Samstag, 30. Juni 2012

June 30 - Monterey to Big Sur

I'd like to call the following 3 days my moutain stages:-)

Just for those who are interested of the elevation profile of our tour you should see the following pictures:

elevation profile of our first 4 days

elevation profile of tour last 4 days
here one can see how steep it was to bike up to Big Sur f.e.

that part we didn't bike anymore
(I put the picture just to complete it)

We had set our alarm clocks for 7:30. When it rang both of us were tired (none of us had had a good sleep:-)). During the night I heard voices outside our room talking very loudly and then there was a very loud "bang" in the middle of the night. i got up to see what was going on but couldn't see anything....
After a certain amount of time we got up, had breakfast with the rest of Christoph's cheese in the lobby of the Inn, packed our stuff and started at 10:05. Before we could leave the reception area we met a German couple who asked us a lot of questions about our bike trip. When we finally started moving we first went to the grocery shop close to our Inn to buy drinks for the day. Our "real" start was 10:45 and for me it began with walking up a very very steep hill (I would say more then 3 arrows >>> this time). When we reached the peak of that hill a 4km descent (to Carmel) was waiting for us. Even though the shoulder was narrow and lots of traffic was around us I enjoyed it.
After that part I would summarize the rest of the day as follwed:
First we had some one arrow uphill and downhill parts and during that part of the ride there were very nice and expensive houses with ocean view along the Highway that could be hardly seen from our position. This part of the coast was just wonderful!

after passing Carmel it looked already so nice!

just awesome!

a fancy stone house hardly to recognize from the road

short break

very low hanging clouds

have I already mentioned that blue is my favourite colour:-)

looking back

it was getting foggy and cloudy

the weather was changeable that day

Then we had a long uphill part lying in front of us. The higher we came the more foggy, cloudy and windy it got.

very windy! And the view down was blocked by the clouds

At the Bixby Bridge we took a short picture-break and chatted with some other tourists.

the Bixby Bridge

Then there was a long downhill part waiting for us but this part was very windy again and we had to hit the brakes all the time and bike very carefully.

Later on I was walking uphill again (mainly because of the headwind that was blowing) and afterwards it went just a little bit up and down.

we survived the headwind
at least we were always rewarded by the view:-)

slightly down and up

one of my favourite pictures!

approaching Big Sur

When we reached Big Sur at around 15:15 I was just happy that I had managed the day that good. The 3-days-break had just been perfect and Christoph was right: After a while your body gets used to the exercise and your are getting fitter and fitter. For me it just took a little bit longer than for others (Christoph included) and I really needed that break. But while we were biking to Big Sur I felt quite alright.
Shortly after passing the entrance sign of Big Sur we had our late lunch/early dinner. I ate Pizza and ordered a Smoothie and we were sitting outside at a table watching the preparations for a wedding ceremony that was about to start in one of the restaurants.

having a Smoothie

Our break lasted from 15:15 to 16:45 and at that time we still thought of having arrived already => Wrong thinking!!!
With a very full stomach and almost unable to move at all we figured out that there were still 2km lying in front of us:-( I had to walk my bike again (my stomach wasn't pleased with me moving at all) and finally we arrived at 17:30 at our expensive Lodge. Our cabin was located in the woods, we had no TV, no wifi, no telephone (everything was just related to nature) but a fireplace (what a pity that it was too warm around that time of the year...), 2 sleeping rooms plus a big bathroom and a patio.
After arriving I took a shower, then we went down to the reception area and the small grocery store and bought something to drink.

the reception area, breakfast place and
small grocery and souvenir shop
were in that cabin
our lodge, front door

our lodge, back view
When we were back in our room Christoph still wasn't tired enough and so he asked me to walk uphill to watch a waterfall and the sunset on the top of the hill where all the lodges were located. At 19:50 we left the cabin but after 10 minutes I returned (I was too tired, had exercised enough and I wasn't sure if we could make it because the sun was already about to set). Christoph continued without me and I went just back and was dozing on my bed.

Christoph's view on the way up

the small waterfall

again the view

and here comes the proof that he really made it in time:


over, sunset_4

When Christoph returned at 20:30 he was coverd in sweat again (he almost run up the hill and just made it in time for the sunset) and had to take a shower again.
He went to bed at 22:30 but I was reading til 23:45, at midnight I went to bed.

Tour stage

Tour stage: Monterey to Big Sur
Distance: 50.26 km
Total time (breaks included):  10:45 - 17:30
Average speed: 13.5 km/h
Real running time: 3h 44 min

P.S: The lodge was really nice but we think that we paid to much (the bathroom, especially the shower was pretty old and even though the idea about the lodges in the middle of the woods was to focus on the nature we were missing any kind of electrical devices - not even an hairdryer was available - and for that price we just agreed that it was too expensive! But as you might remember: we hadn't had another choice...)

Freitag, 29. Juni 2012

June 29 - Monterey

This morning I got up at 8:30 a.m., took a shower and at 9:00 we had breakfast. Christoph still had some cheese left, so I didn't have to eat sweets for breakfast and everything was fine:-)
After breakfast I started working on my blog and Christoph went for a bike trip: He wanted to bike the 17-miles drive, where all the properties and houses of the rich people were. For bikes that drive was free of charge, cardrivers had to pay. Christoph was away from 11:30 to 15:00 and added another 40km to his mileage report. Meanwhile I was eager to blog about our trip and started to write the advertisment for my bike which I wanted to sell as soon as we reached LA.
At the bikeshop the shop clerk had given me the following internet address: which is used by everybody to sell or buy things. I tried to figure out how to post my bike, looked up the most important technical details about my bike and also prepared some pictures. When everything was finished I put it on craigslist but what I hadn't known was that they wanted a kind of identification. I received an email from craigslist saying that my ad would be activated as soon as I emailed my phone number back. The problem was that they only accepted Canadian or American phone numbers, prepaid numbers excluded. Christoph and I had bought a prepaid card at the airport and that was it. I emailed them back, describing my situation and asked them what to do (but I never got an answer back:-( ). So I decided to deal with that problem later...

