Making friends with Police and cycling through Big Sur

Hello everyone!

Less than two weeks to go until we arrive in San Diego! This adventure has been flying by and we can’t believe it’s reaching the end. Here’s an update from our third week left on the road. Enjoy!

Last day was in Santa Cruz with 18 to go.

DAY 58: Wednesday – August 3rd, 2016

Santa Cruz, CA

Since we were enjoying Santa Cruz so much, we decided to stay an extra day.

We spent most of the day watching the surfers at Steamers. If I wasn’t so afraid of all the hidden creatures in the ocean, I’d definitely pick up surfing. 

Before leaving, we chatted with a man hanging out in a camping chair outside his Westfalia Vanagon. Jordan and I have seen so many on our ride we stopped to chat with him. He had been living out of his van for the majority of his life and bought his van in Germany decades ago. He loved it though. After telling about our trip, he asked us to write down the name of our blog. However, he didn’t have a pen. Instead, he handed me a knife and a broken colored pencil and told me to sharpen it and then write it down. Amused at the situation, I laughed, did what he said and wrote it down for him to follow our adventure.

That evening, Jordan’s roommate David from SDSU picked us up with his girlfriend Allie and they took us to a local brewery in Santa Cruz where we met up with a few of his friends and drank 1 liter pints of beer. 

Before dropping us back off at home, David invited us over to his family home to say hello to his parents. Jordan had met them before. They even showed us a video from Jordan and David’s graduation party where they all have speeches. That brought home some heartfelt memories for Jordan and David and it was great seeing them smile and laugh looking back on all the fun they had together at State (SDSU). 

DAY 59: Thursday – August 4th, 2016

Santa Cruz, CA to Monterey/Carmel, CA – 62 miles

After packing up, we departed from our comfy “home” in Santa Cruz, and met David, Jordan’s roommate, for breakfast at Sea Harbor Cafe. David told us about the struggles of finding a job in the film industry in LA (he wants to be a director). The portions were huge so we filled up with energy and then said bye as we headed off to bike 40-50 miles. 

On the road, we had our first encounter with law enforcement: a motorcycle cop turned on his sirens and stopped us on Highway 1. Uh oh…

Luckily, he said in a humorous tone, “What are you two doing? There’s a bike lane that parallels the highway over there (*pointing 100 feet to our right). Let me escort you there!” 

We thanked him for his service and help and then took the bike path all the way to Monterey.

Our friend Colton (9mph- his blog) who we met in New York used to work for a bike shop in Monterey called Bay Bikes and recommended we stop over and say hello. We chatted with a cool dude there and even picked up cheap $5 handlebar bags.

Later in the evening, we met my Great Uncle Nick for dinner at a place called Sea Harvest. It was extremely kind of him to treat us to dinner and chat with us about our journey thus far. 

After, we headed to a place to pitch our tent. Lucky for us, we had a connection to the Carmel River Inn. We set up our tent on grade A grass and even had a hammock to lay on as well. 
DAY 60: Friday – August 5th, 2016

Monterey/Carmel, CA to Big Sur, CA – 40 miles

“Joe, I think our tent is on sprinklers. We should move it.” 

“No man, we’re fine. Let’s lay down for a little longer.”

2 minutes later. *The spraying of what felt like a fire house. 

“Joe Joe, get up!” Jordan yelled at me in a half frantic half laughing tone.

He was right. We were on sprinklers. We moved the tent to a space out of sprinkler range. I laid back down.

3 minutes later. The same fire hose hit the tent from a different side this time.

“Okay, I’ll take this as a sign to get up for the day.” I said in an annoyed tone as Jordan laughed at me knowing he was right.

We cycled through Carmel and stopped to admire the town. It was a neat little town with big, goregous homes. 

We found a cool joint called From Scratch outside Carmel. I think I had some of the most delicious biscuits and gravy yet there.

After stocking up on food for Big Sur at Safeway, we hit the road. While riding, two girls in a car from Nevada rode by shouting, cheering for us and then flashed us. We were definitely not expecting that on the trip but it did make us laugh. 

