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3,617 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I just got back from my trip.
1 day early.

while this ramble is not about the Pug, that is...
its not the bike in the highlight today.
rather it is still sitting next to my futon, all clean, on display
however...I say this about the Pug.
if i hadnt spent the last year almost daily on the Pug i doubt that i could have done this ride.

I rode from my loft here in Pacific Grove, Ca. 93950
up and over HWY68 to HWY1, go south to Carmel Valley Rd and keep on goin...
turn right into Arroyo Seco and go past the pavement, onto Indians Rd.
On Indians Rd that is the "no mans land"
Continue on Indians into Ft. Hunter Liggett, turn right on Nacimiento Ferguson Rd.
climb Nacimiento and descend into Kirk Creek
now on HWY1 56miles south of Carmel Valley road
go home on HWY1.

the trip went like this...
rollin on Carmel Valley rd is mostly climb, and a long ways at that
then into Arroyo Seco, i get to the campgrounds and this guy at the toll booth, is so very much the troll under the bridge of billy goat gruff.
20$ to camp! forget it man...
im just passin thru, I want to get to Indians Rd.
ok...well that will be $5 for day use...
dude...your killing me with this...
you want to get there right?
well...its $5

Arroyo Seco campgrounds looks like a very nice place to stay. High dollar in my opinion.
at the end of the campground, which is again...more climbing
Indians Rd starts where the pavement ends.
and when they say Arroyo Seco is a definately is.
it could have easily been a scene from Kings Canyon
at less than 2000ft the terrain is hard, the rocks jagged, and the drop to the river is probably at least 500ft. straight down

its late in the after noon, im spinning the pedals, and looking for water to filter.
im anticipating less than 20 miles of unknown terrain, and lack of water, plus a night of camping, a meal, coffee or tea, etc. i need water.

I find a trail that drops into the gorge and decide i better take the opportunity. its a bit of a drop, very steep. as i've ridden every last inch possible, i've got to climb another 1/4mile to the water. at this point i had definately thought about simply just camping at this spot. especially since it had been about 6hrs of effort up to that point. instead i opt to keep going.

as i get back onto the dirt road, and get ready to climb, i hear a persons voice...
a guy, whom im thinking is the ranger, or other authority, is walking up to me, with a light backpack, and a knife on his hip. its looking about 10". crew cut hair cut, and hoofin it at a pretty quick clip.
he hikes as fast or faster than i can climb. the road is quickly turning into double track, and often just single track, the light is dropping, the temp is doin the same.
this guy is not given me a break...
we continue...
up and up and up
he keeps making strange coments...
he's not a happy guy
mostly disgruntled
a special ed teacher, and he rants and rants about politics, etc...
every so often he checks his knife, and likes me to be infront...
im uneasy...
but dont show it...
as im telling him i work at the hospital...
i was in the Army, etc...
he starts to show some respect for me...
i never really tell him my exact plans...where im going, etc.
its now dark, and we keep on with the climbing...
im wondering how long this will keep on
suddenly he says that he'll be turning around in about 10 minutes, and does!
I keep on for 1.5hrs of climbing just to ease my mind...
i find a level spot in a saddle that has an eastern esposure to the left(ish)
im at about 2300ft or so
the whole time i've been climbing with a single LED backpacking light
cycling it off and on every so often
the moon is 1/2 full, enough of a purple light to cast a shadow
i sit and listen....nothing
i pitch camp.
10hrs effort for the day.

in the am i wake up to daylight wanting to break
frost on the panniers and tent...
the sun crests, and the temp drops 8degrees so i crawl back in my tent and bag, opting to wait for Mr. Sunshine to make the day.
by 10am im rolling.
more climbing...
climb, climb, climb
Indians Rd, is nothing of a road.
a fire road washed out for 10yrs now...its double track at times, and has a bunch of landslides. One in particular, i had thought to remove the panniers and portage my kit in pieces. suddenly i laff at myself with the thought/picture of me in the Ventana Wilderness scrambling across a landslide with 4 panniers in hand. Suitcases!

the trip along Indians was a highlight for sure! Beautiful God's Country! i stopped to snap off lots of pics.
Once i got to Indians Ranger Station, not a soul was to be found...nothing but desolation
it seemed as tho i had the whole of the Ventana Wilderness to myself. the only way a person could be out there was to hike the route i took, or to hike from Big Sur, or The Los Padres Dam area. either way...i really doubt anyone was out there.

From Indians Station into Ft. Hunter Liggett
on post the miles just droned i could hear a warbird over head
mile after mile...of perfectly smooth pave
the valley(s) are beautiful. Oak trees everywhere. the sound of acorns falling sounds of a crackling. like a fire. but instead, the trees are litterally raining acorns!
i take a break at 3pm once im onto Nacimiento Ferguson Rd. its 5hrs of effort at this point.
Acorns are EVERY WHERE! not little ones either. they are the size of your entire thumb if not bigger. 5 acorns split open, shelled, leaves you with a handful of acorn meal. almost a veggie burger worth! i can only imagine how many of thousands of tons are out there. its no wonder that Ohlone lived here for thousands of years. I wish i could at that moment!

