It all started on a Friday Babes ride. I probably haven't written directly about the Babes because I've wanted to keep them/us a secret, but after today's fantastic ride (6/27/14), it's time to spill the beans.
The ride started after a 2 hour drive from my house to Pacific Grove, a quaint seaside community between Monterey, California and Carmel -- two gorgeous places that are on the list in the book A Thousand Places to See Before I Die. All eight of us met up in front of the bathrooms at Lovers Point. I know that doesn't sound very romantic, but you always have to start a ride near a bathroom.
|ONE OF OUR MANY GORGEOUS VIEWS|
We headed south, some of the time on the road, and other times on bike paths. Riding through the toll booth at the entrance to 17 Mile Drive and not have to stop to pay was a kick because cyclists get to use the private road for free, while cars pay a rather hefty fee. The weather started out a little bit foggy, which is typical for the California Coast this time of year, but after an hour or so, the sun came out, and we began shedding layers. There had been some earlier rumblings about Spyglass Hill, so I figured there would be a good climb at some point, but I certainly wasn't expecting something as steep as 13%. Most people laugh when they see how low my bike gears are. I'm no dummy. I did not get off my bike to get up Spyglass Hill. I didn't even have to weave back and forth across the road like Miss Nameless, but heck, she made it to the top without stopping, so who really cares how she did it!
|NO MATTER HOW MUCH I ENLARGE THIS PHOTO, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE|
Enough about Spyglass Hill because the rest of the ride was pretty comfy. There were some rollers, of course, but to me that's a perfect ride. I even like climbing hills, even steep hills, but it's better if I'm in top form, like I was when I rode Mount Tam last summer. Even better than the roads was our delicious lunch at the outdoor cafe at the municipal golf course, often called Poor Man's Pebble Beach. I played golf there once, but I hung up my clubs when I realized I was better at riding a bike.
|ANOTHER GORGEOUS VIEW LOOKING SOUTH TO THE VILLAGE OF CARMEL|
|CANDICE AND JULIE ON THEIR PHONES -- "HEY, WHERE ARE YOU GUYS?"|
|IPHONES HAVE LOUSY WIDE-ANGLE LENS, SO NOT EVERYONE MADE IT IN THIS PICTURE|
After lunch we rode back through famous Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or at least close to it, and then Fisherman's Wharf on a path that was very crowded with kids on trikes, pretty serious runners, and tourist cyclists, which means bike riders who are slow and don't have a clue as to what they are doing. Eventually we got on the sand dunes path that had a magnificent view south overlooking Monterey Bay and north to the beach town of Santa Cruz. I've seen that dunes path a hundred times before when driving on Highway #1, but this was the first time I'd actually ridden it. Very cool indeed.
|A VIEW FROM THE DUNES PATH LOOKING SOUTH TO MONTEREY|
At one point on the dunes path, a few of the Babes turned around, but I kept going until I reached another Miss Nameless who looks like she's barely pedaling, but she goes like the wind. She was sitting on a guardrail at the top of a short hill waiting for me, while I huffed and puffed up the hill to meet her. At that point we decided to turn back and head for the commercial fishing wharf in Monterey because she was hoping to buy some fresh fish for dinner. Well, the commercial wharf was really quite an interesting scene with very large refrigerated trucks waiting to pick up fresh fish right from the boats. There were no tourists. Just working stiffs and a couple of cyclists hoping to buy fresh fish.
|CHECK OUT THE ICE IN THE RED CONTAINERS WAITING TO LOAD ALONG WITH THE FRESH FISH|
When that didn't work out, we headed to a local market where we knew we could buy really fresh, and we did. My friend didn't have a backpack or any place to carry the fish for the rest of the five mile ride back to our car, so she stored the fish packed in a plastic bag with ice under her bike shirt and zipped up her jacket, and prayed it would hold until we reached the car. And it did.
|WHAT A VERY CREATIVE WAY TO CARRY FRESH FISH|
|HOW MANY SEALS DO YOU SEE IN THIS IPHONE PICTURE?|
The rest of our bike ride was pretty straightforward except when we went to load our bikes in my car which was parked in a quiet residential area just off a busy street. That's when a lovely man came out of his house and said, "Ma'am, your car alarm went off twice today. I thought you should know." "Oh, my God," I said. "I'm so sorry. What happened? How did you stop it?" "I didn't," he said. "It eventually went off by itself. Then the second time the horn went off, I tried to jiggle the driver's door because I noticed it wasn't shut tight, even though the car was locked. Again, the horn eventually shut off by itself." Of course, I was mortified, but there was nothing I could do but tell him how sorry I was, and I hoped I didn't ruin his or his neighbors' day, but he seemed very nonchalant. Just got in his car and drove away.
So, that's my story about today's great bike ride in Pacific Grove and Monterey with The Babes. Just think. Some people spend thousands of dollars to travel here and ride their bikes on the same beautiful route we did today. All I spent was $15.00 for lunch and three-quarters of a tank of gas.
|$15 BUCKS AND 3/4 OF A TANK OF GAS!|