In Big Sur, we stopped to chat with a forest ranger who was perched in a camping chair informing people the state campground was closed. His name was Jordan and he graduated from San Jose State not too long ago. Similar to us, he had done a bicycle tour but started in San Diego and rode east to Florida. He gave some tips for places to stealth camp. We thanked him and headed onward. 

Soon after, we took a break on the side of the highway to eat some snacks and refuel. About 5 minutes after, Jordan’s sister and friend Miranda pulled up in Jordan’s aunt’s car. We chatted with them for a little about their time in Santa Cruz and then hugged them goodbye. 

Down the road, we stopped at the notorious Nepenthe restaurant for fries and a beautiful lookout over the ocean. While prices were a little ridiculous ($9 for a beer), we enjoyed fries in a restaurant built by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. 

We continued riding and soon after found a spot to stealth camp off the highway. It was on National Forest land. We hid our bikes in bushes then trekked up two switchbacks on a fire control type road. Near the top, we found a semi less slanted area with grass to camp on. It came with a stunning view of the coast.

DAY 61: Saturday – August 6th, 2016

Big Sur, CA to a few miles north of Cambria, CA – 40 miles

We woke up and smelled smoke from the Big Sur fire. It’s sad that one person can have such a negative experience for the rest of us but luckily, several groups of fire fighters and other community members working to contain the fire. 

Riding down the rode, we saw a semi truck with a long flat bed parked off the highway. We stopped, made breakfast on the back (peanut butter and banana sandwiches) and hung out, overlooking the ocean. It felt exactly how I pictured our trip to be- Jordan and myself eating by ourselves on the side of the highway, just enjoying the solitude and beautiful scenery. 

A young couple even stopped and offered us a free mango- score! 

While stopping to admire waterfalls off the coast, we chatted with a family from East Mesa, AZ. They were jealous of our trip and admitted they wanted to do a similar cycling tour in the future! They wished us luck and said bye as we continued riding.

At a small restaurant stop, I made small talk with a family from New York doing a 2 month summer cross country trip with their son and daughter. The man was an avid cyclist and added me on Strava (an app used to track running, swimming and cycling). 

When the 40 mile mark came around, we started looking for places to sleep. I spotted a trail on the right that lead to the coast. After scoping it out, we found a nice flat spot 40 feet from the water. We grabbed everything we needed, hid our bikes and then walked the 0.5 mile trail to set up camp. It felt like a private beach! No one was around and we had I all to ourselves. We decided to take full advantage of the privacy and bathed in the ocean. It was cool too because the small rocks and cliffs were great for bouldering so I got a kick out of that!

DAY 62: Sunday – August 7th, 2016

A few miles north of Cambria, CA to  Los Osos, CA – 44 miles

After leaving the beach, we rode a few miles in search of a spot to stop and make breakfast. We found some nice flat rocks near the coast for making sandwiches. 

We threw the frisbee around since the street was mostly deserted and enjoyed our beautiful view. 

Finally, we hit Cambria! Big Sur usually takes a few hours by car but took us two and a half days by bike so it was a small accomplishment to have completed it. This also meant we hit a town where we had cell service after three days without it. Although we enjoyed disconnecting, it was nice to communicate with our friends and family once again. 

At a small coffee joint, Jordan called a Warmshowers host in Los Osos, a town not more than 30 miles from Cambria and a couple by the name of Pat and George offered to host us and even invited us to join them for dinner. Jordan and I looked at each other with big grins on our faces- beds, showers and even dinner?! Wow, this was the best treat post-Big Sur! 

Before we got there, we stopped at the top of a hill next to a farm with a shaded area and cows feeding on hay. We made lunch and fueled up for the next 23 miles. 

We finally made it to Los Osos and knocked on our hosts’ door. Pat and George, a retired couple, greeted us with warm smiles and a cozy atmosphere. We showered, drank cold Sierra Nevadas and ate delicious meat loaf for dinner. Pat worked as a dietian during her career and George as an emergency crisis manager. Both had also spent time teaching at the collegiate level. We enjoyed their company and chatted for a while talking about national parks and life experiences.
Hope you’ve been enjoying our updates! To those who have supported us in raising money for Outdoor Outreach, thank you so much! To those who haven’t but wish to, you can still donate and help us reach $5,000 before August 20th by donating here:

Written by Joe Previte


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