it was not too long before I hit the first major climb. You could see it from a few miles back and although it did look steep once I was in my climbing rhythm it was a relatively easy climb. The views from the top and looking back from whence I had come were quite amazing.  I descended the other side and then hit the second and final climb of the day. Again my legs carried me easily up the hill and at the top I stopped and celebrated two great climbs.

The final few miles to our accommodation were straightforward and I arrived shortly before 16:00. Tonight we were staying at the Riverside Campground and we were in log cabins – not my ideal form of accommodation but it was clean and the bed was comfy.  We ate at the local restaurant which was ok but rather expensive for what it was.  Nevertheless, today had been an amazing day, the weather had played its part and the scenery was staggering. There were hills to climb but they too were enjoyable and as I said at the beginning it was one of those ‘special’ days of tour.

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