Strokin’ The Now!

What time is it? Now!   Where are you? Here!  What do you want to do? This!

That’s strokin’ the now, and a bunch of us just spent 4 days doing it.

Spring break began a couple of months ago when Liz and I decided to do a spring break bike ride down Highway 1, the Big Sur, from Monterey to San Luis Obispo. We love bicycle touring and wanted to add more people to the trip. An invite was sent out and before long we had a mini parade committed to some two wheeled fun. The planning was done through the interwebs and finalized with a potluck dinner, after which we had a plan. Rent a U-Haul truck to hold all our bikes and gear, and two rental cars to carry the bodies. We lost 4 people the last few days to work and family responsibilities, but we were still 8 strong!

Day One- Shuttle to Monterey in Autos, Cycle to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

UhaulSaturday morning early the U-Haul truck was loaded, and we headed up the 101 to Monterey. The last thing before pedaling away, was the logistics of returning the truck and turning in the keys to the rental agency. A quick shuttle and 15 minutes later we were pedaling toward Carmel and Highway 1.

Riding through Monterey should be easy right? Mostly yes, but we got an early taste of the mountains to come as we crossed the ridge toward Carmel. Looking at the route map we knew there was a sharp spike in elevation. It was STEEP, but fortunately we also got the killer downhiday one routell on the far side rolling to the coast.

traffic

George finding the sweet spot between road and fender.

So this was Spring Break, and a weekend, and sunny, and in tourist mecca Carmel/Big Sur.  We thought that there probably was going to be traffic, and there was. It wasn’t quite bumper to bumper, but it was heavy.

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Daniel strokin’ the now in those big gears.

And the wind! Damn, the wind was incredible. It was mostly blowing our direction.  At times it literally pushed us up the hills, but sometimes blew in from the side.

In some places there was a convergence of heavy traffic, narrow shoulder and buffeting wind. At those moments it was white knuckle riding, holding your line against the wind and giving as much space to the traffic as possible. The farther south we pedaled, the fewer day tripping cars there were, and, for just about every single mile, there was the beautiful Pacific next to us. The remainder of the day’s ride was drop dead gorgeous. The vistas were spectacular and the riding wonderful. The weather was near perfect- sunny, cool and there was that tailwind. This being the first day everyone was stopping and enjoying the views, adjusting gear, taking photos, and of course, smiling big- Strokin’ The Now!

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Ron and Susan enjoying the here and now.

For the first day we planned a soft landing in Big Sur. No cooking in camp, but rather a night out at Fernwood. We set up camp in the Hiker/Biker sites, met some of the other people that were cycling the coast and then headed out for some food. The restaurant was cozy and warm and had endless choices on the menu, which made for a contented group.

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The center of camp is the table, this one in the redwoods.

The Hiker Biker sites in CA State Parks are wonderful. They designate space for people who are under their own power, so the scene there can be pretty cool. There was a Scottish guy who was riding from Washington, a couple from SLO heading north, a Swiss woman heading to SF, and a young woman just finishing up a cross country ride. Our table was full of celebratory beverages that night and breakfast food in the morning, and all around it were conversations.

The start of the ride was super. The energy was electric, the people positive and the weather was cooperating- everything I was hoping for.

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