Friday, March 14, 2008

Cambria California

I guess it's been a while since my last post. We stayed at the Hostel in Monterey. A very nice place. It had a great kitchen and strangely enough had lots of free food, which Taran and I devoured. Monterey itself was very nice. It had it own "Fishermans Wharf" and great bike trails. We didn't get to see much of the city as we arrived fairly late in the day and left early the next.

From Monterey we went to Pffeifer State Park in the Big Sur area about 45 miles away. This site was in the forest with lots of trees. Although it was a State Park it had a brand new lodge (restaurant, cafeteria etc). It looked great, I would have loved to have eaten there!! We spent time with a fellow Hiker/Biker named Robert. He was a transient that told us stories of working in the circus and taught us how to "ride the rails". Apparently it is much harder than it used to be. In fact, if you happen to arrive at a "Port Location" and they catch you, it's ten days in jail!!.

We went from Pffeifer SP t o Kirk Creek Campground (run by the Forest Service not the State Parks). Interesting note; We stopped for lunch at a particular road side pullout and ran into a professional photographer. He was there to take pictures of Wild Condors. He shared this information about the condors:
1) There are only 139 wild condors in CA, AZ and Mexico
2) The reason for their decline:
a) DDT - softens their eggs
b) Less carrion then there used to be
c) Eating bullets made of lead from dead or dying animals that had been shot.
As he was telling us this, a large adult condor flew 20 feet above our heads. It was amazing. Shortly thereafter, a young adult flew by...
Kirk Creek: This place had been recommended by a cyclist we met in San Francisco. Our campsite was 20 feet from the cliff overlooking the beach and pounding surf. It was truly an amazing sight. However, despite the view, it turned out to be a mistake. There was no potable water nor were there any showers. Luckily we had filled up 10 miles before so we had enough water to cook with. They did have running water, but the signs said you should not drink or cook with it. I mentioned to the Camp Host (a short grizzled older man) that I was struggling with the no water issue and he replied very brusquely "I've been drinking it for years and have never been sick". I wanted to say that they way he looked and acted that it must be affecting him, but I did not. I asked if there was water nearby and he again told me that he drank the water.

From Kirk Creek, we went to San Simeon State Park about 45 miles away. The day was chilly and we rode through fog most of the day. Also, the first two thirds of the day was spent climbing hills. We were very drained at the end of this day!! We did stop to view the Elephant Seals. There must have been 10 elephant seals and maybe 200 other seals of varying sizes and shapes. Apparently the best time to see them is in the morning when they are more active - fighting, having intimate relations, playing etc) We saw them when they were just lying in the sun (what a life eh). San Simeon was a nice campground but not a lot of trees and our site was on grass. With a clear sky (the fog had lifted by the time we got to San Simeon) this meant a lot of dew and condensation on the tent... The only bad thing about San Simeon was the Raccoons. I have not been sleeping well and decided to try wearing ear plugs. It worked great. However, I did wake up around 2 am to stretch my legs. When I went back to bed luckily I did not put the plugs back in because shortly thereafter I heard the familiar raccoons sound. I think it was that they were fighting over getting at our food that woke me up. I quickly got up and scared them off and found that the only damage they had done was to tear open a garbage bag. I took the bags to the nearby restroom to protect for the night. (usually they have boxes available to store your food but they did not have any here...and no trees to hang stuff from.) A couple hours later I heard noise from the other hiker/biker campsite. I got up and yelled "Hey Coulter, there's raccoons in your campsite". He woke up and scared them away but not before they had invaded his larder! He took his stuff to the restroom as well. Coulter was a nice fellow from Santa Barbara that amazed us with his ability to travel light. He did not have a tent, rather he used a hammock. He only need 2 panniers to carry all his stuff...and he had 10 days worth of food (it's hard to find Vegan food along this route).

I think that basically outlines our past few days. The mornings are still very cold, in fact there was frost on the ground. We've decided on a short day today, maybe 20 to 25 miles to a place called Morro Strand Beach.

My time is up...we're at the Library in Cambria California and they generously gave us 1 hour to fiddle.

Last Comment.... This beach coast road is absolutely stunning. It is great being able to see the coast go by while riding on a bicycle. It doesn't fly by as it would in a car.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, good to hear you guys are doing well! I'm an avid reader - I check in on the blog every day or two for more entries. Hope the trip continues to go wonderfully!