Cycling the West Coast: Big Sur! [Day 32]

Luke Guilford | CycleCycle
Looking up towards Hurricane Point. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford
Looking up towards Hurricane Point. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

Day 32

I got up earlier today, at about 5:30 am. I planned for 80 miles of riding today to make it to Andrew Molera State Park which is a few miles north of the “town” Big Sur. Today was one of the few days where I strayed from Highway 1, as this section of the highway was not recommended on a bike. I made my own way parallel with the highway, cycling through what seemed like endless farmland.

These are no Midwest farms. I am used to seeing a field with maybe one or two people working on it, typically in the comforts of an air-conditioned tractor. These fields however had maybe 100 people bending over hand picking everything. The farms were north of Moss Landing in the Pajaro Valley. I can’t speak for all of them, but most of them were fruit farms, like strawberries.

A farm in the Pajaro Valley. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford
A farm in the Pajaro Valley. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

One of the strawberry fields I saw caught me off guard. A couple of the farmers were spraying the fields wearing a suit that resembled a hazmat suit. It was awkward because the farmer stopped spraying as I passed by, and I just held my breath like that was supposed to be the right thing to do. I don’t know enough about what is sprayed on farms, but it definitely made me want to wash all my produce thoroughly.

After biking through the farms, I made it to Moss Landing where I stopped at a fruit stand to get some produce. It was fun to look at the variety of produce and get a few things to snack on. I was now back on Highway 1, wind on my back and pushing a great time.

Fresh fruit from the valley! Photo Credit: Luke Guilford
Fresh fruit from the valley! Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

Not too much longer I arrived in Monterey, and I only had a couple days left to do what I had been waiting to do for a while… In-N-Out. I got a burger and fries and enjoyed every bit of it, and yes, I did get it animal-style.

After lunch, I decided to check out Monterey, and I was hoping to see the aquarium. Unfortunately, I will have to save the aquarium for another time, the line was wrapping around the street and I didn’t have the luxury of time to wait around. I instead biked around the bay and made it to 17 miles drive, which is a road that wraps around the peninsula, showcasing some of the most expensive homes I have ever seen. To drive the road, you have to pay so I think that kept a lot of traffic out because it was relatively empty and so were the beaches.

Lover's Point Park off the coast of Pacific Grove. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford
Lover’s Point Park off the coast of Pacific Grove. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

I found a nearly empty beach and passed out for about an hour, getting more than a power nap in. I still had 30 miles to go so I finished up the 17 mile drive and made one last pit stop before setting off into the remote terrain of Big Sur. I grabbed a few things from Safeway and took off.

The coastline evolved into exactly what I was hoping it would. Quickly, the road became suspended over the massive cliffs, and every turn offered an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean. I had no problem, finding motivation to push up the hills, knowing that a scenic pull-off and panoramic view awaited me.

The downhills were nuclear. If it wasn’t for constant car traffic, I would’ve opened it up, bombing those hills was so much fun… free miles!

Hurricane Point! Photo Credit: Luke Guilford
Hurricane Point along Big Sur! Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

I eventually made it up to Hurricane Point, one of the highest points along the Big Sur Coastline. I quickly understood the naming for the point, that wind was relentless! Nonetheless, it was one of my favorite viewpoints.

From Hurricane Point, it was all downhill to Andrew Molera State Park. I wheeled my bike down the dirt path and found a nice spot to pitch my tent for the last time. Itching to see the coast for one more sunset, I started hiking out to the beach and made it just in time.

One final sunset. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford
One final sunset. Photo Credit: Luke Guilford

I am so stoked to continue biking through this terrain tomorrow and explore more of the coast. I don’t think I could see this area by car, I felt like biking was even too quick to take everything in. Falling asleep was easy tonight, 80 miles today beat me up. The plan tomorrow is to get to Big Creek Bridge where I will get picked up by my father and then start heading east.

Stats from today:

  • 80 miles biked
  • 2,500 vertical feet climbed
  • 8 strawberries consumed
  • 1 happy nap
Day 32!
Day 32!

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