posted on Thursday, April 08, 2004

San Simeon

A day that I will always remember. I spent it cycling along some of the most fascinating and wild landscapes on earth. The Big Sur coast exceeded my greatest expectations leaving me more often than not in awe and wonder, stunned by the beauty unfolding all around me. The writer Robert Louis Stevenson once said "this is the greatest meeting of land and water on earth" and for 8 hours at 18 km an hour I could see what he meant.
To witness the power of the ocean in its wildest form of giant waves constantly crashing on the high ragged rocky shores was a fantastic experience. Cycling it at the slow pace dictated by touring with a loaded bike made it even more so. I could merge with that unspoilt lansdcape and be part of its wonder from the heights of Hwy 1 which luckily I guess, was not busy with traffic at all.
At Molera and Pfeiffer Big Sur State parks the road turned briefly inland and the scene suddenly changed into forests of redwoods with mountains rising steeply both sides. With the excuse of having to charge my camera battery I had another huge american breakfast at the Lodge that with biscuits and 'Powerbars' of all flavours will keep me going for most of the day.
There are no words to describe the beauty of this part of the world. I cycled alone all day but often stopped to chat here and there with tourists stopping at vista points along the road. I briefly stopped at Saint Lucia, population 3 according to a guide I had read and one of the two 'towns' along this unspoilt land. I had a chat with an american cyclist with a trailer. As he was stopping at the next campsite he left before me. I refilled my water supplies for the final long stretch ahead where for the remaining 45 km the only human presence was that of two camping sites. Passing by the first one I recognised the guy met previously as he was waving at me in the process of pitching his tent for the night.
Near San Simeon I stopped by a tiny beach where hundreds of elephant seals were lying on the beach so close that I could almost touch them! I thought they looked particularly relaxed after a day spent trying to avoid being chewed by sharks! Something to learn. While cycling from the heights of the road I also saw the sprays and tales of a couple of whales migrating north.
To end this wonderful day I met two girls at the campsite who were cycling in the opposite direction from San Diego to Vancouver for over 2 months, Sara and... Sara! We exchanged information on the roads we would ride on the next day and talked until we had no more logs to keep the fire going. I went to bed for my second night with a wishful thought that I would sleep a bit better than the night before, finally getting used to my cosy tent!