Carrie Suriano
Pacific Coast
Hospitality and Please Don’t Overstay Ten avocados for $1, five artichokes for $1, organic U-Pick farms, and “Slow Down for Pie” signs are as much a part of this route section as the coastline starting to fill with surfers, sup’s, and kite boarders. The ocean water is still very cold, so I did not ditch my bike for a swim. Instead, I enjoyed watching; I am always appreciative of the skill it takes to catch a wave.

I met Larry on the bike path heading into the outskirts of Monterey. Larry has done a bike tour in his past and was planning to get out again soon. At the time I saw him, he was riding northbound; he asked me where I was heading and if I knew exactly how to get there.

My reference to maps in my reply did not satisfy him, so he changed directions and led me to the base of my destination, a steep climb up to Veterans Memorial campground. He says he does this almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day. He pointed out some shops of interest, such as the closest grocery store, but most importantly, he emphasized emphatically that I must not follow the map. Instead, I should take 17-Mile Drive as an exit out of Monterey, as bicyclists do not pay the toll fee. He was detailed on how to get there, telling me to make sure I only make right turns any time an option was presented.  

After I made the climb up to the campground, I wished he had warned me about what I would find there. My experiences at all the previous hiker/ biker areas led me to expect the campers here would also all share similar mindsets, each mellowed from exercise and open to the camaraderie of fellow travelers of common focus. Not so. This was an atypical hiker/biker spot. It felt like “Occupy Monterey” was still ongoing, as there seemed to be easy ways around any maximum stay limit.

After an awkward night at the campground, 17-Mile Drive turned out to have a cleansing effect on my impression of Monterey. I highly recommend this route. I started early so there were only a few cars, but many cyclists and runners to share the scenic road.

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Carrie Suriano

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Carrie Suriano
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? The inspiration came from a reach out by a friend via Facebook. She put the idea out there, I spoke with Nick (the head Ranger) and the desire for a long bike adventure has taken hold of me.
  • What is your goal for the route? My goal is to turn the pedals enough times to get me from Canada to Mexico. My goal is to have fun riding my road bike and to make biking an even more integrated part of my transportation/vacation choices. I am signed up for Cycle Oregon in September, a supported 505 miles. This will be excellent training.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I have done two short trips by bike. My first trip was a solo adventure in New Zealand. I rode along the west coast of the South Island, around 389 miles. The road was pretty much quiet and the places I stayed either empty or full of group travelers. My second trip was more of an urban ride--I rode from Portland to Bend which is around 180 miles. Both trips I camped and in New Zealand I also stayed in backpacker hostels.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I hope to wake up somewhere refreshing, like in a campground near the ocean, many times over. I look forward to getting away from habits and exploring my "local" area in an intimate physical way. And I look forward to simply being responsible for myself and the spontaneity and routine that I will find in that. I look forward to meeting people and hearing their journey of choices along the way.

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