Day 22, Half Moon Bay to New Brighton State Beach, 57 miles
I wake from a peaceful sleep, hearing the other cyclists rising, talking, heading out. I roll over, rest some more, listen to the waves just past the dunes. Alright, time to get going. I pack my things, bid safe travels to the two remaining cyclists, then head over to the Cafe Society on Main Street. Nostalgic memories of traveling with Jennifer two years ago, how we got rained out our first day on the road. We sat for hours in this shop, so lost in our love. I catch up on my accounting and blog, then head out.
It’s nearly noon. This road is so familiar now, I’m recognizing the terrain, the hills, straightaways, descents, bridges, and the ever present ocean views. The morning is cool, sun breaking over me as I ride. I’m making good time, winds from the west-northwest. This makes for a tailwind, as the coastline tips eastward on the approach to Santa Cruz. My legs feel stronger today, again grateful for the days of rest in Oakland. I’m enjoying this sunny ride along the Cabrillo Highway. Landmarks approach and fly by. Gregorio, Pescadero, Pidgeon Point Lighthouse.
Just past the lighthouse the fog comes in. Temperatures drop, and I’m feeling the cold. Not wanting to stop and put on my warmer clothes, I ride on. Maybe the fog will leave. It’s only a few more miles anyway. Actually 25 more. I’m counting now. Mileposts tick off fractions of miles. I’m doing the math to Davenport and the Whale City Bakery. Chilly, I feel it in my toes, my fingers. Not stopping to put on the gloves and wool socks. Maybe if I just keep riding, the fog will lift. Magical thinking indeed.
I stop at Whale City, just coffee and a pastry. My sweaty clothes are now chilling me worse. Ok, I’ll put on my jacket, ride the short miles now to Santa Cruz. A few rolling hills, then the city limits, Wilder Ranch. On to Mission Street, I blast on in with the rush hour traffic at my heels. I’m riding straight to the Kiva Retreat, looking forward to a soak and sauna to throw off this chill. I arrive and Kiva, walk in. Shocked when they tell me it will be $50 plus $25 membership. What, three times the price of the last time I was here? This place as been here since I first visited in the 90s. Old Santa Cruz is now catering to the elite.
Disappointed but undaunted, I ride over to the Staff of Life, enjoy dinner under the heat lamps in their outdoor seating area. I buy supplies, then ride the last few miles to New Brighton Beach, headlamp and red flashers blazing. I set up my tent in the bicycle camp, grab a shower, settle into my warm sleeping bag. I hear the gentle surf on the beach below the bluff. I recall the many times I’ve camped here, listened to the waves, dreaming under foggy skies.