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Hippy Dipppy in Big Sur

January 5, 2010

After touring Hearst Castle I was ready to continue north to Big Sur.  I turned right and accelerated away from San Simeon, excited to ride this section of the Cabrillo Highway (US 1). From this point on there are no heavily populated areas, just rugged coast and windswept land that often reminded me of Scotland or Ireland. It’s beautiful even when raining and foggy. I rode past Fort Liggett and past Limekiln State Park and the John Little State Preserve. The weather now was improving. The one thing you can count on along the late summer California coast is that the weather will change. The sun occasionally came out and the road started to dry and I picked up the pace. The road was an endless series of elevation changes and snaking turns. Most of these inland twists would end with a hairpin turn and a steep climb back towards the coast. I guess it had rained heavily in the last 24 hours as the road was covered with rocks, and a light coating of soil. The muck made for extremely careful riding. Several times the back end started to get loose in the corners.


Closer to my destination I rode past the Henry Miller Memorial Library – a charming absolutely hippie hangout that looked interesting. The Miller Library offers free coffee and wifi it’s worth stopping for if you need a break. Eventually I arrived in the dark at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. I’ve already trashed my experience there in my 2009 review so I won’t go over it again here. I would suggest that if you are planning on camping in Big Sur you keep riding and head for the Andrew Molera State Park which is just a bit further north. Campsites here (according to my guidebook are $9.00 rather than the $50.00 I was charged by those cannibals at Pfeiffer). Also if you are going to camp, I’d suggest trying to arrive in the daytime as you definitely need daylight to get oriented. It’s seriously dark there at night.

There are limited choices for buying food, beer and supplies in Big Sur. The State Park offers a small selection of very pricy items. I’ll pass on the $14.00 bundle of wood, thank you. The place where most people buy supplies is the Big Sur Center. This is where the post office, gas station, Big Sur Bakery and assorted food and sundries can be purchased.

My anger at the camping disaster was completely erased the next morning by a ride down to Pfeiffer Beach. This beach is the poster child of Big Sur. Just about every magazine article I’ve ever seen has featured pictures from here. You ride down to the beach along a tree covered road that is alternately dirt and pavement. After living in Vermont for several years I thought I had an appreciation for Hippie dwellings but there are several along this road that set a new hippie dippy benchmark. I can still hear the squeak of the pottery wheel and the Grateful Dead wafting from that place. Sorry, no pictures as I had my hands full with keeping the bike out of the mud. I think it’s a better mental image anyway.

The park charges $5.00 which is absolutely worth it. If it’s warm leave all your gear at the bike as you will want to spend a bunch of time here burning up megapixels. I wish I had not just completely packed the bike as I dearly wanted to change into shorts and sandals but alas, everything was packed. So if you go to the beach make sure to bring stuff to change into – you’ll thank me later. If I were to go back I’d spend the day there and have lunch. Remember to bring everything you need with you as next to a bathroom there are no services. I took more pictures here than anywhere else on the entire trip. The beach is beautiful.

Brilliant! A topless Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Now that is a seriously cool beach cruiser. I had one and had no idea the roof would even come off. www.Craigslist….. Awwwww forget it, I have too many cars now anyway.

Back in the Big Sur Center I had a fantastic breakfast at the Big Sur Bakery, wrote some post cards and used the free WIFI to check my e-mail. One thing about choosing to remove myself from the ranks of the employed is the reduction in daily calls and e-mail! Fantastic. I gassed up the Futura and pointed it north. The destination today was Napa Valley. In no particular hurry I rode slowly enjoying the now beautiful weather and the scenery.

The beach at Carmel by the Sea

Evening across the Richmond San Rafael Bridge still heading north to Napa.

Hey! I want to read more!  Start me at the beginning


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