Wednesday, October 31, 2018 / 16 miles /
This was a spectacular day. The more I think back on it the happier it makes me feel. It involved some relaxation, the beach, redwoods, a resurrected cemetery, a big honkin hill, brussels sprouts, hot sun, deep shade, and tea. It had distinct sections that may have involved time travel.
I drove over the hill to Half Moon Bay. I parked near their brand new library and went to check out the brand new restrooms therein. While touring the rest of it I happened upon the baby book club where the kids were crawling all over the floor and each other while the librarian, in a Halloween costume of a big spotted cat, read to them.
Once on Pokey, rather than just start my route down Highway 1, I decided to cross the highway and head to the beach. I did my first coffeeneuring there, sitting on a bench and sipping my tea. As I rode along the bike path atop the bluffs I felt everything just sort of slide away. You know – when your shoulders stop being so close to your ears. Ahhh.
I was on Highway 1 only a few miles before turning off on to Verde Rd. to head east towards the coastal hills. This was the next section. It got quiet immediately. I saw a gate that hadn’t been used in a while that in retrospect I will take for a portal to the past. When I turned back to Pokey after taking the photo the light through the eucalyptus looked different. Isn’t the winter light special? And so we passed through the first time portal.
I’m pedaling along and get out of the eucalyptus grove and then I see a gate with a sign on it that I don’t ever remember seeing before (on the exactly two other times I drove here). And what’s a natural burial ground? And since 1868? Hmm. I pulled over to explore and I pass through another portal.
I was entranced by this cemetery. I thought it was quite appropriate for visiting on Halloween, and it felt rather atmospheric with the lichens hanging from the trees and the overgrowth. The warm sun and the view of the agricultural fields down to the ocean made it feel like it hadn’t changed all that much since it was first started. The residents have a fine view.
Verde Road takes a dogleg south and heads back to Highway 1; the road that continues straight becomes Purissima Creek Road. It starts with a 12% bump to the wide-open. Next portal! To ranch land this time. A fine valley, pretty well protected from the ocean breezes; good sun makes for a good place to live and grow things. It’s so well protected that I’m getting pretty darn warm.
The ranches get smaller and hillier as we proceed up the valley. Finally we get near the end where there is a canyon full of redwoods that is now an open space preserve called Purissima Redwoods. Next portal!
Done with our coffeeneuring, the next phase was to go up and over the ridge to the next valley to complete the loop back to Half Moon Bay. Next portal! Out of the shade of the redwood canyon to the bright hot sun of the road.
Last portal: Crossing the crest then zipping through the countryside on the other side back to Half Moon Bay.
No photos of the way down the next two miles because I was braking for dear life. Deep curves and steep grades. Ranches and a few houses and horses. Maybe some day I’ll ride up this way and take lots of photo breaks. It was quite wonderful.
When it flattened out again after a last bend in the road, the temperature dropped and the scenery opened up. Agricultural fields appeared again right up to the city limits.
And so back to town. I packed Pokey into the car and walked around town for a while to stretch out my knees. I felt a little disoriented. There were so many different experiences in such a short distance and over the course of only a few hours. I won’t forget that cemetery, or the slow easy pace up the valley, or the peace under the redwoods, or the heat of the ride over the ridge, or how tired my braking hands were on the downhill, or how lovely it felt to have the cool ocean breezes when I got back to the flats, then riding into downtown to the brand new library again, a whole different person than the one who checked it out in the morning.