There comes a point in life where we have to get over the fear of doing things alone. I think I have reached that point. I have always been an introvert who gets herself into extrovert situations. So, in 2020 when the World shut down and gathering was no longer a safe option. I found it liberating. I didn't have to make excuses anymore for not going out or just wanting to hang with one or two people versus large groups. Although there were definitely moments during 2020 where I wished life wasn't shut down (I was not able to travel to England as planned), all in all, I don't feel that I was as affected by the shutdown as some more social individuals.
Until this year, I had rarely traveled anywhere on my own. Meaning, no Maverick and/or no Mum. I have done a few trips where I have met up with people, but rarely had I been completely alone.
I will be starting a new chapter of my life this month, leaving the job where I have been working for 7 years and starting a new job in a relatively different field. What better way to end one chapter and start another than by taking some "me" time in the place I am most comfortable doing things alone, the Monterey Bay Coast.
"What about Maverick!?" Don't worry, Maverick is probably having the best time of his life right now at Day Camp. The kid is a social butterfly!
See FAQ's page for more information on what Maverick gets up to during my solo travels.
Utilizing my Expedia Reward points for a free hotel (Citi Bank Expedia Card), I set out at 6 am this morning to begin my solo "self-care" adventure. I recently became the proud owner of a small SUV, with the intent that this would be Maverick and my adventure wagon! We can fit all our adventure gear into it and if we needed, could sleep in the back! (my Mum is the one that pointed this out!) Before I left for this trip, I finally purchased (used-like new on Amazon!) a bike rack. I can now take my mountain bike with me! I was so excited as my plan for this trip was to bike as much as possible.
Starting with 17- Mile Drive at Pebble Beach
Anyone that knows me well, knows that I am a huge bookworm. One of the best parts of solo travel for me is the ability to put on my most recent audiobook and drive to my destination. On this trip, I am listening to, "I am still alive." by Kate Alice Marshell.
Follow me on Goodreads to see what books I am currently reading, want to read, or have read in the past.
I left at 5:50 am this morning. As I drive through Pacheco Pass just West of Los Banos and Santa Nella, I am saddened by the emptiness that is the San Luis Reservoir. I have never seen it so low. It is a shocking reminder of the drought conditions that our state currently faces in the Valley. I decide to at Casa de Fruta to use the toilets and grab some chocolate banana chips.
Casa de Fruta is a fun resting point to stretch your legs and purchase some great fruits and nuts. If you have children, this is also a great place for entertainment. Ride the carousel or train and see the peacocks roaming freely. For adults, there is a wine tasting room and restaurant!
By 9:03 am, I made it to the Pacific Grove Gate of 17-Mile Drive near Asilomar. If you are planning to drive through 17-Mile Drive, you will need to pay the $10.25 entry fee. However, there are a number of ways to see Pebble Beach and all the destinations along 17-Mile Drive for free.
Walking or cycling into 17-Mile Drive is free. Please note, motorcycles are not permitted on17-Mile Drive, and cyclists must stay on the paved roads.
Making a purchase of $35 or more at the Pebble Beach store will get your entry fee reimbursed.
Booking a stay at one of the amazing accommodations will include free entry
Reserve a Tee time at any of the golf courses and obtain free entry.
As I mentioned earlier. My plan is to cycle. I unhitch my bike, check my gear, and head toward the gate. It was definitely chilly weather with a delicate misty fog coming off the ocean. Right as I enter, I see a buck on the side of the road. He stands so still as I roll by to the first point of interest Spanish Bay.
Tip: Not interested in cycling 17-Mile Drive. No worries. You can walk to Spanish Bay as well as the other tourist spots via the Spanish Bay boardwalk trail. Here is the trail map (https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/spanish-bay-trail--2)
Tip: If you are not an experienced rider or you would have difficulty with strenuous terrain, you may consider ending your bike tour at Point Joe. The bike lane ends here, and the shoulder for riders becomes narrow. This is also when elevation gain gets tricky.
Finishing up Spanish Bay, I move on toward Bird Rock and Seal Rock. As I approached Bird Rock, the barks of the California Sea Lions could be heard over the crashing roar of the ocean waves. I pull my bike over at the parking lot for Bird Rock and grab my binoculars from my pack. I quickly discover where the sounds are coming from; Hundreds of California Sea Lions have ascended to the peak of the rock. Since 1930: when the pelican and cormorant guano was harvested for fertilizer providing a clean surface for wildlife, the sea lions have made Bird rock their home for sunbathing.
Fact: "During the breeding season, male California sea lions bark incessantly when establishing territories. once established, the males bark only when maintaining and defending their territories. During periods of nonbreeding, submissive males become more vocal than dominant males. " For more information on the California Sea Lion, check out this link!
I continue on passing through Fanshell Beach, Cypress Point, and Crocker Grove and pull over to take in the most recognized "icon" of the Pebble Beach area; The Lone Cypress. This single Cypress tree has withstood the elements for over 250 years and has by the trademark logo for the Pebble Beach Company since 1919.
I finally make it to the Lodge at Pebble Beach and the world-famous golf link of the same name.
Parking my bike at the Visitor Center, I grab a sandwich and diet coke at The Pebble Beach Market next door. Time to refuel!
Tips: The bike rack is located to the far left side of the Visitor Center. I completely missed it upon arrival and had to ask inside for its location. If you plan to bring your own food for meals, or if you grab a quick snack at The Market, check out the picnic area located behind the store for a quiet lovely view of the ocean while you eat.
Once I finished eating, I explored the Shops and scenery at The Lodge. As I made my way to the Oceanview side of the building, at the 18th hole, I joined the walking path that follows the golf links. I slowly made my way toward Stillwater Cove. It was hard to contain my excitement as the little pier in front of the Beach Club came into view. This was something I had not seen before. A new discovery! After taking in the view from the end of the pier, I made my way back to my bike and headed out.
Since this was my first cycling adventure since I was a child, I opted to take the quickest route (Stevenson Dr) back to my car versus completing the rest of the 17- Mile drive tour. This may have been a bad idea in the end, as the elevation gain on this route was almost 300 ft. Although this route took me up and through the center of Pebble Beach away from the oceanfront, I got to see more of the homes. Some of which were shockingly average compared to the million-dollar homes I was used to seeing on 17-Mile Dr. I huffed it the 6 miles from The Lodge to my car and loaded up. I ate some trail mix, once again feeling that I needed to refuel after the ride.
I would definitely cycle 17 - Mile Drive again and would recommend this way of seeing Pebble Beach over driving. Not only is it a great and beautiful workout, but you get to appreciate more of the natural surroundings and sights.
Tip: Don't own a bike. Rent one from the Lover's Point - Adventures by the Sea location. $25.00 gets you a half-day rental.