Montag, 2. Juli 2012

July 2 - Lucia to Ragged Point

The previous day had been the worst. After that it was just fun again.
My alarm clock rang at 7:45 and I got up at 8:00. It had been so silent during the night but as I already mentioned I had lots of weird dreams, so I didn't feel that rested as I should. But my back didn't hurt anymore from walking my bike steep uphill and so I felt ready for the upcoming day.

I had breakfast in my room again and then I met Christoph and we went to the reception to get registered.
Then we were walking around the hermitage and I took some pictures and enjoyed the view as far as this was possible because it was cloudy and misty that morning.

the common kitchen

there was also a small library in the kitchen
the monks were very keen on separating the garbage
(=> reminded me a lot of Germany:-) )

Christoph's room was the left one, my one the right one
we were really hidden in the mountain

the monk's small chapel
inside the chapel_1
inside the chapel_2
the guests' rooms
we were above the fog
We had a nice talk with one of the landscapers who was really interested in the European politics. Unfortunately I couldn't tell him much about the current situation related to Greece, Spain etc. Actually I am not that interested in politics and since our arrival we hadn't watched TV at all.

We started biking at 11:00 and it was just a pleasure to go downhill for 3.33 km (hermitage to Lucia, about 15 minutes ride because we had to take some breaks again: Christoph's tires were so small and hitting the brakes all the time caused such a heat that we had to stop and wait for the brakes to cool down again).

the sign on Highway 1 that indicated the way to the hermitage

my favourite sign from the previous day:-)
From Lucia it went another 5km down, it was foggy and we had no or just a narrow shoulder. But I enjoyed it:-)

on the way to Gorda

who recognized Christoph's new black windstopper?:-)
When we almost reached the sea-level again we had to bike up and down 6 more times til Gorda where we had our lunchbreak from 13:50 to 15:30. That time I only had to walk my bike ones:-)

At our lunchplace we met a family from Denmark and the father told us that they had rented a motorhome and had 5 weeks to travel around California. He could also tell us that Spain had won the European Championships (so far we had no idea who the winner was:-).

our lunchplace in Gorda

Christoph leaning his bike against the bannister of the patio
to the left our lunchplace
to the right of our lunchplace
=> that was the whole town "Gorda":-)
After lunch it went steep up again (I was walking, biking and walking uphill), downhill and one more uphill (walking again) and downhill before we reached the Ragged Point Inn & Resort at 17:45.
( the 2nd half of that day-trip felt again more like walking or hiking than biking:-) ).
That day we had a little bit wind but less traffic (it was a Monday and no weekend anymore).

on the way to Ragged Point
our room was on the top floor of that building
We checked in, made a reservation for our dinner and took a shower.
From 19:10 to 20:30 we had a nice dinner in a pretty elegant restaurant (we had cloth napkins instead of paper napkins => what a change!).

Then we went grocery shopping (breakfast and drinks) and prepared our last tour stage. Internet didn't work (it was an external provider we had to pay for but we couldn't get to the payment page already...). When I went down to the receptionist she was kind of unfriendly and felt disturbed (I guess she was talking privately on the phone:.-) and told me that she had no idea about the internet and that she didn't have internet access either.
Luckily Christoph and I had made a copy of the bus schedule so we could look up the location and time of the bus we had to take the following day.
Because our alarm clock would rang very early the next morning we went to bed at 23:00h.

sunset from our window

Tour stage

Tour stage: Lucia to Ragged Point
Distance: 42.87 km
Total time (breaks included): 11:00 - 17:45
Average speed: 13.44 km/h
Real running time: 3h 11 min


Sonntag, 1. Juli 2012

July 01 - Big Sur to Lucia

Our alarm clock rang at 7:30 and we got up at 8:00. We had a very delicious breakfast in the "reception building" of the Big Sur Lodge

this could get my favourite breakfast:-)

and after packing we left our lodge at 10:50.

Some impressions of our most expensive stay during our vacation:

bathroom door, closet and sink outside the bathroom

one additional bedroom we didn't use

Christoph packing in front of his bed

my bed, a fireplace and desk

our patio
On the way downhill from the lodge to the check-out place Christoph figured out that his brakes needed readjustment and so I had some time to take a closer look at the souvenir shop.

Lodges in Big Sur
on the way down from the lodges to the reception

next to the reception building
At 11:10 we started biking. That day I didn't really feel like biking: I was under the impression that either I was walking my bike uphill or riding it downhill but really using my pedals was rare:-)
Directly after the lodge a 4km uphill (2 arrows) part started and Christoph was biking uphill very slowly but for me it was just too steep. So my morning began with a 1h-walk in the sun:-).

almost on the peak!!!

finally!!! (after 1h:-)
but I could still smile:-)
Afterwards it went downhill for a while

Christoph said it was tough for him too, but he
could already take a nice break until my arrival:-)

and then I had to walk my bike uphill again. Finally I could really bike til lunchtime which we had in a turnout.

without words....

impressions on our way to Lucia_1

late lunch in a turnout
On the way to Big Sur we had almost no wind or tailwind which was helpful most of the time. As we were around that beautiful area on a Sunday there was lots of traffic and this part of the coast didn't either have a shoulder or a very narrow one with lots of grass and rocks on it. For biking on a Sunday it wasn't really the best choice but the coast was so beautiful that we didn't regret it.


