Monterey for Noobs? Please Help!
My wife and I will be in Monterey this weekend sans kids. In looking through the Trail Reviews, there seems to be only a review for "Sea Otter" which most of us know to be Fort Ord (http://www.morcamtb.org/trails/).
While I've ridden Fort Ord a few times, I know it to be mostly beginner friendly if you're willing to endure some crazy climbs. I love the fast flowing singletrack intermingled with the rolling hills but my wife is a beginner and I don't know the park well enough to pick out a 10-mile moderate loop.
I'm also not married to Fort Ord. If someone knew of MTB-legal shore-side trails to the south of Monterey or Carmel, I'm open to suggestions. I think that flat but scenic will win over real mountain biking but I've no interest in the Monterey paved bike path.
Check this link on the MORCA site for Ft. Ord Trail info. There is a Saturday 9AM group ride that leaves out of the Creekside entrance to Ft. Ord near Hwy 68 and Reservation Rd but the 8th and Giggling (Marina) area would be nicer for a less experienced rider. There are usually a number of people there riding on Saturday mornings.
I am dragging the GF along on a ride from Creakside Terrace on Saturday. Don't know what time....may try to make it there for the 9am group ride time and may ride our own (hers that is) pace depending on who shows up. I have had her out there twice now. First time was 10 miles. Second time was 12. Will probably do 12 or so again.
That side is a bit tougher climb wise, but easier to find your way around on a map compared to starting from 8th and Gigling.
I usually like to take the trail right out of the parking lot (not the horse parking area) which I think is 30. The trail corsses a paved road, goes up what may be "Sandy Ridge Rd" and then take whatever singletrack I can find off that road. I think 25 may be one of them. End up back on Sandy Ridge road, again looking for well traveld single track options off of sandy ridge road (fire road of sorts is what sandy ridge road is). Main goal for me is to maximize single track and hit 38/39 ( which starts off of Engineer Canyon Rd, so getting to this point I usually use 27 or 28) over to 78 and 75. You'll pop out from 78 or 75 onto Jacks road and right across should be the end of the three sisters...though I don't think it is marked. You'll see it though...kind of a short steep fire road climb. Once you get to the top of that hill..there are options. Tech option is to go to red rock off to the right (which is trail 42). Other option is to stay on the three sisters fire road until you see 41 on your left.
Head down 41 (goat trail and almost a must do if you are riding from Creekside) in the general direction back to the parking lot. If you see a fork about half way down goat...don't go left. Left takes you to a paved road (Jack's Road). Right you stay on the trail..and head to the best parts of 41 after a short little climb. Head left on the dirt road at the end and hit 72 on your right. From 72, if you see a fork on the left...follow it in favor of single track vs fire road. Once the single track climb spits you out on little knoll, you have two choices. Left and up (hike a bike at the very top, but short) or right down 31 to the parking lot. If you do the hike a bike up to Sandy ridge road...you can come back down the way I start off the ride and it is a much more fun decent than 31. But it is more riding.
Distances...if you take the climb out of the parking lot (option is to go up the paved road until you see Sandy Ridge road on your left and go up on dirt from there)...get to 3 sisters and stay on it until 41, then 41 and back to the parking lot via 31...that is about 10 miles. If you do red rock (42 you can come back up either 43 or 44 (44 is called outhouse, 43 is called ewok) and then go left instead of taking 31 near the end...it will be more like 12 miles, but more fun.
And a map link:
It's great for pub-crawl purposes, and romantic at night.
Originally Posted by Dan'ger
Yep, I second that.
Originally Posted by Fast Eddy
I may not have the best of everything, but I have the best everything that matters.
the bike path can be a great beginner road ride when connected with a loop around 17-mile drive / Pebble Beach.
I've taken my wife out to Ord via 8th and Giggling twice and she loved it. In my opinion it's a very good place to introduce a beginner to singletrack riding. She's ridden a mtb probably about 10 times in her life, Saratoga Gap and Bolinas Ridge are the most difficult rides she's done if that's any guage. Also, what's good about the 8th and Giggling side is that if you have any sense of direction you can use the paved road(s) as a marker to avoid getting lost. Just park, explore and keep the road on your right (or left).
I have seen a couple rider photos of Andrew Molera SP south of Carmel in Dirt Rag magazine. I don't know much about the trails there though.
I lived in Monterey for about 3 years and I got other(food and drinks) rec's if you want them.
I saw that and it's right near where we're staying but wifey has no road bike. The closest thing she has to a roadie is a 26" rigid CX with a flat bar - perfect for paved path and smooth fire roads.
Originally Posted by grrrah
We've done the Monterey Scenic bike path in the past with my older kids and while it's fun (if you're into that sort of thing and not that there's anything wrong with that) I was hoping there might be something like the Marin Headlands but near Monterey. Barring that, Fort Ord is probably the ticket.
