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Staying in a hotel did wonders for my sleep and attitude. I decided to stay an extra day to take care of errands. It took time to get some laundry done and all my gear dry. I wanted to see if I could get my stove fixed too. I went to a couple of outdoor stores but no one had ideas for a solution to the sputtering. I ended up buying a cheaper version of the Snowpeak. This one isn't titanium and I need to use a lighter to get it started. When I get to LA I'll see about getting my old stove fixed. I've used it for 4 years and certainly got my money's worth but I think it still has some life left.

I had heard conflicting reports that the monarch butterflies might be in Santa Cruz on thier wonderous migration back to Mexico. I set out in the afternoon to find Natural Bridges state park. It was an interesting ride along the Lorenzo River bike path. The route went past Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and then the cliffs high above the ocean. There was a big surfing competition being set up with tv camera stations and bleachers. I continued onto Natural Bridges but didn't find anything about the monarchs. There was a butterfly festival a couple weeks ago but no monarchs showed for it. When I got back to the hotel I recieved a phone call from an electric recumbent bike rider inviting me to stay at her home tomorrow night. Catherine is Michael Bock's sister and one of the Green Riders who rode their electric recumbent bikes across the US earlier this year. I followed their journey and was excited to meet Catherine.

After another good night's rest I was ready to head out again. I had planned on starting at 8 am but one of the straps to my Myrtle the Turtle blanket got caught up in the chain tube. This was one of the strangest mechanical problems I've ever had. I doubt I could duplicate it. By the time I extricated the strap I was a greasy mess and it wasn't easy getting cleaned up. I finally got on the road closer to 9. Catherine and I had arranged to meet on the road at 10 and I had to call her to push the time out an hour. It turned out we calculated the miles to our rendezvous point incorrectly and I was actually there on time. But after the frustrating start to the day I was happy to stop for coffee and take a breather. Catherine found me on the road talking to a guy about the trike. It was great to meet her. Catherine typically rides in the 20 mph range. I explained that I was asking my motor to carry close to 200 pounds more than she was and that speed just wasn't going to happen. We started out and stopped when Catherine thought she saw a dead mountain lion. It turned out to be a dead deer that was probably killed by a mountain lion. I stayed by the trike while she gave me a detailed description of the gruesome remains. We continued on through Aptos and then on to little Carrolitos. We took a break in the town square and got someone to take our picture. Catherine warned me that the road to her house was a steep one and she wasn't kidding. I was huffing and puffing up the road and then the driveway was steep too. The house was beautiful and constructed of straw bale. Every detail of the house was custom and it was really impressive. She shares the house with a man who developes environmentally safe solution products. Catherine gave me a sample of some dry lube that she used for the motor across the country. It is good for the bike and motor chains. She is also a naturepath and gave me some supplements to help with blood sugar fluctuations. We made a terrific dinner and her housemates son and another friend joined us. After dinner Catherine modeled a chicken costume she plans to wear for a halloween party. We all laughed a lot and it was a very fun evening.

The trike was very wet after it rained over night. It took me a long time to dry everything off. The skies were partly cloudy and it was fairly warm when I started out. Catherine helped me plot a course out to Moss Landing. I flew back down the hill and into Carrolitos. Then into Freedom. It occurred to me this is where Easy Racer bikes are built. I thought about stopping by and if I was riding my Fold Rush I probably would have. Freedom Blvd ended at Main Street in Watsonville and I turned to the GPS for a route the rest of the way. It turned out great. All the roads either had a big shoulder or a bike lane. The route went through the Elkhorn Slough Reserve along peaceful winding roads. All in all it was a delightful ride. When I got back to the coast it started to rain lightly. I stopped for a delicious lunch at the Moss Landing cafe. When I got going again it started raining in earnest. I rode through big artichoke, beet and lettuce farms wiping the rain off my sunglasses. The road was littered with loose artichokes that had fallen off the transport trucks. Just past the huge Del Monte and Dole vegetable processing plants I found the bike path into Marina and Monterey. The rain was really coming down and the thought of camping was losing its appeal quickly. I pulled off at Marina 8 miles north of Monterey thinking the hotels would be cheaper here. It was Friday night and hotel rates are typically higher on weekends. I found a Ramada hotel and got a suite for $94. It was so wet outside I didn't even think of comparing hotel rates and got checked in. Hopefully it will be drier tomorrow.

Santa Cruz to Marina

Santa Cruz suring competition

Santa Cruz birds

Catherine modeling her chicken costume

Santa Cruz surfers

Catherine and her electric Tour Easy

Elkhorn slough

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