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It’s Always Uphill in Carmel

By | June 16, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012
Monterey to Carmel
12 miles

We decided to take today off ahead of the dramatic climbing we expect to encounter on the road to Big Sur. Some days off days mean no riding at all, but we did want to at least jump ahead to Carmel, on the other side of the Monterey Peninsula. The couple we met yesterday had assured us if we took the ocean route around the edge, it would be pretty flat, but longer, about eight miles. If we went up and over, it would be a bit more direct, but there would be a very steep section of hill, about a half mile, that they usually walked fully loaded bikes up. A flat cruise along the ocean seemed like a perfect way to spend a day off.

My notes app ate the part where I talked about spending the morning thrift store shopping. You probably didn’t want to hear about that, anyway. But I did get this awesome sweater. And I still need a haircut.


With the day wearing on, we rolled down to the coast. Lover’s Point was at the end of our street, which has a great jumble of rocks to climb on.

Or do yoga on.

Squirrels love it too, and they are very used to being fed by people. When we arrived, there was a family of visitors excitedly feeding a few of them. Then the family abruptly backed off as the squirrels got too aggressive and their small daughter became scared. I kept a close eye on our bikes as we climbed up to take photos on the rocks. I remain extra suspicious of squirrels after one of them chewed the zipper off my handlebar bag on my last trip. But we left the bikes in the grassy area, and that appeared to be the line which the squirrels do not cross.


Here they are, plotting behind squirrel lines.

We stopped a little farther down the coast to take pictures of the waves crashing on the rocks. This really is a spectacular stretch of coastline on a generally beautiful coast.


At some point, we looked at our map and decided to go straight rather than turning right. It looked like it would just cut off one chunk of being right on the water, but would be more direct. We have plans to be on the coast for most of the rest of the trip, so we figured we wouldn’t miss it. Of course that meant we started climbing. The hills weren’t huge, and they weren’t that horrible, but we ended up going both around and over the Monterey Peninsula. I should have known. Every time I try to avoid climbing or take some kind of shortcut, it doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s worse. This has something to do with desire always bringing suffering, I suppose.

So we’ve left the agricultural coast. Today we rode through miles of golf courses. Does that account for the fact that everything in Carmel is uphill? Or that people there are not helpful? Difficult to say, but today was the only day so far our standing around looking confused gambit did nothing.

One man asked us where we were going. I told him we were looking for someplace to eat lunch. He said, “No! Where are you going?” We explained, to San Diego, Sadie started in Portland and I joined her in the Bay Area, and he walked on. OK, he’s probably not from around here either. Carmel is mostly a tourist town, restaurants and art galleries, a fancy chocolate shop, apparently a fancy water shop, and a Mission.

Then a woman walked past, snidely asking, “Does the IPad know where you are?” Sorry, lady. Go back to LA. So we looked online ourselves and found a great French bakery and cafe.


Voila! Dessert!

We found a hotel, since camping is not something one does in Carmel. We did laundry and bought provisions, as the Big Sur stretch is not as populated. We thought about walking down to the beach to do yoga, but then we would have had to walk way back uphill, so we just watched TV instead. It is our day off!

Before bed, I decided I had better change out my front tire, so I could stop carrying the new one around. It took me a fifth of the time it took to change the rear one! Woohoo! I feel like a super mechanic! Almost. I do have a small blister on my thumb now.

Thirty miles to Big Sur tomorrow, so I better get some sleep. Will the climbing be as gnarly as we think it will? Not sure. But we don’t have anything else to do tomorrow. Might as well bike.

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