A Monterey Afternoon

Posted on 07/26/2011

In fact, upon arriving at Blazing Saddles’ Cannery Row HQ the staff recommended we (My friend Rodney and I) head straight out of Cannery Row (west) and enjoy a nice stretch of Monterey County’s 99 miles of coastline. All it took was a quick 5-minute “orientation” of sorts, going over biking basics, required safety instructions and a little consulting of a map and we were on our way.

SCENIC BIKE PATH & VIEWING POINTS

As we passed the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and headed out on to the beautiful bike path, the morning gloom finally gave way to the midday sun and the water sparkled under its glow.  [Monterey Bay] The bike path that goes west from Cannery Row flows brilliantly along the rocky north-facing coastline. On this beautiful summer day we could see the majestic Santa Cruz Mountains 20 miles across the bay.

Our first stop was Pacific Grove’s,Lovers Point. This gorgeous rocky outcrop got its name exactly how you would imagine. A wonderful place to take a date on a sunny afternoon picnic or romantic sunset, though we were only here for the view today!

Lovers Point is an incredible (and heavily localized) surf spot; show up on the right swell and be ready to watch the areas best unknown surfers drop in on some scary looking waves. Almost every other day of the year it is home to world-class scuba diving, spear-fishing and kayaking/sight-seeing. We took some great pictures and rode on. The next couple of miles are similar (yet not as popular), full of hidden world-class scuba diving spots, and even more secret surf-spots (weather cooperation required). But today the sun made for one of the more gorgeous rides, warming Monterey’s usually cold wind enough for us to shed our sweatshirts and enjoy a t-shirt and shorts summer day.

ASILOMAR STATE BEACH

With million-dollar homes to our left and the great Pacific to our right, we made our way south to Asilomar State Beach.  [Asilomar State Beach] At the edge of Pebble Beach’s 17-mile drive, this beach is a great place to get a view of the Spanish Bay links and spend a sun-drenched beach day. The summer waves are generally user friendly to beginner surfers, and believe you me the tide pooling here at low tide is enough to attract marine biologists from across the country. From Asilomar, our ride took a turn for the uphill and inland, as we headed up into the quaint little town of Pacific Grove. Known for its springtime butterfly migration, which can reach in excess of 25,000 Monarch butterflies. But today we turned to this quiet town not for the sight’s but for the food.

FRIENDLY FOOD & EVEN FRIENDLIER PEOPLE

One thing that Monterey County is not short in is small, friendly, AMAZING, (sometimes hole-in-the wall), places to eat. Our Mexican heritage has endowed us with wonderful [Compagnos] authentic Burrito spots, and our proximity to the ocean has allowed us delicious seafood. But I’m not entirely sure what brought Compagno’s to us, and to be honest I don’t care. The food that this corner store produces is worth every penny. This little corner store packs a punch, with legendary sandwiches that are enough for two. The owner is always there and I will personally guarantee your satisfaction. (I only say this for a couple food places in the world, having spent a good amount of time in the “sandwich business” working in a similar mom and pop shop).

CRUISING TO THE END

After a nice lunch break in front of Compagno’s, (thank you complimentary bike locks) we hopped back on our bikes and rolled straight downhill. This is really all one can do after ingesting such a large lunch. This is where the bike’s disc brakes come into play. As other bicyclists screeched downhill with scared looks across their faces, Rodney and I comfortably eased back to Cannery Row. All I can say is what an afternoon. A nice long cruise on the beach, legendary sightseeing and even better food. The opportunities for adventure that a bike offers in Monterey are endless! So what are you waiting for? Get out there!

When most people come to Monterey, they are here for one of two things: A beach getaway, or a golf wonder-vacation. And if you aren’t headed to the Pebble Beach links, then in all likelihood you are most likely going to John Steinbeck’s legendary Cannery Row. While there is a great deal to see, there are only so many wonders that can be held in one street.