Day 29: New Brighton State Beach – Veterans Memorial Park (Monterey)
Distance: 56.44 mph.
Average Speed: 9.1 mph.
Today was a day to get through quickly, for two reasons: one because Monterey was recommended as one of the must sees of the coast, and two because the next few days could be long ones.
I left the campsite at 9:50, in deference to the 9 o’clock check out time. I wasn’t the last to leave, before you ask. I stopped for breakfast at a nearby cafe, and then at a supermarket. While there, I encountered two of the other bikers who’d been staying at the campsite. A Canadian, Gilles, who was cycling the route for the second time, 25 years after the first, and Tony, who was in the middle of a year long crusade to cycle the 48 states. Tony was deaf so we conducted conversations through the medium of iPad notes. He told me he’d encountered a Grizzly bear in Yellowstone park and met a French couple with two young kids who had cycled Australia and New Zealand and were now doing America too!
Back on the road I was relieved that the going was mainly flat, the route winding its way through farmland away from the highway. On reaching Marina and Seaside the route switched to a cycle path along the coast and made its way into Monterey. The sole antagonist today was the wind, no longer an ally, spent much of the day as a stiff crosswind, as I headed west around the bay.
On reaching Monterey, I found a pretty little town formed around a busy harbour.
I circled around the centre before heading for a bike shop. Opting to disregard my natural instinct to let my bike deteriorate to the point that it self-destructs shortly after I reach the end of the journey, I decided to try and sort the now, extremely rough, drive train. I bought a new chain, some degreaser and a brand new inner tube, for luck.
After my shopping spree, it was still only half past 5, so I headed along passed Cannery Row to Pacific Grove, and found a stunning piece of coastline, one of the highlights of the journey, and I had time to savour it.
I continued around Point Lobos, passing the rugged beaches of Asilomar State Beach before continuing onto Sunset Drive and starting a 200 metre ascent before dropping back down to the pleasant Veterans Memorial Park campsite on the Monterey skyline.
Yet again, I arrived at the campsite at sunset, at least this time it was by choice.