9/15/18 – Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz

58.4 Miles

2533 ft of Climbing

Didn’t get the best sleep, last night. The park ranger, where I stayed, warned of a raccoon’s nest in the huge tree next to where I set up my tent, and told us to lock everything up. As soon as all eight of us in the biker/hiker campsite turned the lights out, those raccoons were up and at it. They sounded like gremlins, making funny little alien critter sounds. I was concerned that they would try to chew their way into my tent, because there are cookie crumbs and trail mix morsels scattered throughout my gear, but they miraculously passed my by. This morning, I overheard one of the guys in the next campsite talking about how the raccoons chewed on his tent. Guess I’ve been living right.

  • I got off to an early start, today, and the route initially was very lightly graded, both up and downhill, but that changed as the day progressed. California seems to have more of a cycling culture than any of the other states I’ve been in. Being Saturday, there were a lot of serious cyclists on the road eating up the hills. Occasionally, I had someone to ride with and talk to, for a few minutes, which took my mind off of the hill climbing.
  • Below, can you see the ocean in the background, where the farmland ends? It amazed me that so much of the land I passed today is fertile farmland, right next to the ocean. During the morning, in the area I was riding, the ocean water was green. I thought about calling Karen Gray, my new marine biologist friend, to find out what causes this, but there was no phone service for almost the entire day.
  • My first stop for the day was Bean Hollow State Beach. I loved all the rock formations and tide pools surrounding this little peninsula. For the first time, I was seeing limestone in the cliffs and volcanic rock on the shoreline.Stopping at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, this sign informed me that I could have stayed in one of the old Coast Guard buildings, the previous night, as they are now a hostel. Wish I had known that. The lighthouse and a couple of the adjacent buildings are now a State Historic Park. What fascinated me most, about the lighthouse is that it was first lit in 1872, and it is still in operation today. And also, it has survived all the earthquakes in the area, which is amazing.These are some of the rocks, just in front of the lighthouse, that used to wreak havoc on boats at night.As I approached Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the kite surfers, on the beach side of the road, were putting on a show, reminding me of the kite surfers in training I watched in Bon Aire. Do you think I could learn to kite surf? Or is it too dangerous? Once again, I am thinking of going somewhere to take lessons.
  • Then just a little further down the road, I arrived in Santa Cruz, which is on the north end of Monterey Bay.This mural welcomed me to town, and within seconds, I was inside ordering a piece of super delicious pizza.My camping spot for the night was actually in a little town named Capitol–on Monterey Bay, a little south of Santa Cruz.Here’s my tent. You can’t see it, very well, but that is Monterey Bay behind the trees in the background.And this is my tent, in the bigger scheme of things, among the 12 cyclist tents in the campsite, last night. And there was no snoring problem. Just wanted to throw up a couple of other photos. I have passed several of these signs that display your speed below the speed limit. Usually, they are somewhere on a hill, where I am struggling to keep my bike upright, going 4.6 MPH, with the speed limit above the sign saying 40 MPH. This is the first time I have been able to take a hand off the handlebar to take a photo of my speed. And isn’t it impressive? There was a tailwind.And how about this for my next personalized license plate? What do you think?

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