PCT 2007 – Day 23 – Pfeiffer Big Sur – San Simeon Village, CA

Stage 23 4-17-07
Pfeiffer Big Sur – San Simeon Village
67.42 miles; 1338.69 total; 12 miles mph avg.; 5:36 hours
Partly cloudy in AM; clear and sunny in PM; high winds after noon

Last night just after I turned out my light, I heard a critter go by my tent and checkout my camp area. I’m not sure who it was but it would not be the last I saw today.
I was up and on the road by 7:30 and it was up, up, up to reach the summit of Big Sur. It was not the start I wanted after yesterday’s hard stage. Today was looking to be tougher already. There were some signs on the road for Levi from the Discovery Team.
The route was all on Rt. 1 so navigation was simple. Though that meant being right on the coast and a very hilly and windy road. I passed MacWay Falls early in the day. It’s the only waterfall that falls into the Pacific in the US.

I saw my first Sea Otters today. I saw about eight total over the day. I also saw some seals early on too. They were sunning themselves on the rocks of one of the many coves I went around.

In Lucia, which was pretty much a store and restaurant, I got a muffin and a 20 oz. Coke, $5.16! I believe they call that highway robbery.

My next stop was Gorda, where I had lunch next to a pretty garden and waterfall. It was the patio of a restaurant that wasn’t open.

Between Gorda and Ragged Point, I had my last two climbs of the day. The first was right outside Gorda and it was quite long. The wind had picked up by this time but it wasn’t a factor. I did see many more names on the roadway – Hinncapi, Basso, Eki and others. Almost to the top I saw a couple trying to use their tripod to take their picture. I had already tried using mine and gave up since I thought the wind might knock it over. I took their picture and found out there are from England. (my third couple from there so far). They were spending 4 weeks touring the West coast by car then their going to New Zealand and Australia. They are traveling the world for a year.

The second of the two climbs wasn’t as big and the wind blew me up most of it.
At one of the really big view points, I was sitting on a rock when a small ground squirrel popped out from a bush at my feet. He was very cute. As I watched him, his partner in crime made a beeline for my gear bag. I got a great shot of the little guy; he’s like a deer in the headlights in the shot.

Late in the day after I stopped in Piedras Blancas, another town consisting of a restaurant and gift shop, I came by an elephant seal colony. There were seals covering the whole beach. It was great to watch them throw sand on themselves and grunt at each other.
At this point the wind was pushing me along at 20-25 mph. On one of the bigger downhills, the wind almost pushed me into the hillside. Then just a few turns later, it was pushing me toward an oncoming pickup. I have to say today was the scariest day of the trip.

I decided to stay in town tonight since the wind was so bad. I got a good meal and now I’m watching TV. Tomorrow I’ll have a short day and hopefully do some laundry.
Today’s ride was epic due to its route and the coast was unbelievable. I don’t know if it was the combination of the mountains on my left and the rocky coast to the right; but, it was a sight to see. The ocean is green, teal, and dark blue and it really looks great when the sun is hitting it. I will miss it when I’m in the desert.

Scatman 2011- The wind was unbelievable. When I saw it blew me up a hill or into an on coming truck I mean it.  When I made the turn into the parking lot with the Elephant Seals I went from doing 30+ in my biggest gear to almost a stand still in my smallest gear.  The wind was brutal.  As I checked into my hotel I saw a couple leaving town on their bikes headed right into the wind.  I remember saying to my brother on the phone “Those poor bastards are going to be hating life very quickly!”

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Scatman

Get out there!

Forward to Day 24, Back to Day 22

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