Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Friday, May 23, 2008
Morro Bay, CA to Gorda, CA
55 miles (4122 total miles)

Today started cloudy, misty and cool. We had breakfast at a nearby restaurant and got onto Rt. 1 at 7:50. It was misting and drizzling off and on for the first few hours. We were right by the ocean again, but it looked gray or green, instead of its usual blue, most of the day. The shoreline was a lot rockier in this stretch than it had been up until now, so that even though the surf was high, there were no surfers out. The ocean looked very wild and fierce with the brooding clouds, churning surf, and dark, jagged rocks along the shore. To our right, by contrast, were gently rolling hills, covered with soft grasses, flowers, and trees. These slowly gave way to the very tall, rugged mountains we were in later in the day.

Our day started out in relatively flat terrain with a number of quaint little towns along the way. As we approached Cayucos, the first such town, we were overtaken by a gentleman about our age, on a bike, who recommended that we take the Cayucos exit from Rt. 1. Our map had recommended that too, but we thought we'd skip the 'detour' and keep going on Rt. 1. He pointed out that we would miss going over a hill and we'd go through a lovely town as well, so we decided to take his advice. We saw him stopping at a cafe in Cayucos on our way through. He was right about the town being lovely, and we were glad to have a little less climb. We continued on Rt. 1, admiring the ocean and the hills, when he caught up to us again. We had passed Harmony, population 18 (just slightly bigger than our record holder, Langtry, TX, which had 15). We had stopped for a rest when our 'guardian angel' came up behind us. This time we found out that he was doing his monthly 'century' ride (100 miles) from San Luis Obispo to an elephant seal park and back home again. This time he suggested that we take the next exit into Cambria, the next town. As before, he suggested that we go into Cambria, another interesting little town, which we had planned to do to buy food supplies for our two upcoming camping days. It was reassuring to get confirmation on the exit we should take, though. He also recommended we stop and see the elephant seals just past the Hearst Castle. After we picked up some food supplies in Cambria, we were soon back on Rt. 1. We soon saw signs for San Simeon and the Hearst Castle; we took pictres of the entrance sign, but did not take the time to go up to it. Shortly afterwards, we saw signs for the elephant seals and we did pull off for that. Like the La Jolla seal beach, this one was strewn with bodies of seals, only this beach was a lot bigger. It turns out that the adult males were not around at the moment, only the young males and females were there. Spring is the molting season, when they molt their skin and they take turns hanging out on the beach while this happens. The adult females come in around June and the adult males not until July or August. The seals were interesting to watch; one of their favorite tricks is to use their front flippers to dust themselves with sand - apparently it helps cool them off. We also saw the tiniest squirrels - chipmunk size, but definitely squirrels! They were scrambling around everywhere, seemingly unafraid of the crowds of people. We headed off again and soon passed a large white rock just off the coast and a small lighthouse near it. This was Point Piedras Blancas.

The road began to rise noticeably now, and behind the gentle hills we could now see the mountains that we would be in for the rest of the day. The road was narrow and wound up and around dramatic mountains that plunged down sharply to the coastline. At a couple of places we saw signs about a rock slide ahead and could tell that the road had recently been cleared of rocks and dirt. It made us pretty conscious that these slides could happen at any time. The clouds had pretty much cleared up by now but it was still cool; the wind was blessedly calm and actually at our back for a welcome change. We moved pretty slowly but the grades were quite manageable and there were a number of places we could stop and rest and take pictures. It was breath-taking scenery (in more ways than one) and made the effort well worthwhile. We had lunch at an expensive restaurant in Ragged Point, at the top of the first climb. We knew the biggest climb was just ahead and we expected to have dinner at the next town, Gorda, about 15 miles ahead and about 3-4 miles before the campsite we planned to stay at tonight. We were not looking forward to camping after a long, tiring day, especially since we expected the campground to be crowded. The big climb was about the same as the first, only a good deal longer. We then had a long descent, braking all the way down, and started up again on a shorter climb into Gorda. We stopped at a restaurant called Whale Watchers Cafe - like the one in Ragged Point, it was the only restaurant in town and it was expensive. We noticed that it had a sign for lodging as well, though, which we hadn't known about. We inquired about it, found out the rooms were pretty expensive, but not as much as the ones in Ragged Point. It was already 5 pm and we quickly put our financial qualms aside in favor of a good night's rest. So we ended the day in Gorda, having gone 55 miles in 6 hours of bike time. We still don't have cell phone service or internet access so we won't be able to post until Sunday night at best, but at least we can prepare the page in comfort.

A cloudy, drizzly start to the day

Hills to our right also covered in cloud and fog

A welcome to Cayucos, our first town

Cayucos' houses along Rt. 1 and up the hillside

A strange structure we saw on the hillside - no clue what it was

Cattle and a house nestled among the trees on a hillsdie

A small canyon in the hills

Interesting store fronts in Cambria

The San Simeon Creek

Camping in San Simeon State Park, right along the road

The ocean still looks gray and rocky

At the entrance to the Hearst Castle

Shoreline at the park across from the Hearst Castle entrance

Waves lap up to the cove at the Hearst park

A tiny squirrel at the elephant seal viewing area

The ocean at the seal beach

The beach strewn with molting seals

A big guy partly covered with sand

A seal in the process of molting

Seals lined up along the edge of the water

This young female seemed to be asking for a handout

This seal was flipping sand over himself

Point Piedras Blancas - lighthouse and rock

Pico Creek

The road starts to rise

The coastline and the mountains coming down to it are still foggy here

Big mountains begin to appear out of the haze

The shoreline approaching Ragged Point

Trees clinging to the side of rocks - the road goes up

A deep canyon among the mountains

Looking down on the ocean from up near Ragged Point

Coming down again after the town of Ragged Point

A big rock balanced in a canyon - a waterfall to the right of it...

and two people climbing on top of the rock to the left

This jaunty fellow hopped along right in front of us before flying off

At the bottom of this cliff was a house and a swimming pool cut into the rock

Ocean far below us...

and more mountain above

Even higher up

Our bike at the bottom of a cliff

And still more mountain to go

The view from our motel room at Gorda

Inside the room

Waves swirling around a rock in the ocean outside our room

Sari goes back inside

Sun sets over the ocean