When Christoph came back we decided to walk to Fisherman's Wharf for dinner. We left at 17:00 and it took us a while to choose a restaurant. Not because they didn't look good but they were all seafood restaurant and Christoph's attitude in terms of seafood might be well-known by now.
Finally we took the last one on the pier. I was in the mood for something special and so I decided to go for a just-caught crab.

Christoph on the Pier

view from the restaurant to the harbour and surroundings

struggeling with the crab
 (I couldn't get rid of the fish smell on my hands for a while:-) )

At 19:20 we walked back to our Inn and arrived there at about 20:00. The rest of the evening was filled with blogging, emailing and preparation for the upcoming bike trip. Christoph pumped up our bikes and already packed his stuff before we went to bed at 23:45.

The 2nd half of our trip could begin, we were ready!:-)

Donnerstag, 28. Juni 2012

June 28 - Monterey

I wasn't sleeping very well that night. When I woke up early in the morning I decided to get up and dressed first. I wanted to make sure that we didn't have to move to another Inn for the next 2 days in Monterey and so I went to the receptionist immediately. I could extend our stay by 2 nights without any problems. Relieved I went back to bed again. Christoph hadn't heard anything and was still sleeping like a baby:-)
At 9:00 we had breakfast and thanks to Christoph, who had bought ham and cheese we could put it on the toast instead of jam or marmelade.
Then we went back to our room and from 10:00 to 13:00 I made several telephone calls. Unfortunately all places I called in Big Sur didn't have any vacancy left. The Inn we had in mind the day before (actually that Inn was quite alright but we had decided to make some phone calls first to see if something cheaper was available) was already booked out that morning (we should have made our reservation the day/night before!) and so Big Sur turned out to be a problem.
After checking every single place in Big Sur we found only one place that was still available: Big Sur Lodge, a very expensive place to stay. So I suggest the idea with the bus again but Christoph really wanted to ride the bike to Big Sur (in retrospect I am very thankful for his decision!) Finally he wanted to come to an end and suggest to pay 2/3 of the  total price of 355 USD!!! Now I couldn't resist anymore and so I agreed and booked the Lodge.

The rest of the day we wanted to explore the quite famous Aquarium in Monterey. Now planning was finished and we could continue with sightseeing! At 14:00 we left our room and rode the bikes to the Aquarium which we visited from 14:30 to 18:00.
I can definitely recommend that place and to underline this statement you should see the following pictures I took over there:

Monterey, on the way to the Aquarium
museum, still on the way to the Aquarium

promenade along the shore

biking along the shoreline

the Pier

what a wonderful view
(we didn't really get on because I had to stop that often to take all those pictures:-) )

a harbour seal sunbathing:-)
the Monterey Aquarium
After watching the sea otters being fed we continued our tour to the kelp forest:

kelp forest
kelp forest picture 2
some information
me ordering a seafood meal on the screen and getting some information
from the 3 guys in the background whether that choice of meal was a good or bad one
(related to environmental impact)
Great Tide Pool
I also touched every single animal at the touch pools but no pictures of that experience exists.

Monterey Bay habitats

Monterey Bay habitats
Sand Dollars
information about Sand Dollars

Honeycomb Moray
aren't the colours beautiful?!
Blackfooted Penguins

see the black feet?
mmhhh, yummy Anchovies:-)
and some information about Anchovies

Purple-Striped Jellies
Sea Nettles
Moon Jellies

I loved the section "The Secret Lives of Seahorses":

Zebrasnout Seahorses

some almost unreadable information
do you see the "Weedy Sea Dragons"?
Weedy sea horses are related to seahorses. How can you
tell this fish from its close relative, the leafy sea dragon? The
weedy sea horse wears short, stubby fins compared to its
more flamboyant cousin
Leafy Sea Dragons:
they disguise themselves as seaweed with
dozens of unbelievable, leaflike fins
worth-knowing things about young seahorses
Ribbon Pipehorse

and of course some information
For "The Jellies Experience" we were running out of time and only a fee minutes were left for a quick tour:

Moon Jellies again

I had no idea...

amazing, isn't it?

Impressions of Monterey on the way back:

shops and restaurants on the way back

and old train car parked along the promenade

the promenade (for bikers and pedestrians)

the harbour
another harbour seal, so cute:-)

the pier with all its restaurants and shops

After that visit I was really tired and I walked the bike uphill again (even though it was such a big difference to ride the bike without my panniers!). After storing the bikes in our room we took off for dinner. I was too tired so that I didn't join Christoph who went grocery shopping first. Instead of that I ordered noodles for take-out, went back to our room and lay down on the bed for a short nap:-)
At 20:30 Christoph was back and we had dinner together.
Then I continued blogging and at midnight we went to bed.

Tour stages

Tour stage: Monterey Surf Inn to Aquarium and back
Distance: 8.95 km

(I know it is a kind of ridiculous but so I can add at least some more kilometers to my mileage report:-) )