Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Watsonville to Monterey, California November 17

41.5 miles in 3:43.....November 17....Pam delivered me from Gilroy (the garlic Capital of the world), to Watsonville, where I left off the other day (in the heart of the 'salad bowl of the world'), so I could ride to Monterey (formerly the sardine capital of the world, now known for many other things). When I was looking for an RV park in Monterey, I found out that it is not 'a camping type of place.' Even though they seem to exclude the camper from there high end peninsula, I did find the Monterey County Fairgrounds, which has camp sites for hundreds of dollars less a night than the other lodging accommodations. The fairgrounds is home to the world famous Monterey Jazz Festival, and is over two hundred acres in size. We will make the fairgrounds our home site for a while, because my next destination, Big Sur, the lodging, if you can get it is $200-700 a night. We won't be doing that!

I got underway from Watsonville, and the ACA map once again kept me off of Rt. 1. It is a four lane highway through this area, and is much more sterile of scenery than the path I took. I rode through ten miles of the 'salad bowl', and passed endless fields of artichokes, strawberries, spinach, leaf lettuce, Brussels sprouts, irrigation, migrant workers, and farm equipment. It was beautiful in its own way, but when I climbed a little hill and popped out with the Pacific in full view, the beauty of the area exploded. Moss  Landing was a huge marina with yachts, pelicans, kayakers, and bikers out everywhere for there Sunday morning ride. I mean serious bikers. Some of the groups of three or four that passed me had to be going 25-30 mph. I was going 12-15, and just got smoked. Some side roads took me to a bike path, which took me the final 15 miles, into Monterey. Some times the path was right on the Monterey Bay, which was great, but sometimes it disappeared between Rt. 1 and sand dunes, and I couldn't see a thing. I still contend that I would rather ride roads, where I can see things, because the bike paths often disappear into very nondescript areas. 
Once I got to Monterey, I pretty much ignored my map, and ignored the way to go to the fairgrounds, where Pam had arrived by a different route, and went exploring. I went past a beautiful Fishermans wharf, Cannery Row, where the sardine industry was King, until they over fished them in the 1950!s, and along Ocean View Drive , which is some of the most famous and beautiful coastline in the country. I found out later that you can take a bus tour and they point out all the places where movies were made, and they play famous scenes on the video screen, and you can look out the window and see the exact spot of the scene. The bike path that I was on was crowded with tourists on a Sunday afternoon, so it was a slow go. Earlier in the day, the Big Sur Half Marathon had been run on the trail, so fit people abounded. As I got to the town of Pacific Grove, I decided to end my exploration and head back to find the campground. I headed up a hill on Rt. 68, which I recognized as being near the fairgrounds and I gave myself a 700 ft climb, up over Monterey's Skyline Deprive, which I really didn't need. It wasn't terrible, but I have many major climbs in BigSur tomorrow, so I could have saved my legs. Instead of taking the bike route that was marked, I then jumped on Rt. 1, and descended quickly back into town, even though there were  No Bike  signs. Oh well, catch me if you can! I guessed and got off the right exit, and was soon home.
Pam and I burned the last hour or two of daylight by Jeeping  to Fishermans Wharf, walking for a while on the shoreline and watching the sea otters, then ate at a restaurant on the Wharf.

Strawberry fields everywhere!  Fields are in various phases of the year round crop rotation.  These plants are still under plastic covers and are just babies! 

Getting ready for harvesting

Ready for harvesting

Mushroom barns

Brussels sprouts as far as you can see!

Big motorcycles just south of Watsonville - tires are big tractor tires, car engine and lots of license plates!

Kayakers checking out the sea lions in Moss Harbor

Local pelican and cormorants

Artichokes - this was the "mystery plant"

Artichokes as far as you can see

Spinach rows

Spinach growing thick

Flowers on November 17!  Sweet!

Have no idea what these flowers are, but they are all over the sandy area
Dole factory

Monterey Bay

Navy Postgraduate School is located in Monterey 

Southern sea otter

Monterey Marina

Mike rode in after the half marathon race

Monterey Peninsula coastline

Monterey Peninsula coastline

There are scuba divers everywhere!

Different shrubs than we've seen up north

Sea otter looks as comfortable as you can get on a jagged rock!!!

Harbor seals hanging out with the otters

Fisherman monument on the Old Fisherman's Wharf

Looking down from the wharf, we saw 12 raccoons  munching on something!!!

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