Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Always Go Forward, and Never Look Back"

My first afternoon, and first time to visit Monterey Bay--bike riding here seems to be out of necessity for some people living here, and just makes sense. There's a nice bike/walking/jogging path that connects tourists to the spots, and helps locals get about.

Seals sun themselves--the water is clean, and the air feels good to breathe. I believe seals enjoy their lives as they seem content and don't mind the tourists--but they can be noisy and their barks and bellows you would probably tune-out after awhile. Kind of like when the jets fly over here in Tucson. You get used to it...

Cannery Row of way back. Probably was a rough place to work and live...

The Monterey Bay Aquarium--way cool. Marni and I got really hungry looking at all the fish. In a way a I felt a little guilty--but after a few cold beers and fried Calumari, bring on the fish, Baby!

Okay, so the adventure begins. We eat and drink some of the best seafood I've ever had, then attend the "conference" I get an hour break in between speakers, and rent a road bike from a bike shop in Cannery Row. I get a map and encouragement from the wrench, and he gives me a break on the price of the rental. He pulls out a large road bike that never gets ridden much, and the bike says "Go Go Go!" I get it back to my hotel room--riding through the streets of downtown Monterey. I already feel like a frumpy local and not a frumpy librarian-type.

I've brought my own clips, and other bike gear/clothes for a 40+ mile ride up (or down) the coast. Shock told me, and I think Stef and Angela told me it could be cold--so I brought arm and leg warmers.

After a dinner with the company that evening, my plan was to get out early and ride up to the Mission in Carmel--looks like about 20 miles down the coast; a very do-able distance for me. As the dinner was about to get under-way, and we were getting a lift from our hosts to the resturant--I met this guy Tony and his wife Rita, from Pittsburg. Tony had gone out the day before on a rental bike and gave me some good info on the route I was going to take (because gentle readers, the maps I had sucked and got me lost) So thanks to Tony's recon of the area, I felt good about my trip.

When I left about 6:45 a.m. from my hotel it was foggy, kind of dark, and as you can see from the only human likeness beside myself, cold... I put a local weekly rag newspaper in the front of my jersey to keep my nipples from freezing off! I'll toss the paper once it warms up...

Cannery Row and the Aquarium. I zipped through town along the bike path. I brought flicky lights so I wouldn't get run over by a fish delivery truck. It was cool because the air was wet and misty and not a soul was around.

The Point Pinos Lighthouse, in operation since 1855. You can see how dark it was out there. From here I start to get on the coast, and I can feel and taste the ocean spray on my lips. I'm on 17 Mile Drive going south down the coast. Gulls and pelicans glide over and eye me with a bit of couriosity.

Wow--its like the ocean! This area is a Nat'l Marine Sancturary--cool...

The ocean at what appears as high tide, seems kind of like me in the morning; loud and restless.

I took more pictures but when I stopped I got cold--kept moving to stay warm, plus there was a bit of rain. But it was oh so sweet--the waves, the birds, the seals, the sea otters out there.

No one around to take my photo--yet another self-portrait in your face, Gentle Readers!

Oh yeah, so then there's Pebble Beach--some where along the line I made a wrong turn, and ended up climbing into the mountains. The fog and mist made it difficult to see, and luckily there was no traffic--the roads got narrow and went up and down through the thick forests. There were plenty of deer about. Many of them just stood in the road, or by the side of the road watching me climb up the hills. This area is semi-private and closed to bikes and tourists on the weekends. I couldn't see but I could hear the waves, but they may have been echoing thru the canyons. Either way I ended up going more North and East than I wanted, and was headed more toward Hwy 68.

I saw some sort of building and a woman had parked her car and was heading into her office. I stopped her to ask for directions. She looked really surprised at first--like, where did you come from and how did you get here? Until she looked at the map I had. "No wonder you're lost--this map is horrible!" But she set me straight and basically I had to go back down the way I came. Had to watch for deer on the fast descents--and through the fog, I almost missed the landmark the woman told me to watch for. Geez! But I got the road she said, and I popped out and could see the beach.

So just rode along at a nice clip--I passed the Lone Cypress Tree, famous landmark--obscured by the fog still laying around... nearing Carmel, I had to start climbing again. I went through the Carmel Gate, and had to ride in morning rush hour traffic on some narrow curvy roads--got to a place to take a breather, and asked a young waitress at a cafe if she could point me in the direction of the old Mission. I was close, and her directions got me there (she actually told me a short cut the locals use to get to Safeway) but I had about two miles of tough climbing to get to the an old ranch and Ranch Road--suddenly the Mission appeared.

The Basilica of Mission San Carlos Borromeo, Del Rio Carmelo--opens at 9:30 a.m.
Friendly staff let me in the gift shop to get warm, and they let me stash the rental bike in a storeroom. One of the nuns let me inside the compound and in the garden, where the sun warmed me as it came up over the mountains. I rested while the staff got things ready to open the place for visitors, pilgrams, and tourists. Humming birds darted about and let me know I was on their turf.

Morning in the garden.

Sun coming up, as it had since 1770.

I go inside, and say a prayer I can find my way back to Monterey!

Finally some sunshine! This place is so beautiful. I'm glad I'm here.

Every where, there's a vision of beauty and mystery--a moment to reflect on who and what you are--where you belong in time and place, and the purpose for that arrangement.

It is healthy to ponder these thoughts, in this world of airports, elevators, conferences, blogs, emails, and shopping malls.

This is where the Padre hung out. Father Junipero Serra, who founded this mission, as well as all the other ones in California, said, "Always go forward and never look back." I will use this as my mantra for my 2007 Brevet Series.

These guys were from the Netherlands...

On the coast, headed back to Monterey.

My old friends from the mountains, now having breakfast on the golf courses of Pebble Beach.

Sea otters down there in the kelp.

Nearing Monterey, and a few miles from Cannery Row. I ride back to my hotel, stash the bike, change, and make it back to a speaker at the conference center. Mes amis, you must know I slept through most of the speaker (she wasn't very good) and then had yet another awesome lunch on the warf. Glad I made this trip...

Allure Libre!

1 comment:

Stefan Walz said...

Excellent trip report my friend. I envy you.