Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Half Moon Bay to Watsonville, California November 15-16

69.5 miles in 6:35. Nov. 15.....I slept well and was up before 8:00AM. I was concerned about forecasts of cold weather, but the sun was shining (which is always a good thing with all the fog around here, yesterday for example), and it was already in the fifties. I had a 'complimentary' breakfast, and was on my way by 9:00. There was a cool headwind, but it turned to a pretty significant tailwind by mid morning. Rt. 1 was pretty nice, with wide shoulders, for the entire trip. As I approached Santa Cruz, it became four lane, and the ACA map got me onto some other roads. The only problem with Rt. 1 today, was the broken glass. I can't believe I got through the day without a flat, and I know I spent too much time looking for glass, because the ride was just beautiful. There was farm country as I left Half Moon Bay, as the fields stretched right up to the cliffs of the coast. I had only one significant climb all day, a 500 ft rise, but I was surprised to see I had ascended about 3200 feet by the end of the day. Everything was pretty gradual, and there were no coves or hollows that had the steepest descent and ascent, like when I was further north. The coastline was just great, with rocks in the water and cliffs abounding. I also got to watch thousands of pelicans flying south for the winter. They were headed the same way I was all day long. I never saw them diving for food, and only saw one resting place, where it seemed like they all took a break. They were definitely on a mission. I saw two lighthouses, including the one at Pigeon Point that had a hostel on the property. For $27 you could get a bunk at one of the most beautiful settings on the coast. On the property also was a farm, where they were growing onions, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes for as far as the eye could see. I've never seen a farm with a lighthouse on it, or was it a lighthouse with a farm on the property? Either way, I've never seen that combination. As I got closer to Santa Cruz, there were numerous beaches, and lots of surfers, especially since it was Friday afternoon I think. I rode with a younger guy from Allentown, Pa., for a while. He was just starting, after flying into San Fransisco, and was headed to Santa Barbara. I had to work harder than I had been working to keep up with him, but I felt good doing it. I think I go slower when I'm by myself, but I can go when I want to. It seems it takes another biker to make me pick up the pace, though. He dropped off in a little town of Davenport to eat, and I never saw him again.
As soon as I got into Santa Cruz, the map put me on some back street and local business roads, but they were all nicely marked with bicycle lanes. As Friday afternoon traffic picked up, it wasn't terrible because of the bike lanes. Every once in a while I caught a glimpse of Rt. 1, and it was now a divided highway, with tons of screaming traffic. The ACA maps were definitely a good investment, as I enjoyed riding through Santa Cruz and its suburbs of Soquel and Aptos, even though the beauty of the shoreline disappeared for a while. When I got south of town, the agriculture became an awesome sight in itself. The fields went over rather rolling hills and valleys for as far as the eye could see. I saw fields of onions, strawberries, artichokes, celery, parsley, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, persimmons, and other things that I couldn't identify. It is so dry around here, but the fields get their irrigation, and that was cool to see also. The sprayers irrigating a square mile of land is an amazing sight. Pam picked me up in Watsonville, right where I would have gotten back on Rt 1, and we went inland, back to Rt. 101, where Pam is traveling, to Gilroy, which bills itself as the Garlic Capital of the World. There doesn't seem to be any garlic growing this time of year, but the agriculture industry is rocking every where you look around here.

Time to leave the California Delta!  We had a nice stay at the Delta Shores RV Resort, and met some very nice people (like Shelia Tequila!) but it's time to move on south towards the warmth. What a fun trip down to Gilroy - tongue in cheek!  After pulling out from the campground, I got to drive the motor home on the VERY narrow levee back to Hwy 12, which is a very rough road.  Once I got onto I-5, the fun began with construction, narrow lanes, Jersey barriers and changing lanes.  After the construction, I hit the road surface from hell, with its washboard, potholed surface that I thought would shake the coach to pieces!  It was no surprise since I had read about it in RV blogs!  To get from I-5 to 101, I had to travel on Rt 152 which was a nice road, but boy did I climb up the mountain, then I had to come back down into the valley with miles and miles of fields growing every kind of crop.  Still not sure if I saw garlic growing, but what the heck!

Cliffs and ground cover blooming south of Half Moon Bay

Rocks in surf, not sea stacks like before in northern California

The waves come in and just explode

Ground cover blooming yellow

Fields are all the way up to the cliffs edge

Ever see a farm with a lighthouse?  Crop in the field is onions

Onion crop

Pigeon Pt Lighthouse with the California flag

Pigeon Pt Lighthouse and hostel with $27 bunks!

Sea weed growing on the rocks

More waves and rocks

Coastline north of Santa Cruz

Pelicans heading south - no eating, just flying


Sandstone cliffs

Pelican resting area

Brussels sprouts

Mystery crop - anyone have any ideas?

Strawberries as far as you could see

Saturday, Nov. day in the garlic capital of the world. We went out and bought lots of fresh fruit and vegetables......and some ice cream!

Buying Brussels sprouts by the stalk!  Can't get much fresher than this!

Fresh, sweet California strawberries, picked locally.  Yum!

Our campground

No cruising in Gilroy, California!

Mural in Gilroy.  Gilroy is called the garlic capital of the world!  Anything you can name, they have it in garlic!  Including garlic wine and garlic ice cream!!  NO LIE!

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