Monday, March 21, 2005

Day 2: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

I set my alarm for 5 am this morning. I woke up at 6:15. I hadn't packed. I crammed all my stuff into my stuff pack, mounted stuff on bike, and realized I was missing my shades. After scratching my head for a minute, I remembered riding yesterday and hearing something fall. That hadn't been a big pine cone I'd seen behind me - those were my Oakleys. This meant that my eyeballs would dry and shrivel like raisins in the wind. I pictured myself riding around like a ghoul with two raisins in my eye sockets. Ouch.

Around 6:45, I was ready to go. As I headed down Ocean St away from the hotel, I realized that my bike computer was not picking up time, speed, or mileage. I tapped the sensor near the wheel a few times, figuring it was maladjusted. As I began riding again, the sensor flew off with impressive speed and hit the pavement. Now I was out a sensor and sunglasses. My mood soured. For the next few miles, I went into Forced Optimism Mode and convinced myself that these things were minor. That headwind that wouldn't go away was minor too. So was the bug that just flew into my eye. So was that patch of gravel I almost skidded out on.

It took 16 miles of riding into the wind and 3 artichoke fields to put me into Real Optimism Mode. Artichoke fields were kind of pretty, I decided. So were sand dunes. So was the ocean that began to appear on my right. I fought the wind past whistling migrant workers, fruit stands, field upon field of artichokes, railroad tracks, and the Del Monte Fruit and Vegetable Plant (visitors enter in rear). I eventually connected up with a marvelous little bike path into Monterey. I rode through to Carmel, stopped for lunch, and started the Big Sur leg of the trip.

I should mention that somewhere in between losing my bike computer sensor and the Monterey Aquarium I discovered Gu. Gu is the thick, chalky mud that comes in little squirt packs. You ooze it into your mouth and it gives you enough calories to last 75 minutes or so. The stuff works like magic. When you're on a long bike trip and breathing hard, the last thing you want to do is stick a ball of Powerbar into your mouth and try to unglue your teeth while getting enough oxygen to power your legs. Gu, on the other hand, goes down like a charm. It also doesn't taste bad. It's like coating your mouth with starchy chocolate mousse. You chase the gu with a shot of water. 5 minutes later, the kola nut, caffeine, and carbs kick in, and you're in hypermode for over an hour. I think I've found my panacea.

Digression aside, I began the Big Sur part of my journey battling the same headwind that had been burning my eyes for the past 5 hours. By this time, however, I was rather getting used to it. Big Sur was splendid: turquoise waves spraying jagged boulders, bright orange flowers framed against white sky, rivers snaking into sea caves a hundred feet below, and road, endless winding road. There's a sense of calm elation the place gives you that I've never experienced anywhere else. I was so taken by the scenery that I barely felt most of the mileage to my hotel.

I stayed at the Ventana Inn, a high-end place that, upon closer inspection, seems geared to those with an affinity for a more, well, open lifestyle. My evidence? A clothing-optional pool and spa, multiple paths leading nowhere, and inviting glances from couples. Nonetheless, the Inn is stunning, with slate showers, hammocks, in-room fireplaces, the works. Perfect, especially for the swinging honeymooner.


Blogger Robina said...

You are crazy, but totally awesome.

You go girl!

-Robin :)

5:04 PM  
Blogger Jason Goldman said...

You stop at the swinger motel and don't post any pictures!

Be our eyes.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Clickbank Mall said...

Come Visit Santa at his blog and tell him what you want for Christmas,

2:12 PM  
Blogger Girly Girl said...

If you want over 18 adults only dating then Swinger Dating is the site for you. Totally free too :)

2:34 PM  

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