Monday, March 31, 2014

Monterey, Santa Cruz, and New Bikes



Yes, on Friday, just three days after getting our bikes stolen I found a used one from a local individual, who was kind enough to bring it out to Laguna Seca for us to look at.

The frame is a bit smaller than my old bike, which is great because I’m not quite as close to the top tube when standing over the bike. I made some minor adjustments to the handlebars and seat and it feels just like the other, which I really liked.

Meet the new bike, same as the old bike, a Giant Anthem 29er.


That afternoon we went to Monterey for lunch at El Cantaro, a completely vegan Mexican restaurant. Our grilled pineapple and black bean burrito was really good.

We then took a walk on the waterfront, passing by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, along Cannery Row, and on to the municipal wharf, the highlight of our walk.



Several people told us we should not miss the aquarium, and I’m sure it’s a great attraction, but we’ve been to many others over the years and just don’t enjoy crowded touristy places like that anymore. There were busloads of kids all around when we walked by so we knew it was a good decision to skip it.

Cannery Row was quite disappointing, although we had heard it was very touristy so we knew what to expect. In fact we didn’t take any other photos. It’s just a typical street with souvenir shops, hotels, and restaurants. Sadly there is even a John Steinbeck Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum. He’s got to be rolling over in his grave, as they say. At least the city put up quite a few placards talking about the history of the sardine canneries along the waterfront, which were interesting to read.


The free live entertainment at the wharf was the best. This was the closest we’ve gotten to the California sea lions, a very vocal group, and much more active than the harbor seals we’ve seen.




Don’t try this at home.





Rain was predicted for Saturday, but before it started we took a walk around the track where there was SCCA racing. Those cars are loud!


Jim made some phone calls to bike shops and found a bike he wanted to look at in Santa Cruz, 45 miles away. A similar used one was also being sold by an individual in LA that would ship, but he wanted to look at it and check the fit. So off to Santa Cruz we went, in the rain. Just so happened the one at the bike shop was a demo, and they had reduced the price by $1,000, close to the price of the used one. The rain stopped just long enough for Jim to take a test ride, and he ended up buying it.

He hasn’t taken pictures yet but it’s a Giant Trance. After looking at lots of other bikes, we are both impressed with Giant. And we actually got to ride abut a 7 mile loop yesterday. The Fort Ord trails accessed from the Laguna Seca campground are great, although there is a lot of hill climbing. Of course that means lots of downhill, too. Fun!

Now after watching videos on how easy it is to cut bike locks, we have a couple new U locks along with the heavy chain we already had. Jim is still working on other ideas. If someone really wants the bikes they will find a way to get them, but we’re hoping we can hang onto these a bit longer.


  1. Heading to the Santa Cruz area myself on Thursday. Staying at Sunset Beach SP. Glad you were able to get replacement bikes that you like. Craigslist is really great.

  2. $1000 off? Holy Mackerel! I had no idea the bikes were that expensive.

  3. Nice bikes! I'm really happy you were able to find well priced replacements.

  4. Congratulations on the new bikes. Good idea about the locks.

    I love watching seals. They are so adorable.

  5. I've been behind in blogging lately and was sad to hear your new bikes were stolen....bummer but glad you found replacements. I know what you mean about 'another' aquarium.....we're kind of burned out on museums. I love watching seals....what personality!

  6. Really cool bikes! Hopefully, with the insurance coverage, your loss wasn't much more than the deductible and your time. Reading the menu of El Cantaro has made me very hungry! Your photos and comments are always very nice and helpful. Thank you.

  7. How exciting to get new bikes!! We carry our bikes inside the car. We use to have a Mitsubishi Outlander when we trailered the motorcycle. John put two bike clamps on a board. He took the front wheels off and clamped the bikes in. They stood up with the front tire attached with velcro. When we sold the motorcycle and bought the Jeep, John wanted to first make sure the bikes could ride inside. Again they fit perfectly. Will yours fit inside your car? Sure is nice to keep the weather off them, too.

    I have many of those same photos from Monterey! Aren't those sea lions and seals just the best. They are so loud and talk on constantly. I could have stayed there for hours. Riding bikes along the coast is so beautiful. Thanks for taking me back:)

    We felt the same way about the aquarium but finally broke down and made the visit. It was well worth it. I am not sure how we lucked out but there was no crowd. If we had seen school groups we would have skipped it for sure. As past educators we tend to shy away from those loud groups. Been there, done that!!

    Enjoy your new bikes!! Sure looks like you are having a wonderful time along the coast

    1. Sure wish we could fit the bikes in the car. We tow a Subaru Forester and it's just not quite big enough. The day we bought my bike we put it in the back of the Subaru with the front wheel off. It barely fit, and without realizing it we turned on the dome light with the handlebar, which killed our battery during the night.
      Guess we need to buy that used 36' Foretravel Jim wants so we could tow a heavier, bigger vehicle to keep the bikes in!

  8. Seals are yoga masters! Sounds like a couple of great deals on bikes and in short order too! Good for you.

  9. Glad to hear you got your bikes so quickly and without spending a fortune. Well done. We have hybrid treks but they aren't mountain bikey enough for me. Fabulous pictures of the seals. What fun. Sure hope we get to do that coast it looks beautiful.. Sorry to hear about Cannery Row but I can't say I'm surprised. Every place has been so commercialized. It's sad that absolutely everything is about money now.

  10. Hooray for new bikes! Gorgeous pictures. We stayed a night in Monterey at the fairgrounds. Passed on the aquarium also and just enjoyed the outdoors. Keep working your way north! If you don't think you'll make it all the way to Seattle maybe we can meet you somewhere this summer.

  11. Hooray for new bikes! Gorgeous photos also. We stayed a night in Monterey at the fairgrounds with hookups for $50! Passed on the aquarium also and just enjoyed the outdoors. Keep working your way north. If you don't make it all the way to Seattle maybe we can meet you somewhere this summer.