Posted by: robinson2000 | September 15, 2010

76 Miles, Santa Cruz, & a new wheel

14th September

With a 17 mile ride ahead of us until breakfast we decided to get up early and get it out the way before our stomach digested themselves. We crept out of the sleeping dorm at 7am and were rolling over hills by 8am. Conditions were pretty good but without any food in our stomachs, our mood was less than chirpy. Finally after an hour and a bit we found an excellent joint run by a family of Mexicans for the usual helping of pancakes and coffee to brighten up our moods.

After breakfast it was only a short 10 mile ride in Santa Cruz which prides itself for being the most popular town in California for people to visit. Our first impression of the city was good with nice wide roads and friendly looking shops and cafe’s. I found a bike shop on the main stretch and bought a replacement for my knackered rear wheel for $150. The people in the shop were really friendly but warned us not to leave our bikes anywhere unattended because “people like messing with other people’s stuff”. We bid our farewells and pedaled on further up the road to a grocery store. As we were chomping through our sandwiches and chocolate bars an older guy who took a particular interest in the weather, told us that there was a band of rain heading our way from the north but you should be able to escape it unless someone kidnaps you and keeps you hostage for a couple of days! We bid him a swift farewell once he’d finished his ramblings and decided to get past Santa Cruz before anything bad happened.

After leaving Santa Cruz we entered a huge farming area and for the next couple of hours all we saw were lots of fields and lots of Mexican people working the fields doing backbreaking labour for probably not even minimum wage. We arrived pretty exhausted at our destination for the evening in Monterey and wasted a lot of time trying to find a place to camp for the night. We ended up having to climb another monstrous hill to camp up in Vets Memorial Park which overlooked the city. Unfortunately this meant that we had to cycle back into town for a meal and then once again back up the hill to our tent for bed. We crashed for sleep about 10pm absolutely exhausted from the 76 miles. Tomorrow brings possibly the best part of the trip, the Big Sur.

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