Our hotel in Santa Cruz on a Friday night was the most expensive and worst value so far. All hotels had raised the rates between a Thursday night and Friday night. Most went up between 50 to 100% between the 2 night’s. We try to travel cheap and we got it. Except it was the room accommodations that were low, not the price. We shared a king bed. The bed took up nearly the entire room. We barely had space to put the bikes on either side of the bed against the wall. There was a sink, toilet and tub/shower. After that, there was NO fridge, microwave, coffee maker, chair, desk, or even ANY PLACE TO PUT YOUR CLOTHES. Not a dresser or any kind of coat rack or hangers. It did come with a TV and WiFi, along with lots of music and lively conversation outside our door from the parking lot.
There was no hairdryer, so we had to skip laundry. Obviously, no opportunity to eat before we left, so we stopped at a Safeway as we were leaving town. We both got something from the bakery to go along with a banana. I added yogurt and milk to my breakfast.
Flat terrain might be common in the Midwest where I grew up, but it is a rarity along our ride. Leaving Santa Cruz, our legs paid the road tax with many short, but tiring PUDs. You can see more details and hill analysis here.
Once we got out of Santa Cruz, were were in a world we had only started to see briefly so far. There is a lot of agriculture here. Unlike the massive corn, wheat, and soybean operations of the Midwest, here are where the consumable vegetables are grown. Harvesting is not done by massive combines. Here it is a very labor intensive operation. I thought this scene was a good metaphor. On the top of a hill was a large impressive home. At the bottom of the hill, across the road were workers picking in the fields below.
We made our way farther of CA-1 And got a closer look at where our food comes from. We saw massive fields of strawberries, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, and a few other green vegetables that I couldn’t recognize in their non packaged state.
In the first 2 pictures below are strawberries. That shiny expanse is not water. It is plastic protecting the plants.
It is hard to make out, but these are artichokes. It is a big plant to get the edible bud at the top. We passed by Castroville, the artichoke capital of the world.
These farm roads had been fairly free of traffic. At times they were fairly free of pavement. We were bounced by the clumps of dirt, cracks on the pavement, patches to the cracks, and the patches made to the patches in the road. There was a lot of road construction on CA 1 as we made our way to Moss Landing. There we had fried oysters, fish tacos, and beer. The Seafood Harvest was along the water. We watched pelicans soar by overhead. In the water were people on kayaks, paddle boards, and a surfer with a foil.
After lunch, it was back on the bikes. We rode some more on CA 1, then got on a paved bike trail that took us all the way to the town of Seaside.
After another short ride through town on CA 1, we made it into Monterey. We rode another bike path along the harbor. There were lots of people out and it made it slow going. The beautiful scenery slowed us down a little, too.
We had a short, but steep series of climbs to reach our hosts and friends, Erik and Katie Uppman. Their son, Henry and dog, Bear, also greeted us. Bear’s greeting was a little wet.
That evening, we were able to get clean and then we got fed well beyond our expectations and stomach capacities. We enjoyed the conversation with all of them. We also had a nice visit from Shirley, a neighbor across the street. We hit the sack early. I got Henry’s bed, Ron got pads on the floor so he could enjoy his camping experience.
Tomorrow we will enjoy our time with the Uppmans and also get a chance for some maintenance and planning for the hardest days ahead.
Thanks again to Erik, Katie, Henry, and Bear (not pictured or forgotten). They shared with us their home and valuable time to rest, recuperate, do bike maintenance, laundry, socialize and generally feel like human beings again.
The Not So Lone Rider