December 25
Km’s Pedalled – 53 km’s

Destination – San Francisco

Some Notes – I got a very late start and ended up pedalling all day in the rain and into the dark.  I am camping very close to the Golden Gate Bridge on the SF side.  When I was leaving SF the other week I noticed a church with some woods behind it.  Pedalling towards the coast from the Golden Gate Bridge the church caught my eye as I passed it.  With little to no options for many many miles I u-turned and found a trail into the forest behind the church.  Thankfully by then the rain had actually stopped and I was able to get my tent set up and stay dry.  What a Christmas.

Leaving Berkeley.  Fairly common sight in the US

December 26
Km’s Pedalled – 71 km’s

Destination – 5 km’s south of San Gergorio

Some Notes – The sun came out making for a beautiful sunny day but there was a cool head breeze that was not appreciated.

California Coastline

Mentally not having a great day.  Like everything this to shall pass.

Tonight’s sunset

Thankfully it wasn’t too difficult to find a camping spot tonight.  I am camped about 20 ft from the ocean bluffs.

December 27
Km’s Pedalled – 72 km’s

Destination – Rob Roy Junction. 15 km’s south of Santa Cruz

Some Notes – This morning was so comfortable in my sleeping bag I refused to leave.  Last night was one the best camping spots ever.

A beautiful day, good temperatures, fairly flat but into a bit of a headwind.

Coastline from my campsite

I came across an area that has suffered from forest fires.  I also saw my first (single) elephant seal.  I am biking through an area the grows Brussel sprouts.  I am finding them all over the road/shoulder.

Forest fire damage

A lone elephant seal

I got into Santa Cruz just before dark which meant I biked through and exited Santa Cruz in the dark.  I actually bought a jug of water for the first time since Ontario.  It’s hard finding water sometimes.  Washrooms are closed and more and more buildings have modern faucets that require some kind of removable handle to turn outside taps on.

Santa Cruz murals

A rough night to find a camp site

December 28
Km’s Pedalled –
73 km’s

Destination – Castroville

Some Notes – A nice sunny day with some headwinds.  Leaving Watsonville you get kicked off Hwy 1 (with a bike) and I am pretty sure I am fairly lost when it comes to the way to go to Monterey.  The way certainly is not easy to figure out.  But whatever, I get lost in parking lots.

A change in scenery

I later realized trying to use the main road as to not get lost on the back roads cause me to go way out of my way in order to take back roads to get back to almost where I started this afternoon.

I probably did at least 30 km’s for nothing.  Whatever I can only assume that I must be ahead of some secret schedule.

I got lucky with a camping spot.  I thought it would be difficult and it wasn’t.  But there is generally no reason to think it will go easy either.

I continue to struggle with mental positivity.  A cold evening and cold night

December 29
Km’s Pedalled – 44 km’s

Destination – Just south of Carmel-By-The-Sea

Some Notes – The weather was really nice today.  I kind of wish I got further down the road.

This is Paul Aschenbrenner and his 1978 Volkswagen van named Kermit just outside Castorville which turns out to be the Artichoke Center of the World.

Every Tuesday from 10:30 until 2:30 for the last 8 years he waits parked on the side of the road waiting to meet and talk to cyclists that pass by and help them anyway he can.  I guess this explains all those extra kilometers yesterday for nothing.  (I would have been about 30 km’s past is parking spot on the road this morning).

Castorville – Artichoke Center of the World

But I did not get very far at all today.  And I am not entirely sure how that happened

I find the bike routes fairly hard to follow when they kick you off Hwy 1 (or Hwy 101).  Some areas are good but then others areas are the pits.

I biked through Monterey and because I couldn’t figure out how to get out of town I biked/detoured through Carmel-By-The-Sea.

I am finally back on the 1 and found a camping spot almost right away.  So I am right on the edge of town.

December 30
Km’s Pedalled – 78 km’s

Destination – Almost in Lucia

Some Notes – A cool night and cool/cold morning.  I struggled to get out of my sleeping bag.  After all this time I still have never come to appreciate cold weather.

Today I biked over the Bixby Bridge.  I also biked Big Sur.  There were some big climbs.  A beautiful sunny day.  Traffic is heavy but I feel like this is my best day since leaving Berkeley.  Partially I think that I am out of any cities for a while.  I also came across a second area of major forest fire damage

The Bixby Bridge

I had a camping spot but as I was about to duck off the road a State Park truck drove past and the guy looked at me.  I was still going to camp there but last second I chickened out and kept moving.

And then I got dark and it was impossible to find a camping site anywhere with cover.  And then I came across a young guy in a car that had set up his tent along the highway.  I told him I didn’t think he could camp there and then we got talking and then I figured I might as well start setting up my tent if we were going to keep talking.  And then 10 minutes later a cop showed up and said it was illegal to do any camping along the coast.

The cop said that he wasn’t going to give me a hard time because I was on a bike but he suggested that I be out of sight (which was impossible to do there) because a cop on the next shift might not be so nice.

So pack up I did.  This is the fourth time in the US dealing with authorities regarding camping.  I am so tempted to continue south to the Mexican border as quickly as I can.

It became practically impossible to find cover.  On one side of the highway is steep mountainside where it is so steep that you can hear the stones slide/roll down the mountainside on the road shoulder as I pedal and on the other side of the highway is steep cliffs into the ocean.

And then down the road I felt that my pedal crankset was loose again.  In San Francisco my host Jim mentioned that the crankset was loose and if I had felt it.  I said no and he retightened it.  And then 4 days ago on my way back out (south) of San Francisco I “did feel” my crank arm loose again.  This had me worried that something is stripping.  And here we are with it loose again.  This is not good.  But I am super pissed because I just spent a lot of money on fixing the bike up in SF.

This crankset is new from Vancouver.  Initially I only needed to replace my small ring.  But 3 bike shops were unable to remove the ring because it was seized from biking in the winter.

A new small ring was $35.  The last bike shop visited in Vancouver had limited stock (because of Covid).  But they had a one-piece crankset (you can’t replace the rings individually) for $65.  I figured use this one-piece crankset for the US and get a proper one before I get into Mexico.

Now I am not even sure I can get to LA.  I am so pissed and I was thinking that I was actually having a good day.

California Part 4 (Dec 20 to 25)

California Part 3 (Dec 12 to 19)

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