I like those bridges
the bridge really fits in the environment...

reminds me of the German song: "über den Wolken"...:-)
a glance back
At 16:45 we arrived in Lucia which basically consisted only of a lodge and a restaurant+shop. The restaurant was still closed and I went into the adjacent shop to ask when they would open and how far it was to get to the Hermitage, our place for the night.
The young woman in the shop answered "JUST AROUND THE CORNER" which turned out to be my "favourite expression" during our trip... The restaurant would open in 15 minutes and I went back to Christoph and told him the news. Christoph asked me if I preferred to stay and wait for the restaurant to open or if I preferred to go the Hermitage first, take a shower, unpack and return later for dinner. I decided to take option number 2 because I still remembered that Christoph wasn't really pleased the day before, when we had such an early dinner in Big Sur. So I thought it might be better to return later...
We got on our bikes and after 2 bends Christoph was waiting for me with an expression on his face that didn't let me expect the best... He said: "You won't like it" and pointed to a traffic sign on the other side of the road which said: 2 miles scenic drive.
Our hermitage was on the hill/mountain in front of us.... So far I had really enjoyed our trip, I was still ok and not as exhausted as on some of the former days. But the problem was that my mind had already arrived after that woman had told me that we are just one corner away from our destination. My body had already started to relax and going uphill 2 more miles (steep!) was the worst thing I had heard that day...
But we had no choice, so we started biking uphill, but after a few meters it was clear that I had to walk. The "scienic drive" was very steep (4(!) arrows in my opinion) and my arms and back hurt after a while. I begged Christoph to walk with me and he was so kind to join me. In spite of his company my mood was getting really really bad. I was so pissed off: first of all with that woman who saw that I was wearing a bike helmet and who could have told me that we were close but that a steep hill would await us. And second with myself: how stupid could one be.... One didn't have to be brillant to realize that a hermitage wouldn't be located near the road. As the name hermitage already said: no one should be around and being located on a hill/montain shouldn't have been a surprise at all.
After a while I was getting really moody and I was swearing and grumbling full-throated. Christoph had never seen me like this and didn't really know how to handle me. I just told him to let me swear and grumble because I needed to get rid of my anger. I told him several times that I didn't care about the scenic view and that I could kill that woman from the shop instantly as well as myself.
After a while I resigned and we kept walking in silence. 2 cars passed us but they didn't stop and we didn't hitchhike. The breaks got more and more often and when we finally met some pedestrians walking downhill they assured us that it wouldn't be far anymore (but at that time I had already lost my confidence in the distance-description of American people). But they were right this time. It wasn't far anymore. And they had already told us that we didn't need to worry about our dinner because it was already waiting for us in the fridge! (good news:-) ).
2 hours later (after reading the sign "2miles scenic view") we finally arrived. The reception was already closed but we had a nice welcome note hanging on the door telling us where to go.

my welcome note
We had separated rooms (I was in room 8, Christoph in number 7) and luckily the rooms were close to the path and not (like some others) deep down the hill in the middle of nowhere hidden between bushes and trees.
First of all we took a shower and had dinner. Dinner was already in the fridge in the common kitchen. Even though the dinner turned out to be completely tasteless we were thankful for it. None of us wanted to go downhill again and eat in the only restaurant in Lucia. We would have gone to bed hungry rather than going down and up again:-) We learnt that the monks prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner for their guests and put the meals into the fridge. Thus everybody could eat whenever he/she wanted. We just had to go into the common kitchen and warm it up in the microwave (pretty convenient). Each of us had the dinner in his/her own room. Around that area (common kitchen, common showers, rooms) we had to be silent. Talking was only allowed or welcome if one couldn't avoid it at all and if we had to talk we should whisper. So we ate separately and everybody was absorbed in his/her own thoughts. After the shower and the meal I made my bed for the night and read all the instructions that were written down on small notes and that were attached to the drawers, the desk, the bed and the bathroom.

notes with instructions like these
were hanging everywhere:-)
I felt much better and it was time to say "sorry" for my bad behaviour to Christoph. He said I shouldn't worry about it. He was exhausted too, his wrists hurt (walking a recumbent bike by pushing it uphill and placing the hands on the back of the seat was no fun either...). We did our dishes and then I was reading in my book from 21:00 to 23:15.
Bedtime was at 23:30 and I didn't sleep very well because I had a lot of "wild" dreams.

my room at the hermitage,
behind the window was a nice patio just for myself

my bed and the cross shouldn't be missed of course

each room had its own toilet and sink
but the showers were shared by everybody
my dinner
(each room had its own plates, tray and cutlery,
stored in own of the drawers)

the view after sunset
(I was able again to enjoy the view:-) )

Tour stage

Tour stage: Big Sur to Lucia
Distance: 44.10 km
Total time (breaks included):  11:10 - 18:45
Average speed: 10.75 km/h
Real running time: 4h 06 min