posted on Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Carmel


Left Santa Cruz at 08.30 and it turned out to be a good decision to leave quite early as my planned route was not as easy as I thought. Highway 1 cannot be cycled on this section as it turns into a 4 lanes highway until Carmel. All the alternative bike routes are in many books and maps that I thought I would not need!
The lack of a detailed map will lead me a bit astray adding an extra 50 Km to the route I had originally planned. Despite this rough start I eventually found a magnificent bike route winding its way between sandy dunes and the ocean from Marina to Monterey. I met a Mexican cyclist with whom I cycled for about 1 hour until much later than I thought at about 15.00 I finally reached Monterey. From there seeing how much more road I had covered and mostly how late it was I decided that Carmel would be my final destination for the day and so I took the very scenic 17 Mile Drive. This is a detour worth to bike along the Monterey peninsula with great views of the ocean and the green landscapes scattered with cypress trees and pines.
Getting to Carmel I knew that chances of finding an affordable accomodation were close to zero. Clint Eastwood might be a good actor but he sucks as Mayor and did not think of us campers! I loved the town though. Full of tiny shops and a great character. The famous mission I had seen in photographs many times was closed but I still managed to take a picture from the outside while sitting on the wall overlooking the garden eating my tasty dinner of cold ravioli in cream cheese. Finally as the evening approached I left Carmel and outside the town I got a tip from a park ranger that the beach would be a good place to pitch my tent provided I was doing it once it got dark to avoid being disturbed by bored policemen! I went to sleep after a magnificent sunset with the lullaby of the waves, ocean view and of course all this free of charge. Thanks Clint!