Climbing Nacimiento Ferguson the day is fading, the temp is dropping, i've been sweaty all day, clothes are damp, im adding layers, and its up, up, up. not the steep up of mountian biking, but instead, 15-30ft/min for 3hrs. Once i stopped to filter some water, the night was real close, so it was back to my LED backpacking light strapped to my helmet.
darkness came quick, as i was climbing the east side of a ridge. left in shadow long time ago.
wild life runs infront of me, stops on the road, puffs up, and darts off
bob cats
and countless small things that seem to scurry under pedal
at the summit its 6pm on Holloween :)
looking west at the vast open expanse...
1/2 moon
the world is purple
the road is mostly exposed
no more shade trees
no more forest
instad grass lands, rocky hillsides
purple moonlight guides the way
while coastal fog strikes out in bright silver!
Nacimiento summit is about 3-4000ft elevation
Cone peak is to the right. From sea level to the top of Cone Peak @ 5100ft its the steepest gradient in the Continental US.

descending Nacimiento under moon light is the most sublime, most surreal experience I've ever had. rolling along on the bike, like in a dream, all the details washed away, only the silver fog laying below, the feel of the bike beneath, modulating the brakes, while the heat is felt thru my shins. only to cycle the LED light off and on thru the darkest of forested draws and turns.
into the fog layer, everything is now bright silver, a light drizzle, the taste of salt in the air, when suddenly i pass thru, and sparkles of light flicker below, bon fires at Kirk Creek, a lone car or two on HWY1 in the distance moving slow...
suddenly i reflect on the past 2 days effort, my life, how it is that i've come to this point, all the racing, the military, the discipline, and yet the ability to let it all go, and to simply observe, take in, the moment.
this moment...
im consumed in awe, gods grace, my luck, the blessing of this moment, the experience...i break down...and emotional flood while still descending, the details of road under my pedals and before me washed away, only the details of flickering bon fires guide my general direction.
a 45min descent under moon light...
sublime for sure, awestruck...

At Kirk Creek i spend Holloween, pitch camp, a racoon comes by...
trick or treat
i toss it a few scraps
ask it to now leave...
upon its time for tricks, gone are the treats...
i toss a small rock, then a throw, now to aim, and it runs away...
again with a return, and now its the sling shot...not to harm, or mame, but to get the point across...
as the moon is so bright, i can still make out its shadow when its 30ft

the sun breaks...
the dew bakes way
im on the road at 10am
Kirk Creek to Pacific Grove is my objective.
about 60 miles.
i stop along the way to shoot a few pics

outside of Big Sur, just past the lighthouse
i round a corner as people are scurrying from their cars...
a crash
mass confussion...
i start barking out orders...
a guy just stands there in shock with his cell phone in hand
i tell him to call 911
"where are we", he yells out
me: "5 miles north of Big Sur just past the lighthouse on HWY1"
everyone is out of their cars but one...

i say my prayers
thank god for my days

i get back into town and its been dark for awhile now
stop at Trader Joes for ice cream and coffee
the scene is BRIGHT and ALIVE
people stare at me
i smile
salt trails streak my stained black cycling clothing
im faded
im tired...
im euphoric
3 days
2 sleeps
and i have no idea how many miles
how much climbing, etc.

i get home and its just prior to 7pm.
10am 10/30 to 7pm 11/1
3 days
2 sleeps


enjoy the pics

bicycle rider
2,718 Posts
SelfPropelledDevo said:
I used to live down in Pacific Grove, on Pine, about 15 years ago. I'd heard from a friend that Jonathan Boyer used to do a 164-mile training loop, and a few friends and I decided to copy it. The story was that no one else had been able to do it in a day. We rode from Carmel to hwy 1, south to Ferguson Rd, (?) up and over into Hunter-Liggett (man that was HOT!) through Arroyo Seco to Carmel Valley Rd to Carmel. It was a rough day, but a beautiful ride. This was on road bikes. I think it took us around 10 hours with stops.

I miss the riding down there.


Slowest Rider
5,237 Posts
Super Ride, Super Post!

I pulled out my maps and followed along your route description. From your pics and the maps, it looks like a sweet big section of remote mid-CA.

I used a ruler on my maps and got at least 150 miles. I see MorganFletcher says 164. If you're really interested, I could draw a track and get the total climb from my National Geographic software. I might just do it for my personal reference - in case I want to do that route myself some day.

I'd love to ride a route just like that. Just take a few days and ride all over a remote area. You need more of a hard tail and panniers, like I have on my commuter bike.

Thanks for the post and passion. Coooool... :cool:
3,617 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
so now, knowin what i'm knowin, i'm eyen a Salsa El Mariachi, w/rigid fork
the Old Man Mountain racks with panniers
but instead thinking of maybe using a "ultimate lowrider" front rack

maybe that will be a new winter build/project
and one of those wacky on-one Midge bars, or whatever they are
im really courious
also im thinkin of usin my Mavic Speedcity wheelset with 28c road tyres, and just swap to a set of CX tyres when needed.

oh...check out these knarly pics of the tyre i was usin
a set of Maxxis Hookworm
it started to blister, and separate
it occured way back on Indians rd
in the am at Kirk Creek the tyre was flat, it was on the rear
so i rotated them, putting the weak tyre up front
with less stress
limped home....60miles
pump the tyre every so often

in the pics you can see the obvious blistering, and the side wall is showing a crack, that is...what i believe to be the casing separating.


439 Posts
Thank you

Great post. The Indians is my home turf - we had a cabin there when I was growing up and I spent my weekends swimming, exploring, backpacking fishing and hunting around there. God's country is the truth. I have pictures of the area in my cube as I write this.

Thanks for sharing and for the memories. Have to do that ride someday.


Fireball in the Night
1,624 Posts
Really stoked after reading the details of your trip.
It's a rare combination that an individual can expertly cycle, write, and master the camera with xlnt use of foreground, mid, and background in the images.
You took us there, S.P.D.

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