Miles Today: 51
Miles to Date: 8,775
States to Date: 25
Pedaling south along the cusp of Monterey Bay offers something for everyone. My day began with great coffee and chat with my Santa Cruz couchsurfing hosts about the state of the world. Before leaving town, I ate a healthy but pricey breakfast at Staff of Life’s community table, and then cycled side streets to avoid California 1 traffic.
Eventually I got on Alameda Road, which parallels the bay with lettuce, kale, and strawberry fields. It was strawberry harvest time, which is a labor-intensive activity. Crowds of Mexicans bent over the low plants, picked the fruit, and placed them directly into the plastic Driscoll’s containers we find in every supermarket. Perhaps the containers get rinsed somewhere along the line, but I will be extra diligent to wash them out of the box from now own.
Newly planted fields are wrapped in plastic sheathing that shimmers in the sun. Laborers walk each aisle and cut a circle in the plastic every foot or so to let the plants emerge. Additional laborers hand dig tranches along the ends of each row for irrigation. The crews are so large portable toilet trailers and taco vendors service the hardworking people.
I stopped in Watsonville for some excellent Mexican pastries. Unfortunately someone ripped my tire pump off Surly while I ate. I replaced it at the next bike shop, with one that actually works better. Still, it’s disheartening that people are compelled to damage and steal.
The southern half of Monterey Bay has a dedicated bike path that follows the dunes and runs right into town. Cannery Row has been turned into condos and restaurants, but Monterey is still full of colorful looking characters that John Steinbeck could write about with flourish.
I stayed with a group of four army officers studying non-violent methods at the Naval Institute. We ate steak and drank beer and chatted about the state of the world. There were more similarities than differences between my morning and evening hosts. Its a good omen for tomorrow when a military man states, “Non-violent action is twice as likely to succeed in it’s objective than violence.”