First off, apologies to any of you who wanted to see what day 2 was like through my eyes before right now. We rode 107 miles, more or less, from Santa Cruz to King City. It was tons of fun, but, start to finish with all of the great distractions, it took me 12 hours, so I ran out of time for this.
One of the odd aspects of this ride is I realize that to give you a true sense of where we've been, I would need to consult a map. I keep trying to picture where the various towns are. We went through the Salinas Valley yesterday past large swathes of artichoke and strawberry fields. I don't think I've ever seen an artichoke plant close up. They have big, floppy branches with pointy leaves and the artichokes stick out of the tops on their stems. One of the unofficial rest stops was an artichoke stand--hundreds of riders stopped there for freshly picked, deep-fried artichoke hearts.
We also rode through Moss Landing, a central California port before heading south on Hwy 1 and then inland a bit to the Central Valley. Day 2 was really different from the first day in that very few people were around to see us. Tons of farm workers were picking crops and occasional cars or trucks went by, but that was about it, except in Salinas. Riding out of Salinas during school lunch recess, some of us rode by where they were hanging over the fences to say hi and cheer us on.
Near one school, I heard, "there are the butterflies. Look! Butterflies! I started to think the students were using an English translation of Spanish slang to comment on all of the gay men going by, but then a few riders passed me--in butterfly wings.
After Salinas, we zig-zagged our way southeast over to the Sierra foothills. The wind blowing out of the north came so hard that there were times I thought I'd get blown off of my bike. I just lean into it a little, and hang on in the hope the wheels are going to hold to the road.
One last thing I almost forgot from Santa Cruz early in the morning. I rode for a while behind a man who was on a single-speed bike with a leather seat. He's done the ride five times on that bike and said it worked fine--he was just slow. Over the next mile, I saw him gradually fade off into the distance, much faster than I will probably ever be. Speed is relative. Just when you think you're riding fast, someone else passes by going even faster.