Santa Cruz to Monterey

Santa Cruz Travel Blog

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Stopping for a break
Sunday morning dawned warm and sunny for the first time on my short trip, and from here on South, things just got more Californian. My first breakfast was at a bagel shop in Soquel, trying not to smile as the server greeted each customer with a cheery "Dude, morning!" - I could get used to this place. People sat outside, reading the papers and easing into their day off, curious about my laden bike and eager to chat about their own cycling adventures across the US.

From Santa Cruz my route cut inland, through Steinbeck country - fruit fields and latino workers happy to exchange a wave as I rolled through. Occasionally passed by Sunday cyclists on club rides, I was gently scolded for not wearing a helmet - a strange contradiction in a land thought of as libertarian. Mid-afternoon, having completely misread the distance to Monterey (it's 50 miles, not 30), I was slumped at the side of a bike path, pushing calories into the system as fast as they would go, when Half Moon Bay campsite buddy Ray swung by and stopped for a chat.
My chariot
This was to be a theme for the whole trip - the ebb and flow of overlapping with other cyclists, as rest days and side trips kept us under and overtaking each other.

And, as ever, there was the warm welcome. At Seaside, just outside Monterey, I was stopped at an intersection waiting for the lights to change when a young woman on a nice carbon road bike caught my eye from the other side and rolled over for a chat. Like the couple at the bagel shop in Soquel, Rebecca was a touring cyclist and, after saying hello, promptly offered me a place to stay for the night, which I stupidly (but politely) declined. Looking back, I'm annoyed at myself for turning the offer down - my excuse is British reserve - we're just not equipped to deal with complete strangers offering free accommodation thirty seconds after meeting us.
Cool antique store
In small but significant ways, California was proving to be far more of a culture shock than I had expected - loosen up Christian!!

A real touring cyclist might have one day off a week, but heck, I'm on holiday so after just three days in the saddle, Monday in Monterey was to be a rest day. After getting a motel room, I cycled down to the famous aquarium to check on tickets for the following day and to grab directions to a local mall from a friendly young woman at the information desk. Sunday night dinner was a steak in one of the tourist bars on the waterfront with a Sacramento couple next to me at the bar, buzzing from a tandem skydive earlier that day and on their way to a great hangover.
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Stopping for a break
Stopping for a break
My chariot
My chariot
Cool antique store
Cool antique store
Santa Cruz
photo by: matthewlaraway