July 18-21 2015 -Doug and JoannieI signed up with Tailwinds Bicycle club back in May for my first century ride. A ride of at least 100 miles. I picked the Windmill Century because as century rides go, it looked like a relatively easy one that I felt confident I could handle, handily.
Since we were going to already be out and would be on the California coast, Joannie suggested pack rafting in Monterey on the way home which sounded like a great idea.
So we packed up the camper for a several days outing and headed south. We found a place to overnight in Santa Maria and set the alarm for 5 am. I took off on the ride about 6:30 am from Pioneer Park in Santa Maria. I commend the club for picking a beautiful, very rural route. The route description from the website:
This loop heads out towards the hills of Casmalia, and climbs, passing Vandenberg AFB. You'll travel the back roads of Lompoc and head to the authentic Danish village of Solvang where you'll stop for a nourishing lunch. Then it's on through the picturesque roads of Ballard and Santa Ynez. You'll enjoy the winding country roads and the rolling hills along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, head back through the tiny towns of Sisquoc and Garey and through Orcutt where you'll complete your journey and enjoy a Santa Maria Style BBQ at Pioneer Park.
I rolled back into Pioneer Park around 2:30 pm for a roughly 8 hour ride including lunch and rest breaks. Joannie spent the day taking hikes with Topaz who was worn out by the time I got back. We enjoyed the BBQ and headed back to 'camp'. Below are a few scenes from the ride.
|Lunch break. Mile 53.4|
|Rolling back into Pioneer Park|
The next morning we headed up Hwy 1 along the coast and found a place to camp in Big Sur. It was a nice campground but seemed expensive to me who's used to pulling up on some rock pile somewhere in the boondocks. The next morning we were in Monterey early and found parking on Ocean View Blvd in Pacific Grove. We launched from Lover's Point Beach and paddled out to the kelp beds in the Marine Preserve. Very worthwhile! Easy launch and gentle swells allowed for prime Harbor seal and sea otter viewing. Entertaining watching the seals pop up next to the boats and the otters laying on their backs while eating. We were even treated to watching a pup trail its mom through the swells.
Packrafting Monterey Bay