Day 1, Santa Cruz to Monterey, 47 miles
Ok, here we go. Pushing out into the Monterey Bay drizzle. At least it isn’t cold. Mid 50s are so much more pleasant than what’s going back home, lows in the teens overnight, lots of ice and snow. I’ll take warm drizzle over that any day.
Just a few miles in, first stop, the Ugly Mug. “It was a lot nicer last time you came through,” Steve quips as I walk in. I laugh and tell him I wished he’d been there when I rode back through with Jennifer. He reminisces about the Hawaiian shirt I gave him to wear at a friend’s honoring of life ceremony. “Another friend passed, so I got to wear it again.” Life is too short.
Steve makes me a perfect quad espresso, liquid inspiration, ready to ride? No, I linger a bit longer. Ham and cheese croissant. I know I should eat better, but hell, first day into the tour, gonna start big. At last, I’m heading out, wishing Steve good luck. I think of the mom & pops in Corvallis, sole proprietors, wonder how they’ll make it, as costs skyrocket but income doesn’t. I wonder how I’ll make it.
Onward east of Santa Cruz, miles pass easily, I’m feeling lithe and strong. Lost a lot of weight since the last tour and it shows, in my pace, speed, endurance. I’m flying over the roadway. Feeling so good, so good. Down past the Roy Rodgers intersection, onto San Andreas drive, past fallow fields, then full grown artichokes, miles of them. The Monterey Bay is known to be one of the most productive agricultural regions in the US, and it shows.
A few more miles, then I hit the midway spot, Moss Landing. I duck into the Lighthouse Cafe for a great eggs Benedict. Should have stopped here last time, enjoyed some good breakfast fare, instead of the coffee spot. I’m remembering this ride with Jennifer, our third day touring together. The excitement. The nerves. The new love. Discovery. Mystery. Sweet memories.
Twenty more miles to Monterey. I’m still flying. Riding against the wind, but I don’t notice. The drizzle has stopped, so it feels downright balmy compared to Oregon. 60 degrees on the bike computer. Marina, Seaside, and now the long bikeway through the dunes. I’m feeling positive about this tour, cycling California Route 1 in the winter.
Even after the man at the Lighthouse Cafe told me the highway is closed in Big Sur due to rock slides. Really? Ah well, I just might have to detour around the whole of it, taking 101 down to San Luis Obispo then on to Los Angeles. I’m not turning back. Never turn back.
A few more miles through the dunes and I arrive in Monterey, feeling I could ride another 40 miles with out a stitch. I’m so glad to feel my cycling strength again, to notice that it hasn’t faded at all, even after a month of very little riding.
I am physically stronger than before. And now, on this tour, becoming emotionally stronger as well. I have another phone counseling session, more insights, in the light of compassionate listening, gentle prompts. Learning to accept the parts of myself I struggle to overcome. Welcoming the shadow to come out into the light. Into the healing presence of love and understanding.
Brings to mind a favorite song by Cloud Cult. Still the most important meal of the day…