Escape Adventures offers a premium road bike tour that explores the California coast from Santa Barbara to Big Sur. Take in breath taking views while enjoying luxury inns and restaurants.
Day 1-2: Meet in Santa Barbara, upscale tourist resort college town. Then a short shuttle to Los Olivos (pop. 1138): one of a handful of small communities dotting the bucolic Santa Ynez Valley. Saddle up for a legwarmer ride, sweeping past the rich vineyards mixed with humble farmlands of the Santa Ynez. Our second stage ends at Solvang, (Danish for “sunny field”). Some 46-miles northwest of Santa Barbara, Solvang (pop. 5245) is a 107-year old Danish-Lutheran colony, replete with windmills and characteristic half-timbered Scandinavian architecture. Besides Euro-centric shops next to handsome dining spots, the area around Solvang claims many wine and olive oil tastings. Waking to the valley’s cool, embracing air, Day Two’s first stage shoots toward the coast. We stop in Los Alamos, hailed as “the coolest town in Santa Barbara County.” Picture Tuscany meets Taos: low slung, no fuss Old West stagecoach stop turned hip getaway destination. The next stage follows gorgeous back roads, a superb cyclo-touring route that swerves into Pismo Beach, a classic Central Coast community (pop 7931). Stopping at the Monarch Butterfly Grove, we take in more orange and black than the Sturgis or Laughlin Harley-Davidson runs. Walking distance from the ocean, tens of thousands of Monarch butterflies gather here in stands of Eucalyptus and Cypress. Day Two closes out with a phenomenal dinner overlooking the ocean.
Day 3-4: Day Three, surge up the ruggedly beautiful Big Sur/Central Coast, all bluffs, sea and sky: a holy trinity that blesses our ride. The area’s dramatic atmospherics, alternately bruised or golden viscous light and moody weather, not unlike Ireland’s or Scotland’s west coast drew the likes of Henry Miller, The Beats and Kerouac, finding a rich font of inspiration. Following the dotted line, we sweep toward Cambria (pop. 6000), a low-fi art colony tucked into the Pines. Passing Morro Bay, Estero Bay, as well as the Harmony Headlands State Park, our routing flows across rolling hills overflown by Giant Pelicans, not to mention a host of other sea and shorebirds. Egressing from Cambria the next morning, powered-up by great coffee and exhilarating sea air, Day Four’s first stage shoots north. Paralleling the coast—depending on season/migration—we might catch glimpse of either Grey or Blue whales in the near distance. This stage, following Route 1, is suffused with sights and Central Coast culture. At the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, we roll up to a historic 70-ft light station. Built in 1874, atop white rocks on a jutting spit of headland, we’re welcomed to Piedras Blancas by a chorus from the resident, if occasionally raucous sea lion colony. From a stop of Ragged Point village (50-miles from San Luis Obispo) on Highway 1, our group flows past broad open shoreline—rich habitat for sea otters and dolphins—broken only by inviting coves. At McWay Falls, amidst a secluded cove, we glimpse an 80-ft plume of freshwater emerge from a granite cliff, spilling onto the sandy beach below. Absorbing, interpreting and relishing all those optics we close out in Big Sur. Overnight in Big Sur Village, its seaside cliffs framed by Redwoods.
Day 5-6: The day’s opener beelines from the Big Sur coast toward Point Lobos: a broad sweep of raw coastal park with a refreshingly anti-industrial tourism/keep-it-real vibe. A made-for viewing spot, we peer out, hoping to see Grey or Blue whales, harbor seals or sea lions. After a lunch in the park, a short shuttle delivers us to Carmel by the Sea. We overnight here on the ocean. From rare and unique shops, shaped by local ocean-going culture, our early afternoon might also fit in the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, the standard bearer for viewing sea-life. A wonderfully repurposed sardine cannery, The Monterrey Aquarium is defined by soaring glass walled tanks that showcase 35,000 animals plus 550 plant species. Our closing stage transits the world-famous 17-Mile Drive. Privately managed and minimally traveled, this phenomenal cycling route follows a smooth roadbed that hugs the coastline, from Pebble Beach to Pacific Grove. Sweeping through a wind sculpted grove of Cypress trees, we take in visually arresting mansions and unique, architecturally significant dwellings. The trip culminates with a shuttle back to Santa Barbara, if not warm and hearty goodbyes.
For more information click HERE and request a detailed itinerary.