After changing my flat tire, we got the hell out of Monterey’s Vets Memorial Park and made our way to 17-Mile Road through Pacific Beach / Pebble Beach / Carmel. It was off of Adventure Cycling’s route, but we wanted to take the scenic route. Not only was it scenic, but we saw some of the biggest homes EVER. I wish I took pictures of these homes but we were to busy gawking. And also there wasn’t much shoulder or areas to pull off. Here’s a picture of one home right above the water, made entirely with stone so that it’s almost camouflaged from the street.
We also had some time for a round of golf at Pebble Beach (just kidding). But I did poke into the pro shop to ask for directions and felt slightly uncomfortable in my short shorts and tank top. Everyone else was in their freshly-pressed golf best.
After passing through Carmel, we approached Rt. 1, and CalTrans made sure we knew there would be a winding road ahead of us.
We had an awesome tail wind right around Point Sur. So awesome that when we stopped to put on sunscreen, I laid my helmet on the ground and it started to tumble down the road, hah! Soon after, we started a long and hot climb to Big Sur. Our timing was unfortunately in sync with the height of summer traffic and it was mentally taxing. But the scenery always makes up for any shortcomings and when we reached the top, we were 960 ft above sea level and above the clouds.
When you’re on your bike, you are more likely to see the wildlife along the road than say if you were driving. One of the more interesting things we saw along our climb were turkey vultures devouring a dead seal on the beach. Yum.
Exhausted from the climb, we still had another 20 miles to go to Limekiln Campground, three miles south of Lucia. We so ecstatic to reach camp, especially when we saw from the road that it was on a beach! We biked down a steep hill and spoke to the camp host who told us that Limekiln is actually not a California run state park and they don’t have hiker/biker sites. Bummer. We trekked another two miles to Kirk Creek, a primitive campground without running water or showers but with an awesome view of the Pacific. The hiker/biker sites here are right on the cliff and we arrived just in time to see the sunset. Ahhhhh…..
We were the only bikers in the site, but since the campground was full, the ranger let car campers stay in the hiker/biker area. We shared our site with two 17-year olds from San Diego who were driving along the CA Coast checking our colleges. I asked if they were considering any East Coast schools. They said no but asked me to describe the weather. I told them about the humidity in the summers and the snow in the winters but that it’s really nice having four actual seasons. I think I lost them at “humidity” haha. They’re staying in CA.
Total Miles: 75 miles (click here for map details)
Weather: 60s, fog in morning but burned off by 2pm. Hot (80s) on ride up to Big Sur mostly due to lack of shade and pavement heat.
Riding conditions: Crazy amounts of Rt. 1 traffic with minimal shoulders. Traffic doesn’t really start till noon (lazy people!) so definitely need to take advantage of morning hours.
Campground: Amazing view and can’t beat falling asleep to crashing waves. Too bad Kirk Creek didn’t have water or showers. Grade: B+