Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Monterey: Rock Salt and Broken Spokes

The ride to Monterey from Santa Cruz was described in The Book (Bicycling the Pacific Coast: A Complete Route, Canada to Mexico - our best friend when following bicyclists) as "completely lacking in scenic interest."

This wasn't completely true; we drove through fields upon fields of strawberry and lettuce farms, and drove through Castroville, CA - Artichoke Capital of the World. Although the coastline we have been traveling on has been spectacular, it was actually nice to see a different type of landscape. The three band members still bicycling (Israel, Ryan and Luke) made the relatively flat 40 mile trip in under four hours, and met up with the van traveling with them containing Kati and Ian as well as Sarah, Fen and Olaf. Amber, another touring bicyclist who we met along the way, also joined up with us again in Monterey and plans to ride along to San Diego. All eleven of us made our way over to Monterey Live, a great venue in Central California with really friendly ownership and staff. They sounded great, and the crowd was surprisingly large for a late September Monday night. Ryan's awesome cousin David shuttled us all up to his house in Salinas and generously put all eleven of us up for the night. Thanks David and Nina!

The next morning, the band returned to Monterey to get some errands taken care of before they headed off for a 30 mile ride to Big Sur. After some deliberation, Ian decided to take the train to Los Angeles and visit with his friend for the next ten days before the show at Molly Malone's on October 10. It was sad to see him go, but we really admire his drive to keep going on the tour. Ryan had a broken spoke, and was told by the bike mechanic that more looked like they were going to break soon. Wanting to push on and not wait, they decided to ride to Big Sur anyway. A half mile down the road, another spoke broke and Ryan and Israel headed back to Monterey to get the wheel fixed. Luke and Amber had already biked ahead about eight miles when we caught up with them. They were happy to be back on bicycles and decided to push ahead and camp by themselves in Big Sur. We drove back to Monterey to find Israel and Ryan looking for a place to busk. Not having a permit to play made this a bit more difficult, but on the advice of a nice volunteer police officer they headed down to Fisherman's Wharf to play (sans donation bucket as to not appear to be panhandlers). It was nice to see the two of them exploring the city and playing together - we got a glimpse of what it was like on their last bike tour. The sound was stripped down, but they got the attention of many passerbys and were not harrassed by the police.

Ryan and Israel headed off to spend the night with Amanda, a friendly local who is planning her own biking adventure for next summer, and we camped amongst many raccoons again in Veteren's Memorial Park in the center of Monterey. Ryan was able to fix his spokes this morning, have a leasurely time in Monterey and then begin a stunning ride to Big Sur, where Luke found them a show at the Big Sur Spirit Garden, which not only hosts a lovely looking garden and stage but also giant nests for them to sleep in tonight. Hold tight for pictures tomorrow...

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