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Pacific Coast Bike Route – Day 24 : Half Moon Bay State Beach > Sunset State Beach

When I set out this morning, if you would told me at some point I would lose the rain jacket I would have said yeah maybe but I doubt it.  And if you would have told me as some point I would open my jersey and think about taking of my base layer I would have said you’re completely nuts.  Well guess what.

I woke up this morning around 5:30 and say that the rain fly was soaked.  Exactly what I was looking forward to to start a day that would have been a rest day if not for government bureaucracy.  It took about 30 minutes for me to finally get up and start moving.

After using the restroom I had no desire to be outside the tent.  It was chilly, windy, and wet out there!  I climbed back in the tent and started by eating the breakfast I had put together from the convenience store the night before.  While I was eating I put together a game plan to get everything packed up.  Everything went according to plan and I rolled out around 8:00.

Before I left I had a nice conversation with a woman from the Netherlands who was doing the same tour as I am.  She isn’t using the ACA maps, but just winging it.  I started the conversation by asking if she knew about the Big Sur closure which she did.  She was riding to a Warm Showers host today and they were avid cyclists who were going to help her navigate around.  From the sounds of it she may catch a bus to San Luis Obispo and continue riding from there.

As I was riding through the park to the main road out I came across two hikers heading out.  Had a nice chat with the two ladies.  They were also victims of the heavy snowfall this winter.  Their start date for the PCT was March and they had to leave the trail quite early due to the snow.  They were only now to a point where they felt they could return to the trail.  This is the second time I’ve heard this story.  The first time was the “Austrian Friend” up in Oregon.  I said my goodbyes and good lucks as they were headed for the local coffee house and I hit the road.

Leaving Half Moon Bay I was absolutely miserable.  My rain jacket was doing its job, but I was being pelted with super fine rain/mist and my glasses were a mess.  I could feel the rain on my legs and it looked like my shoes were going to get soaked through.  I even had to remind myself to be extra careful today because the conditions were nearly the same as that first ride day last year when I fell.  While the roads were wet I made sure to go easy on the descents and keep my brakes dry and at the ready.  Thankfully things went smoothly and before long the weather started to improve.

Just before Pigeon Point the sun started the break through the clouds.  I was shocked.  I joked with myself that I think a shitty rain day is a requirement on a tour like this and today would be as good a day as any to have one.  The sun persisted though and before long I spotted a lighthouse off in the distance to my right and I wondered if it was Pigeon Point.

I was surprised and impressed with myself that I was right that it was Pigeon Point Lighthouse as I came up to “Pigeon Point Road”.  I bit the bullet and made the quick side trip out to snap a couple pictures.  I think it was the first time I’ve ever been this close to Pigeon Point Lighthouse before.  Most times in the past I took pictures of it from along CA-1 south of the lighthouse.  I was disappointed to see the fencing surrounding the lighthouse and I don’t know if it has always been there or if it’s something new.  I did the best I could, photography wise, with what I had.

From the point on the weather only continued to improve.  Not too long after I finished a climb and came to a stop to take off the rain jacket.  I happened to stop at a hand glider launch area.  There was someone there who looked to be getting ready to take flight.  With the way the wind shaped up I bet they had a blast.

About 45 minutes later I came upon the small town of Davenport.  By this time it was 11:30 so I was on the prowl for breakfast/lunch.  I was happy to see Whale City Bakery and it looked like it would fit the bill.  I went inside and pulled up a seat at the bar.  I could have gone with lunch but opted for breakfast instead.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately, breakfast for lunch and then lunch or dinner for dinner.  I went with french toast, eggs, bacon, potatoes, and, of course, coffee.  It was great for a little hole in the wall kinda place.  You know you’re in a good joint when the waitress is busy cleaning things during her down time.

With the legs recharged and a full tank of gas I rode on towards Santa Cruz.  At some point I saw a decent sized group of cyclists going for a rip north.  I gave them a good hoot and holler and wave and received the same in return.  I’m sure they were suffering some because I would guess they were battling an 8-12 MPH headwind.  I only know because I could feel how calm and warm it felt when I was going 8-12 MPH.  Honestly though I was having a ripping good time with the help of that tail wind.  I hoped they would turn around, catch me up, and then I could have fun trying to hold a wheel.  Maybe they’d let me take a pull!  I would never know if they would catch me because 3-4 miles after they went by I was diverted off CA-1 to start making my way through Santa Cruz.

I gotta say that riding through Santa Cruz was freaking awesome.  There were so many signs for so many different bike routes through the city.  Then on top of that, all the routing kept you on quieter roads that also had marked bike lanes.  It was outstanding!  For the majority of the time I rode along the coast.  Got some great shots along the way.  But all the hustle and bustle almost got me in trouble.

As I approached the boardwalk I got distracted.  I was distracted not only by the crowd but by a serious case of nostalgia.  When I first saw the boardwalk from afar I got choked up remembering it was where Lexi and I had one of those cartoon portraits done years ago during one of our trips.  I have it hanging in the office at home.  Just super special memory of the kiddo and I got me worked up and missing the family.

Then as I got closer I still had her on my mind while negotiating foot traffic and I damn near missed another funky railroad crossing.  I was looking around and following a path and it had a weird jog to the left.  I didn’t think too much about it figuring it was avoiding some weird obstacle.  Then I saw the bright green sign and slammed on the brakes to stop.  Only then did I see the tracks and fully recognize what the sign was showing.  Can’t say for certain if it would have been as bad as last year, but I’m happy I avoided finding out.

After the beach and boardwalk I slowly started making my way out of town.  The roads got quieter and things started getting more spread out.  At this point I’m riding along farm roads and I’m just about ready to be done for the day.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything with me for dinner so I blew by the turn to the campground to go into town to get something.  I knew there was a Chevron close because I’ve been to it many times on previous trips.  I was surprised when I approached to find a brand new hotel and shopping center on the same road.  This Chevron was out in the sticks and brand new when I first came across it years ago.  Amazing to see how much has changed.

I grabbed some dinner stuff and started for camp.  It was probably the worst four miles of riding today.  I spent the entire trip to camp battling the winds.  As the saying goes, “If you live by the tail wind, you die by the head wind.”. Guess I was earning that lovely tail wind from earlier in the day.

Camp came together without a hitch.  I did let some of the tent hang out and dry on the picnic table before putting it all up.  I want it as dry as possible before I unpack the bedding.

With that the day is pretty much done.  Going to sit around camp and read my book until sunset.  I may go venture out for some old school “Sun Worship” like the kiddo and I used to do for old times sake.

73.62 new miles — From
Drizzle-Partly sunny, 54°F-64°F, Feels like 54°F-70°F, Humidity 94%-66%, Wind W 3mph-SW 5mph – by
myWindsock Report —
Weather Impact: -4.6%
Headwind: 13% @ 5.4-21.9mph
Longest Headwind: 51m 8s
Air Speed: 12.5mph
Temp: 52.3-64.1°F
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —

Total distance: 78.43 mi
Max elevation: 498 ft
Min elevation: 38 ft
Total climbing: 3932 ft
Total descent: -3810 ft
Total time: 07:38:39
Published inCycling

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