Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Saturday, May 24, 2008
Gorda, CA to Big Sur, CA
37 miles (4159 total miles)

The weather today was much better than yesterday - still a bit cool and overcast but no fog or drizzle. We still had a tail wind, which we were very pleased about, especially since we had just as much climbing to do today as yesterday, although we had fewer miles to do it in. We continued on Hwy. 1 again all day, from Gorda to Big Sur. The ocean was a lot calmer today, too. In a lot of places near the shore, it was still green like yesterday, but out a little farther, it was dark blue. As we got closer to Big Sur, the road was higher up the mountains and we couldn't see the ocean edge without getting off the bike and looking over the edge. The mountains were spectacular today too. Huge, rugged mountains, mostly covered with trees, big evergreens in most parts. We passed through Los Padres National Forest most of the day.

From Gorda, we passed through the town of Lucia and stopped at Lucia Lodge, owned by a friend of a family friend of Pat's - Seth Capron. Seth lives in Aromas, and we'll be staying with him Monday night, but he has also been trying to get us places to stay along the route this weekend, since so many places were full up. He had arranged with Ken, the owner of the Lodge, to let us camp by the lodge if we couldn't find other accommodations. Seth had also gotten us a place to stay in Gorda, but unfortunately we didn't get the message before our cell phone went out of range. Luckily, we were able to find space tonight in the hiker/biker area at the Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park - not as comfortable as our room last night, but very nice nonetheless. We are in the midst of a grove of redwood trees. It's quite a lovely park.

After Lucia, we didn't pass through any other towns before Big Sur. We flew by the Esalen Institute before getting to the town itself; I was sorry not to get a picture of the entrance sign but we were going downhill and didn't want to stop. The institute itself seems to have been down the hill towards the ocean. After the institute, we passed a number of driveways with mailboxes which seemed to belong to private homes, also partway down the mountain overlooking the ocean - must have been beautiful, but we didn't see any of these houses. A few miles later, we entered the town. It was actually quite small - the population is only about 520, apparently. We passed a lodge, a large Henry Miller Memorial Library, some art galleries, and a restaurant/garden/gas station. We weren't sure what the Big Sur was supposed to be famous for - the ocean views and the mountains were stupendous, certainly, but they had been for miles south of here and probably for miles north as well. Maybe it was just the quirky California people who live there - there certainly seemed to be a number of artistic types here.

We had a short day today, 37 miles in 4 and 1/2 hours of bike time. It still took us about 8 hours, with our frequent stops to rest up from the climbs or to take pictures. We stopped to chat with few people at the 'vista points' along the road - everyone seemed very relaxed, in holiday mode, today. We saw a lot of bikes today, too, some touring and some local. At the state park, there were several other hikers and bikers camping. One young couple from Baltimore was hiking from San Diego to Seattle. Another couple from Switzerland are biking in the other direction, from Seattle to Los Angeles. All in all, a beautiful and interesting day. And we have cell phone and internet coverage, which we hadn't expected! So at least we can put up yesterday's page and as much of today's as we have electricity for.

The ocean, relatively calm this morning

Cliff over the ocean

Pat all bundled up against the early morning chill

Looking back on the winding road and a vista point

Boulders out in the water

Rugged mountains on our right

Entrance to the Plaskett Creek State Park, where we would have camped last night

Looks like a nice campground

More of the enormous mountains on our right

A field of bright orange poppies

Some deep canyons between mountains

Another State Park...

with some of the campers there and the view from the park

A massive cliff next to the road

Another cliff with a limestone streak in it

We passed a hermitage, but I didn't catch the whole sign

The Lucia Lodge in Lucia

A picnic area on a ledge below the lodge

Looking back on the road and the ocean view

A bridge over Big Creek where it opens into the ocean

The deep blue sea

A small trail going down towards the ocean

Looking down into a deep canyon (through the bridge railing)

Gate into one of the houses along the ocean near Big Sur

Another gated driveway

Another green canyon

Another state park, this one for day use only, no camping

Pretty poppies around the park sign

Waves churn around a rock in the ocean far below

The rocky coastline...

zoomed in closer

More of the coast line near Big Sur

A close up of the rocks below

The massive mountains going down to the ocean

Waves crash around the rocks near the shore

Huge evergreens around a curve in the road

A gigantic yucca flower, growing out of the rock

The Henry Miller Library in the town of Big Sur

Redwoods at the Big Sur campsite

Pat with our tent and bike

Big Sur creek, running through the park