34.6 mi / 10.6 mph / 1437 ft. climbing
Home: National 9 motel
Walking the bikes back down the steep, rough track in the morning was certainly easier than the way up, but I still had to keep my wits about me to prevent my ~100 lb. vehicle from sliding out sideways on curvy ruts.
We had nine more miles of empty, no-centerline, smooth-surface backroad riding to enjoy before returning to Highway 1. For nearly all of our coast riding up until now, the water has been filled with dramatic rock formations, far more constantly than I had expected. Finally in this section of coast the water returned to “normal” ocean.
Which meant that the formations in the water were instead human surfers. Watching a pod of them, and seeing how rarely one was able to get on his board and surf for a bit, versus endlessly paddling against the current and getting bashed over by cold waves, it made me think that those brief moments of “surfing” must feel incredibly awesome, to order make the 95% of no-surfing beat-downs feel “worth it”.
We stopped in tiny Davenport to grab some snacks and water to have with lunch, but then had a surprisingly hard time finding a spot to sit and eat. Though filled with endless public beaches, a set of railroad tracks (along with a dune wall) divides the road from the beach, so the beach parking areas were nothing more than ugly parking lots, with trails over the dunes that we didn’t want to make the effort to scale (and leave the bikes unattended). Eventually we just settled for a random spot on the roadside; I guess we’ve had enough world-class lunch spots that we can take a boring one every once in a while.
Outside of Santa Cruz we hit a regional bike trail, and just before it turned into city streets, stopped to give Rett a roadside hair trim. This is the life we now lead, where doing it in the motel would be more awkward and messy, whereas on the edge of the farmer’s field we have great lighting from the sunny day, and the wind can blow all the hair away.
The nice rail-trail continued through most of the town, and then bike lanes took us the rest of the way, past an enormous homeless encampment along the river (with its lines of tents, and porta-potties, it looked more like a farmer’s market), and to our cheap-but-nice motel. I ran back out to get groceries and wine from the Trader Joe’s, so that Rett could enjoy her Friday night happy hour video call with her friends.