After 3 days of rest, relaxation, and Christmas gluttony after having ridden north on the PCH, we were ready to hit the road again for our ride back to LA. We began in Napa Valley (after we had a chance to do some tastings) and were headed back to Monterrey. We had 3 days and 200 miles, so we really took our time and enjoyed the scenery.
The first night, we ended in San Francisco. Here’s me on the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge was fairly crowded, and I believe there is a curfew for when people are allowed to cross the bridge by foot. The view of the city is unbelievable from the bridge at night. We had decided to stay the night in a hotel in San Francisco to prevent thievery. We did not take bike locks; and in a big city, I would not necessarily feel safe if it was locked.
On day 2 we had a chance to sight-see all around the Marina and surrounding areas. SF is a great town to see by bicycle. It’s hilly, but the level of detail you get to see, and not having to worry about finding a parking space is very worth it. The Adventure Cycling Association has great maps, and it was easy to find and navigate around the city on bike-friendly roads. Here is the typical San Fran scenery, with me pulling the Burley Nomad up a steep hill.
Heading back towards Route 1, we got to bike through Golden Gate Park. I would highly recommend visiting here. No cars are allowed once you enter the park, and many people are biking, running, skateboarding, rollerblading and the like. The park is beautiful and green and there is a museum, street shows, a Japanese tea garden, and plenty more to see.
There is a dangerous road leaving San Fran called Devil’s curve. It’s 3 miles of death-defying curves with no shoulder. A fellow bicyclist in a small Toyota pick saw our disconcerted looks as we were resting before taking on the endeavor; he offered to drive us 3 miles over the hill, so we took it. We ended up biking late into the night, about 30 miles past Half Moon Bay. There are not many options around this area. We passed some towns which had a population of 300, and the first lighthouse hostile we saw was filled. We biked until 11p.m. hoping to make it to Henry Cowell State Park but settled for a KOA instead.
On day 3, we quickly came upon Santa Cruz and got to ride long stretches of highway next to bright blue ocean views. We passed by many fishing ports, which offered delicious sea food (and deep fried artichoke hearts apparently).
Once we reached Monterrey, we went around the pier and tasted many different clam chowders. Even just entering from the outskirts of Monterrey, there were many great bike routes off the highway, and which branched in many directions. Once you entered the city, the amount of bike routes were unbelievable and snaked on for miles. It was very easy to get around. There were even Surrey bike rentals for which groups of 4 could ride around the bay together. We ended our sight seeing at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. Awesome creatures to look at, just remember not to flash the octopus.
Here’s where we ended our tour by renting a car and driving to the Malibu RV campsite. We drove through horrendous New Year’s Eve Los Angeles traffic the next morning, but eventually made it to the train station, and back to Flagstaff. We left California’s t-shirt weather, and walked off the train New Years Day to tons of snow. Back to studded tires, fenders with flaps and shipping out bike trailers and bike panniers.