U.S. 360 Tour III – Day 35 from Monterey CA to Big Sur CA (Jersey Road Angels in a Place Called Heaven)

Latest update on my purpose-driven cycling journey around the American perimeter.

61 miles (98 km) – Total so far: 1,774 miles (2,855 km)

“Spectacular” is a word that doesn’t do today’s ride justice.

At the outset, when I meandered around Monterey California, I thought to myself that it couldn’t get any more magnificent. Then, I was completely awed by Carmel, then astonished by Big Sur. You get the point. The ocean, the cliffs, the ocean spray, the cloud bank coming in over the bay but below my front wheel, the enormous Redwood Pines, and the sleek sea otters all made for a day that heretofore I’ve only dreamt about.

God is in this place and he’s standing tall.

I cannot begin to tell you how spiritual this place is, and I’m not ashamed to admit that the sheer beauty of it all almost brought me to tears at times. The other thing that almost brought me to tears was the almost constant climbing. I knew today was going to be a brutal climbing day, so I wasn’t surprised when right out of the gate I was greeted with a 1000 ft climb, only to be repeated throughout the day.

For the next two days I would be without readily available water, food and electricity. So, I planned on over-packing to ensure I had access to the appropriate supplies. While climbing a particularly ominous hill, and as I was running dangerously low on the days water ration, I heard two young ladies yell over a ridge “do you need water?”. Turns out that my two new soon-to-be friends were from New Jersey and were enjoying a day of sightseeing in this spectacular place. Apparently, they had passed by me a few times between stops in their car, and had witnessed firsthand my laboring. When I heard their sweet voices, combined with my almost-desperate need for water, I was, well, simply touched. Those that understand how remote and vulnerable adventure cyclists sometimes are can appreciate the situation. Yes, God and two little angels from New Jersey were on my side today.

Passed through the heavenly towns of Carmel, Carmel Highlands, Big Sur, and Lucia today. Of particular note was riding over the famous Bixby Bridge, and the greeting on the other side by a challenging, but gorgeous climb. Apparently, the Bixby Bridge, built in 1932, is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world, and one of the most picturesque I have ever seen.

Given the number of adjectives I used in this post, it should be no surprise that today was the greatest one day ride in my cycling career. What was a very, very difficult day of fully-loaded riding culminated with some quite primitive camping (i.e. no facilities or water) at Kirk Creek Campground in the Los Padres National Forest. But don’t read any negativity into the post. It was, in a word, spectacular plus one!

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” – Vince Lombardi

It’s All Good.

Selfie near Carmel CA
Selfie near Carmel CA
Surly Pearl overlooking a bay near Carmel CA
Surly Pearl overlooking a bay near Carmel CA
On the road between Carmel and Big Sur CA
On the road between Carmel and Big Sur CA
Brian and his friend Jim at one of the many vistas near Big Sur CA
Brian and his friend Jim at one of the many vistas near Big Sur CA
Surly Pearl watching the afternoon cloud bank roll into the Big Sur area
Surly Pearl watching the afternoon cloud bank roll into the Big Sur area
Surly Pearl and the famous Bixby Bridge outside of Big Sur CA
Surly Pearl and the famous Bixby Bridge outside of Big Sur CA
This is for my wife Carol the Civil Engineer!
This is for my wife Carol the Civil Engineer!
Surly Pearl after the enormous climb from the Pacific Coast Highway Bixby Bridge, which you can see in the distant background.
Surly Pearl after the enormous climb from the Pacific Coast Highway Bixby Bridge, which you can see in the distant background.
Dog tired Brian after the enormous climb from the Pacific Coast Highway Bixby Bridge, which you can see in the distant background.
Dog tired Brian after the enormous climb from the Pacific Coast Highway Bixby Bridge, which you can see in the distant background.
Surly Pearl above the clouds on the way to Lucia CA
Surly Pearl above the clouds on the way to Lucia CA
Selfie above the clouds on the way to Lucia CA
Selfie above the clouds on the way to Lucia CA
Looking down at a break in the clouds at the deep blue Pacific
Looking down at a break in the clouds at the deep blue Pacific
A crazy tunnel and/or boulder catcher on the way to Lucia CA
A crazy tunnel and/or boulder catcher on the way to Lucia CA
Primitive camping at Kirk Creek Camground within the Los Padres National Forest
Primitive camping at Kirk Creek Camground within the Los Padres National Forest

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