From the Harvest of Tourist dollars to the Harvest of Food for the Table - Steinbeck Country - CycleBlaze

April 25, 2022

From the Harvest of Tourist dollars to the Harvest of Food for the Table

Pacific Grove to Salinas

Monterey Goose Family
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Today was quite short but it puts us in position for the run up the Salinas Valley. The weather is cool in the morning, warming up to the mid to high 60’s, so we weren’t in a hurry to get out early. We woke up and leisurely wandered to the edge of downtown Pacific Grove to Toasties, our current fave breakfast spot. There I had my usual pre-ride breakfast, coffee-lots of it-and a couple of scrambled eggs. When I ordered the waitress looked at me kind of incredulously and actually said, “is that all?” Kind of rude, I thought, especially since Jim more than made up for my skimpy order with his French Toast Special with bacon and an extra order of potatoes. Anyway, the food was good and we returned to the house to pack the bikes. 

There I discovered I forgot to bring a hair comb and Jim realized he forgot his bike pack cargo net. I should be able to buy a comb easily at a drug or convenience store but Jim’s item is a little tougher to find. But without it, he has no way to carry his off-bike crocs. However it worked out since I was able to bungee his crocs onto the top of my rack. 

So we finally took off down the hill towards the bay. Pacific Grove was fully awake now and there were many locals and tourists wandering about, looking for breakfast, walking their dogs or just getting some exercise. 

We initially wound about the streets a bit to find two houses once occupied by John Steinbeck. The first one, on 11th St., is now occupied by his gran-niece, according to a neighbor who happened to be a cyclist and came over to say hello when he saw our packed and heavy steeds. The second one is an adobe structure that apparently Steinbeck coveted from the time he was a teenager and eventually bought-it is now called the Lara-Soto Adobe and it is part of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. 

We then rode slowly down the bike trail along side the Bay through Monterey, dodging tourists, an occasional “unhoused” individual, and a pair of geese with 3 adorable goslings. Eventually we left town behind and rode through the dunes of Fort Ord, now a state park. 

About 15 miles in we left the bike path and turned away from the Bay. Here, what used to be Fort Ord is now California State University Monterey. It appeared to be a fairly small campus with very nice, new facilities. 

Beyond the university the traffic picked up as we transitioned into the Salinas Valley and into working farmland. We saw fields containing artichokes, cauliflower, strawberries and some other kind of berry that we didn’t identify. Since it was close to noon, many of the farm workers were taking lunch breaks in the shade adjacent to trailers in the fields. 

Eventually we came to the outskirts of Salinas and turned away from the farm traffic into a subdivision and followed this road towards downtown Salinas. We rode right by and had hoped to eat lunch at The Steinbeck House, which is a restaurant in the house that John Steinbeck grew up in, but it is closed on Mondays, and today is Monday. So we ate lunch at Dubber’s Sports Bar in the heart of downtown Salinas. 

To me, Salinas appeared to be a nice working town. And so far, the food was decent. However, one of Jim’s law school classmates lives here and when Jim consulted her for motel and restaurant recommendations, she said there wasn’t anything good here. She said Salinas wasn’t a town people went to, that it couldn’t compete with Carmel or the Monterey peninsula and didn’t try. That it was the sort of town that people wind up in when they run out of time, or when they got tired and needed to find a motel. She suggested trying “one of the chains along the highway.” And she said she went out of town for restaurants. So with that glowing recommendation Jim booked us at a Quality Inn alongside Hwy 101. It turned out to be a typical Quality Inn, with clean but very basic rooms. The bed feels comfy and apparently there is some sort of breakfast service in the morning. All the surrounding restaurants are either fast food or Mexican-we are eating Mexican tonight and possibly for the next 2 nights as well. 

11th St. Steinbeck house, Pacific Grove
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Our trusty, heavy steeds
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Kelly IniguezI see Genny has a handlebar bag now! Tell us a little about your bikes - there's never too many bike details.
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2 months ago
Genny FoxThe handlebar bag in question is new-it is made by Po-Campo and just velcros to the bars. Doubles as a small purse and is allegedly waterproof.
Both bikes are titanium Habaneros with an eclectic assortment of components; 3X10 Shimano drivetrains; Jim is running 26” wheels; Genny loves her 650B wheels; both have 42mm Rene Herse Endurance casing Babyshoe Pass tires-we run them soft and comfy. Genny is using Arkel Drylite panniers and Jim is using Arkel Dolphin front panniers on the back. The racks are Tubus titanium versions of the classic
Logo rack that we picked up on a close-out sale.
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2 months ago
Lara-Soto Adobe
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Kelly IniguezI remember seeing that jacket way, way at the top of Cottonwood Pass!
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2 months ago
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Monterey Bay
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The Steinbeck House, Salinas, now a restaurant. Closed on Mondays:(
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Today's ride: 24 miles (39 km)
Total: 24 miles (39 km)

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