PCH Tour: Jeepers Creepers – Veterans Memorial Park

Cement Shipwreck

Day 48 – It was cloudy when I woke up in New Brighton. But the tent was relatively dry. Michael and I packed up and headed off to find a cafe. About 3 miles south we found a little Mexican breakfast spot. I ordered a waffle, scrambled eggs and sausage. The sausage links were homemade and thick. It was a tasty meal and the coffee was pretty good. We ate and charged our gear. An early morning drinker named, Fritz, gave us directions to the coast and mentioned a concrete ship that was a must see. His advice came through and we got some interesting photos of the sunken ship.

There were a series of small climbs on our way south. We stayed inland and then came down a big hill and back to the coast. at the bottom we made a hard left into some wealthy looking plantations. There were big homes on the hills and acres of farmland that stretched to the ocean. It was quite scenic for the next 10 miles. We needed some snacks so we turned east toward Watsonville. We found a gas station and loaded up on goodies. I ate an ice-cream sandwich in the parking lot.

Out of town there were more fields before we came to a mountain road that wound left and right. It was flanked by exotic looking trees, which shaded us from the bright noon sun. We ran into a French man that was touring as well. He spoke little English and was having a tough time finding the route. I gave him some advice, based on my Google maps, and helped him out a bit. He was light and fast, and he sped off ahead of us.

We circled around a swampy estuary and through some more hilly roads. The scenery was great. Then it turned back to fields. It was getting gray again, and a strong headwind began to pummel us. We were outside of Castroville, when I spotted a taco truck. I was getting hungry and the weather was bringing me down. We both decided to stop and try the food. We ordered carne asada burritos and devoured them. They were delicious and the break was welcome. We chatted a bit with another cyclist that was riding 150 miles to Big Sur where his wife was waiting for him at their second home. It sounded nice.

Back on the road, the sky was darker and the wind blew harder. I was cold, and tired and the landscape was all ugly industrial farmland. I felt down, and hoped we could get through that mess quickly. It was a good 5 miles before we came to a nice bike path. The scenery got more interesting and the sun kept poking through the clouds. Eventually we weaved our way to the coast where we could see a bunch of paragliders hovering above the surf. We found a great vista point and took photos of the paragliders and the coastline.

Paragliders Pacific Coast

To our south was Monterey and Big Sur in the far distance. The ocean views compensated for the desolate farmland we suffered through. In Sand City we stopped at a McDonalds to get some coffee and warm up a bit. We weren’t far from camp at that point. We jumped onto another bike path that took us right into the fisherman’s wharf in Monterey. It was a very pretty tourist area, full of nice shops and restaurants. We took some more photos along the beach and the wharf before winding our way toward camp.

There was a steep and long hill that lead way up into Veterans Memorial Park. By the top, we were exhausted. We got to the hiker biker area and there were several tents already set up. Instantly, I could tell that they were all drunks or druggies. Michael and I decided to take turns using the restroom, so one of us could stay with the gear. One guy kept talking to himself, and it seemed like he was having war flashbacks. Another guy was drunk and trying to give us advice. There was a man with his dog sleeping out in the open. I could see cases of beer poking out from the rainfly of another tent. No other bike tourists were in site. We stuck together and ate our dinners. We took turns showering and then turned in for the night. At 10pm the campgrounds played the fallen soldier horn tune. No one bothered us that night, but I was glad that I wasn’t there alone.

Then I woke up at 1am. I wasn’t able to sleep and I took some Advil for my back, which was bothering me. When I grabbed the bottle of pills I heard a voice in the tent next to me say, “drugs.” That was strange… I read some things on my phone for an hour to burn off some energy. I think I drank too much coffee late in the day. Finally around 3am I rested my head back for some sleep. That’s when another drunk guy started em-effing no one in particular. I think some raccoons got his food and he was angry. He started making remarks about how disgusting another guy in the campground was for sleeping with his dog. He went on cursing and spitting for a half hour. Finally, the zombies quieted long enough to get some sleep. What a night!

(Repost of my 2014 Pacific Coast Tour Instagrams)

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