Day 14 • March 15, 2012 • New Brighton Beach to Monterey • 43 miles
As we were preparing to leave New Brighton Beach a stranger walked up who knew all about our trip. Turns out it was Jack, Daniel’s occasional boss at the McKinleyville Press. Daniel is my sister Gretchen’s partner. Daniel, Jack says hi.
We departed in steady rain, a situation for which we were gaining experience but not affection. Within ten or so miles however the rain tapered off and it turned into a cloudy but otherwise nice day. And about this time our tailwind returned. No stopping us now!
We began seeing a crop we eventually identified as highly cultivated strawberries. Vast fields of them. Next to vast fields of organic but otherwise identical strawberries. Organic was separated from non-organic by big vertical sheets of plastic and “no spray” signs along the common borders. I see a new market for “almost organic” harvested from the edges of such fields.
As we descended into Moss Landing we spotted an interesting looking shop with huge art-bikes that made the Harleys parked next to them look small. They had table and chairs out of the wind and we were hungry so we stopped for lunch where we met Erick and Martha, some friendly bikers. This place turned out to be a motorcycle apparel and accessory shop with all manner of bike culture paraphernalia including a large assortment of stickers. 80% were age-inappropriate and 15% were plain inappropriate but the other 5% were just what Zoe had been seeking for her fenders.
On the outskirts of Monterey we joined the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail. In a few miles this became a great bike path that provided an essential and well designed alternative to the congested mess that was Highway 1 around here. At its start, however, the road was a better bet for cyclists. Unfortunately we didn’t figure this out until we were committed so we rode the bumps. Closer to Monterey we lost the trail for awhile when it took a sharp turn we didn’t expect but by then we were on Del Monte Avenue which was fine for cycling. I don’t hate all bike paths but this is one of many reason’s I’m often not on multi-use paths when there is a good alternative.
The descent into Monterey along the multi-use path was a lot of fun and when we reached town we thought we were done. Then we took a closer look at our destination, Veteran’s Memorial Park. When you’re at sea level and Skyline Drive is on your route your day isn’t done. Thankfully this park was well worth the 500 feet of steep climb that remained today.