Here is my schedule for what I can only refer to as an exceedingly planned — I’m a bit obsessive about details — bike ride down California’s Pacific Coast Highway, followed by a completely different type of ride in Flagstaff, Arizona where I’ll explore the beauty of the mountain region of the state.
Day One — September 8, 2018
My wife and I will be exploring Monterey in the morning, including Cannery Row, the world famous aquarium and all the magic the town has to offer. Later in the afternoon, it’s off to ride the majestic coastal 17-Mile Drive between Monterey and Carmel. I’ll then loop back and get a good night’s sleep in Monterey before riding south toward Big Sur on Day Two.
Day Two — September 9
Monterey to Big Sur, California
This area deserves an explanation point due to its raw, rugged beauty. Its multiple arched, concrete bridges are where Madison Avenue’s advertising creative directors often gather to shoot car and truck commercials. It’s also famous for being the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the United States. I’ll struggle climbing all the hills on this day, but I’m 100 percent sure the views at the top will be worth the effort.
Day Three — September 10
Big Sur to San Simeon, California
On to San Simeon and the famous Hearst Castle, where the Hollywood elite and wealthy huddled together during the Golden Age of the movie industry. Its Mediterranean architecture will no doubt make the trip to this part of my journey worth the effort.
Day Four — September 11
San Simeon to Avila Beach, California
Avila Beach, a town dominated by long piers and beautiful beaches, attracts tourists who love whale watching. After riding for multiple days in a row, I’m hopeful I’l be in a rhythm and the long days on my bike will be less taxing.
Day Five — September 12
Avila Beach to Solvang, California
A single glance at the town’s Danish architecture and I’ll know the area has its roots in Europe. In fact, Solvang means “sunny field” in the Danish language. I’m looking forward to a unique dinner.
Day Six — September 13
Solvang to Santa Barbara, California
My wife, who has been supporting me this week by carrying my gear in our SUV, returns to Santa Barbara where she received her undergraduate degree. No doubt the city has changed since she last walked the long, sandy beaches. Known as the American Riviera, the architecture and wealth will tell us that we’re less than 100 miles from Los Angeles.
Day Seven — September 14
On this day, we’ll say goodbye to the Pacific Coast and make the long drive to northern Arizona where my wife will attend a conference and I will explore the logging roads of the area.
Day Eight — September 15
Bike tour of rural Flagstaff, Arizona
We’ll see what the impact will be when I ride my bike in this mountainous, mostly alpine region of northern Arizona. No doubt going from sea level to 7,000 feet within 24 hours will make me dream of all the oxygen I enjoyed when I was riding along the coast earlier in the week.
Day Nine — September 16
Finally, after soaking in the beauty of all God has presented to us the past several days, we’ll make the five-hour drive to our home in southern Arizona. As wonderful as this trip has been, it will be nice to be home.