Today’s ride to Carmel started pretty bad. The weather was windy, cloudy, chilly, and also windy. The views were also a bit boring : berry fields, artichoke fields, up until the horizon. With a strong headwind, it’s just as if you don’t move forward – although it’s an illusion, as I was keeping at least 18kms/12mi/h on average. But it’s also very tiring. I snapped two pictures all in all, and I thought I was in for a day of misery.
Right after Castroville, heading into Marina, it started getting a bit better : a nice bike lane, the sun was getting through the clouds somehow, and the fields were replaced by dunes. I was feeling almost warm. Still, I was full of doubts, and the road was filled with squirrels – all crossing left to right, never the other way around. I was also running into two riders from San Diego that I met twice the day before. They were much faster than me, but somehow they passed me three times during the day. Maybe they’re FBI agents checking my business ?
Then I arrived by Seaside, north of Monterrey. The views looked much more promising, with a flavor of Brittany. I had a choice to make : Joe advised to go along the coast, on the 17-mile drive, rather than cutting inland directly to Carmel, which my map was offering to do. But it was at least 10 more miles on top of 40+ I had just done to get here. I was pondering my decision when I met another group of cyclists going along the peninsula trail, and a guy named Terry also advised to take this route. As it was also avoiding a big climb on highway 1, I headed there.
And they were definitely right ! All of the peninsula is unbelievable, with lots of flowers, golf courses, luxury homes, beaches, and always the ocean crashing into the rocky cliffs. The mix of colors was just perfect. I filmed almost all of the way. It was a bit long but not too difficult, and certainly worth it. I regained hope that the trip was a good idea.
I arrived into Carmel after 4pm. The small city is reminiscent of Cannes or Grasses, nestled between mountains and the ocean, with steep streets and fancy shops and restaurants. It suits very well the expensive atmosphere of the peninsula. A place to enjoy if you have the means. Me, I immediately searched for a laundry 🙂
Next up is the Big Sur, the first big climb of the journey. Terry advised hitting it early, to avoid the traffic. So I won’t be up too late and skip the inn’s breakfast, sadly 🙂