Posted this elsewhere but thought you all might enjoy as well.
I have a membership at the Monterey Bay Aquarium that needed renewing. What better way than to do so than in person? Besides, it was hot as hell here and the coast was bound to be cooler and the smell of the sea breeze along with the views was something I havenÔÇÖt experienced in a while.
Monday morning, I loaded up the bike for what could be a camping trip or motel stay. Either way was fine by me.
By 0830, the temperature was already in the 70ÔÇÖs. My route took me to Highway 92 via one of my favorite roads, Ca??ada Road. Ca??ada Road parallels Crystal Springs Reservoir and the view of the lake is nice too.
Nothing special about Highway 92 except it runs through the quaint and now very stylish place to live, Half Moon Bay. Every year, HMB holds a pumpkin festival that sucks all the people from the Bay side to the Coast side for Pumpkins. This year, the festival is October 18 and 19th. The fields are full of pumpkins waiting to be picked by little hands.
First stop, San Gregorio State Beach. Here, I unzipped my jacket. If you can believe it, it was in the high 60ÔÇÖs and maybe even the low 70ÔÇÖs.
A little farther down the coast is the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The State now runs the lighthouse as a part of the State Park system. There is also a hostel with very reasonable rates.
As I neared the lighthouse, I noticed two HDÔÇÖs parked. One of their riders hailed and we chatted for a few moments about the weather and travel plans. They were two headed up to the Oregon border via the coast route with plans to camp along the way.
As you can see, the view down the coast (at least to Salinas/Watsonville) is just beautiful. South, I pass Ano Nuevo State Reserve where Elephant Seals come to calve. To my right are the magnificent Redwood trees of Big Basin State Park.
At Santa Cruz, I deviated from the ÔÇ£normalÔÇØ Highway 1 to ride down West Cliff Drive and check out the Boardwalk. Eventually, I would hit San Andreas Blvd and travel past Sunset State Beach before heading even more towards the coast on what is the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route. The route takes me past strawberry fields and into the fog. Time to turn the wipers on The farm workers are picking today and itÔÇÖs hard not to notice the wonderful fragrance of the berries. Passing the berry and lettuce fields remind me of The Grapes of Wrath.
Monterey is sunny when I arrive and I decide to check into a motel and then head over to the Aquarium. This picture does not do justice to the beautiful bougainvilleas growing along the outside of the building. The motel is of the Spanish style so prevalent in Monterey. One other rider, a Harley, is also staying at the motel.
After renewing my membership, I took a stroll through the Aquarium. The jellies are Sea Nettles and featured in one of the larger exhibit tanks. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is current featuring exhibits of several different Jelly Fish.
At four oÔÇÖclock, feeding time begins in the large kelp forest tank. The tank is one of the largest in the world and features a uniquely designed ÔÇ£surgeÔÇØ generator. David Packard (of Hewlett and Packard fame) designed the generator. As the diver feeds the fish, he talks to the audience using a full-face mask equipped with a microphone and something called a ÔÇ£bone-phoneÔÇØ to ÔÇ£hearÔÇØ the presenter on the gallery side of the glass. The bone-phone transmits sound to the inner ear using the skull. It takes some getting used to but itÔÇÖs pretty cool once you do.
A number of artisans were commissioned to provide works of art for the Aquarium. One of my favorite glassblowers, Dale Chihuly, provided this piece that is displayed with the Jellies.
I met up with a friend from the Bay Area who does some volunteer work for the aquarium for dinner at a Thai place just across the street from the motel. Good food at a good price. Beer was pricey though. Located next door is the Wild Plum bakery. It would provide coffee and a most delicious pastry fresh out of the oven for the next morningÔÇÖs breakfast.
The ride home on Tuesday was cold and damp. Only in Santa Cruz County would you find this on a street sign.
One last photo of the trip was this pier in Aptos. After this, it was back over the hill and home.