Thanks! I am certainly interested in your food/drink reccomendations. We're going to be staying on Munras so recommendations within walking distance are especially appreciated.
Originally Posted by Carl Hungus
It seems like Andrew Molera SP, as with most SPs has no map on line. They probably want to sell you a map at the kiosk. From the looks of the Google Map overview of the area, there may be Pacific views from the trails at A.M. I'll have to check Motion Based for tracks.
Here's a nice beginner loop ~10 miles that we've taken people on. No super steep or long climbs, pretty much just mellow rolling single track. As for the trail names, I have no idea.
That looks like it might be the ticket. Do you have a .GPX that I can download into my GPS so we don't get lost?
Originally Posted by bdamschen
dan, i've never ridden down there other than ord, but if you are looking for a great restaurant try tarpy's road house....we go there every time we're in the area. it's out near the airport so it's pretty convenient to just about anywhere in monterey. great place for a wedding or bar mitzvah reception too!! have fun down there...
This place has a good beer selection and other stuff and is not to far off the coast trail.
You'll probably want to check out the Wharf and Cannery Row but I would avoid eating down there. Almost everything is a tourist trap and overpriced. Tarpy's is good if you're looking to splurge but it's not really in Monterey. For pub type food(burgers and sandwiches) I like "The Bulldog" on Lighthouse in Monterey. You're wife may dig "Hula's" which is kinda "whitey-hawaiian" food across the street. As far as bars go, Crown and Anchor in Old Monterey is cool. Brittania Arms and the Mucky Duck kinda turn into meat markets later in the evening but are decent during the day. A hidden gem, if you like middle-eastern food, is Tabouli Cafe on Lighthouse. Massive sandwiches at Compagno's on Prescott up near Highway 68. Have fun!
Yeah, been there and done that with the food on Cannery Row and Wharf. I'm thankful to have suggestions away from there. We may hit the wharf if we decide to go fishing for a few hours on a boat but otherwise there's no appeal to us. We've done some whale-watching out of there before and we had a good time. If you taste all of the chowder along the way, you probably don't need to stop to eat.
Originally Posted by Carl Hungus
I'm not sure how much we'll go out of our way for "whitey-hawaiian" considering we were in Oahu a few months ago. Between the food we've had there and on Maui, there's no going back to whitey. We do like middle-eastern food, considering wifey's a Sabra.
Gianni's Pizza on Lighthouse is great. First Awakenings in the American Tin Cannery building is a fantastic breakfast spot. If you make it into Pacific Grove, basically any of the restaurants on Lighthouse are good.
Thanks to all for your recommendations! We ended up riding both 8th & Gigling and the bike path on subsequent days. It was a beautiful weekend.
I took the restaurant suggestions and put them in our GPS as waypoints. I weighed proximity to be as much a reason to go as the direct suggestion from you all.
After riding at Ft. Ord, we stopped off at Tarpy's. It was the closest suggestion and we were hungry - although not hungry enough for entrees. We settled on a split of Morgan Chardonnay and a couple of appetizers. The fried artichoke hearts were excellent. They also had fried Monterey Bay Squid. I think they steered away from calling it calamari as it was far from rubbery rings. These were moist morsels served with a light lime dressing on the side. I'm not sure we'll ever be able to eat "calamari" again.
From there, we checked into Casa Munras. We got a weekend deal through Travelzoo. It's a nice hotel with spa and restaurant, Esteban's. Yes, complete with cheesy Spanish guitarist. Food was good, service was weird.
We made the mistake of accepting a room over the pool but not for the usual reasons. The other patrons respected the pool's closing time of 9pm but the pool maintenance guy showed up at 7:30am on Sunday waking us up. I complained at check-out and we were given a partial refund.
Since we were up early, we rode to the Ol'Factory. What a neat joint. My coffee was OK, wifey's Latte was "the best she'd ever had" but wished that it had been served in a mug instead of a pint glass. We also had a couple of their breakfast dishes and we were both pleased. On top of that, they give a 10% zero-carbon discount for showing up on a bike or by foot.
From there, we rode back to the Casa stopping for a couple of pictures along the way.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dan-ger/2794549273/" title="20080824 Monterey Bike Path 010 by Dan'ger, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3234/2794549273_cb61dd6641.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="20080824 Monterey Bike Path 010" /></a>
After checking out, we had some time to kill before our spa treatments so we decided to head up to Lighthouse to find some lunch, shop for gifts and otherwise kill some time. Tabouli is closed on Sundays and wifey is on a low-carb diet. We decided to check out Persian Grill since it was open and likely that we could find food to fit our desires. It was good and prices were reasonable. We have had better Persian food at wifey's favorite restaurant, Bijan, but it was good and hit the spot.
The spa treatments were relaxing and soothing...of course this didn't last long since traffic between Monterey and East Bay sucked donkey balls. But, we did get back in time to enjoy quality time with the kids before putting them to bed.