Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 30, 31, 32: San Francisco, Santa Cruz & Seaside
After spending two fun-filled days in San Francisco, it was time to hit the road. We have a little under 800 miles left until we reach the border of Mexico. I’m pretty sure I saw a sign just before we rode over the Golden Gate Bridge that said Mexico is about 780 miles away. Awesome!
Leaving San Francisco wasn’t an easy task. We pushed our bikes up some serious grades just to get out of Julia’s neighborhood. A few miles later we faced with a decision. Do we jump on Route 1 or do we try to take back road that run along the route?
We end up jumping on Route 1 only to realize that this part of the 1 is a freeway. Why does this route have to be so confusing? Sometimes it’s fine to ride on and then others it turns into a freeway, which is illegal for bicycles to ride on.
There’s no turning back now!
Cars were flying past us at 65-70mph and there wasn’t much of a shoulder for us to ride in. We decided it would be best to get off this highway as fast as possible. As soon as the next exit approached we started to veer off the exit. Will was in front and I trailed behind as we took the exit. Next thing I know, a black BMW flies by me on the off ramp and cuts the wheel in front of me. I turn abruptly in reaction to him cutting me off and I hit the curb at 15 mph. I’m not sure what happened next but what I do know is that I found myself upside down on the side of the off ramp in the brush. Fortunately, I had no injuries and my bike survived the crash. I had some sore wrists from landing on them and lost the wind in my chest. No, the BMW never stopped to see if I was OK.
After collecting myself, I ran into will up ahead and we stuck to the side roads for a good part of the morning until we could legally get back on Route 1 again.
Gorilla BBQ: Best BBQ in the US?
Just before lunch, we spotted this BBQ joint that was recommended to us by a few people when we were in San Francisco. The place is called Gorilla BBQ and if you ever happen to be driving south from San Francisco and you miss this place, you will have missed out big time.
You foodies out there might remember this joint being featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Since being featured on the show, this place has blown up beyond belief. I mean, we were here on a Sunday afternoon and there was a line out the door. There’s a reason why people flock here, it’s incredible. Seriously, DO NOT MISS IT.
On the Road Again
It was time to hit the road again but try jumping back on your bike after pounding down a delicious BBQ sandwich with a side of mac n’ cheese. We felt like we had a brick in our stomachs.
We pushed on and made it to a KOA Campground in Pescadero, CA. Due to lack of planning today we were ultimately forced to stay at a KOA against our will. It’s not easy paying $29 to plop your tent down in the grass when you’re used to paying $6/pp.
Either way, we did what we had to do and called it a night in Pescadero.
Today’s Mileage: 56 mi
Pescadero to Santa Cruz
After a decent sleep in Pescadero, we awoke to rain, something we were not too used to on this tour. Fortunately, we’ve had about two rain days, one on a day off and one that we rode in. Today would end up being the wettest day of our entire trip.
We packed up camp and rode about 10 miles in the pouring rain until we reached the Whale City Bakery. We ended up spending 2 or 3 hours in this place just waiting for the rain to pass. It was a nice little morning break and we both were able to charge all of our gear as well as get some things done online while we waited for the weather to clear up.
Once the rain passed we hopped back on the bikes and headed into downtown Santa Cruz. We stopped into Sprockets, a top notch bike shop here in Santa Cruz. The spokes on my old rear wheel have been popping every week so I desperately needed to get a new wheel.
The shop manager (Taylor) was extremely knowledgeable and hooked me up with a sweet new double walled wheel and cassette. This wheel is built like a tank and should get me to Mexico with no problems at all.
Total cost: $130 installed.
With a new wheel and the bike feeling like new, we rode through Santa Cruz and down to the boardwalk.
I wish we had spent more time hanging around this area but we were eager to get to camp for the night. Tonight we camped at New Brighton State Beach in Capitola, CA.
Today’s Mileage: 27.5 mi
New Brighton State Beach to Seaside, CA
This morning we woke to the typical “June Gloom” conditions. The mornings usually start out cloudy and foggy and then the skies open up a little after noon. That’s exactly what happened this morning and most of our mornings here in California.
We packed up the bikes and hit the road. We must have rode through 10 miles of strawberry fields. It was so nice to be riding and smelling the billions of freshly grown strawberries surrounding us.
Once we got through the miles of strawberry fields we hopped a bike path that ran alongside Route 1 all the way to Seaside, CA. I must have been in another world because I ran over this snake in the middle of the path. See below.
I would have never even known that I ran it over if it wasn’t for Will yelling at me from behind. I guess just as I ran it over, it saw Will coming behind me so it lunged forward to bite him as he rode past! Will had to lift one of his legs off of his pedals and veer away to avoid getting bit by this little guy. Crazy! I took a spin back down the path to see if he was OK and he was. He was just moving a little slow at first. Sorry bud!
Warmshowers in Seaside!
Once we got to Seaside, we got in touch with “KG”, our Warmshowers host for the night. He told us to swing by after he got out of work so we burnt a little bit of time downtown before heading to his house.
When we arrived at KG’s we realized he was actually house-sitting so he didn’t actually own the house. I thought it was quite interesting as the owner of the house didn’t know he was hosting cyclists from all over the world in her home.
KG invited some friends over and we had a big BBQ. We probably laughed more tonight than any other night of the trip. Well, maybe not as much as when we road tripped out to Spokane with Captain & Clark, but just about!
Today’s Mileage: 40 mi