Monterey to San Francisco Ride

Having a spring break at my current school sites allows me to push myself physically and mentally with my bike adventures! Having accomplished the Monterey to Morro Bay ride last year, it only seemed fair to head North along the stunning and daring highway uno! My plan was for three days of riding but I made it in two thanks to a very generous tailwind on day two!

Day One: Monterey to Santa Cruz!! 50 miles of artichoke and strawberry fields bordering  a gorgeous coastline! I had done this ride before in the opposite direction, so it was nice to be familiar with the agricultural backroads that can be a bit confusing.  You always feel a bit out of place with the tractors and trucks rightfully using these potholed paths to tend to their produce! Luckily no other cars dare to bounce along these roads making it easy for trucks to give you ample space when passing.


There are about three miles when you have no other choice but to brave highway 1. There are almost always a lot of cars out here and I really couldn’t stand it so I actually rode in the opposite direction. This is a big no-no for cyclist, but given my late start I didn’t see any other bikers and decided it was worth the risk.  I felt more confident being able to analyze if each driver was paying attention to me and the road. I definitely want to invest in one of those dorky mirrors to attach to my glasses.

After the three miles were up I was blissfully bobbing along again on the backroads! I

had finally mentally processed through all of my work related thoughts and was able to start a true mental spring break! I daydreamed while rocking out to my favorite Bebe Pandora station and before long found myself in Aptos.
After 4 hours of isolated riding, I was in for a shock by the immediate social interaction by the other coffee customers. One lady said that we were now friends because we had
shared a laugh together!

After being recharged I continued along the side roads
to Santa Cruz where I tried to blend in with the local hipster bikers that clearly knew the best route into central Santa Cruz.  I fi
ally made it to Bobby and Amy’s charming home for a grand total of 50 miles! 

I had quite a headache from the constant sun beating down on my black helmet, but nothing an ad
vil and good meal couldn’t fix!


Having almost all backroads and bike paths on this Monterey to Santa Cruz bike route makes this ride very enjoyable in both directions!


Day two. My initial plan was to make the 48 mile ride to Half Moon Bay. But, Amy and Bobby must have given me some good luck with the wind as I had a very strong tailwind the entire way, which made this ride much easier than day 1. Plus staying on highway 1 the entire time (with not many cars) made for a very fast and smooth ride. There were only a couple of memorable climbs that reminded me of the physical challenge I was embarking upon.  I had left a bit before 9 and arrived to HMB at 1pm.

After a full lunch, I decided that I would continue on to see how far I could get. There weren’t too many hills to start, so it wasn’t long before I was passing the Pacifica bowling alley! I learned quickly that I had to find some backroads once I got to Pacifica, which brought me to the breathtaking pier and black sand beaches!


Just after snapping these photos, I started to see signs for an actual bike route, which led me to the hardest climb of the day: Skyline Drive! This usually wouldn’t have been too challenging, but being the end of the ride, every stop sign became a couple minutes of resting. The local residents gave me looks of pity! If only they knew just how long I had been biking. 🙂

After this hill, I took some time to create a plan to get home to Monterey. I was debating between catching the CalTrain to San Jose or taking the bart to the airport and trying the Monterey airbus. I had decided on CalTrain, but after only a mile through the San Francisco State University Campus, I realized that I was much closer to a bart station. Then, it started to rain which made my decision much easier. I jumped on the first bart to the airport and upon researching I realized that I would arrive just minutes before the Monterey Airbus. I had originally called the Monterey Airbus before I started my trip and the operator said that they absolutely don’t accept bikes unless they were in a bike box, but I decided to take my chances and quickly grabbed some extra cash from an ATM to tip the scales in my favor. The driver was extremely nice and he said that as long as I take off my front tire, he could squeeze us both in!  I tipped him kindly for the favor and sunk into what felt like the most comfortable seats ever!

My timing couldn’t have been better with the bart and airbus, so I was even home in time for a beer and burger at Alvarado brewery with some friends!

I haven’t been biking much lately, so I’m very impressed that I was able to push myself to bike 72 miles along a fairly challenging coastal ride. And, I must say that the tailwind and shade from the clouds contributed to my success!


School Choice Bus Dilemma 

With our soon to be Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, we are embarking upon the school choice journey. In theory I agree with providing parents with a variety of school options. In practice this becomes quite a challenge as diligently described in this U.S.News article. 

School busing will likely increase to meet these parent choices, which is where transportation safety comes to mind. The New York Times highlights the 2011 research study by the National Education Association showing that an average of two bullying incidents happen on every commute. The article also offers a series of possible safety measures (varying greatly in price) including: 

  • Bus attendants.
  • Cameras on buses.
  • More options for the driver to pull over to address bullying behaviors.
  • School staff to offer more student bus entry/exit support.
  • Bus orientations for students, parents, and drivers. 
  • Bus buddies.
  • Student seating request systems (so students can more easily ask to sit closer to the driver).

Read the article here. As we embark upon this school choice journey I hope that our new administration can include measures to ensure equity and safety for all.

Elementary Videos on Bullying

Videos can be a powerful tool to learn about bullying and upstander responses. I’m especially impressed with the videos put together by, the federal website to dedicated to bullying prevention. Did you know that the DOE, HHS, CDC, HRSA, SAMHSA, and DOJ are part of the editorial board for this website (Kuddos if you know what each of these acronyms stand for!). As Melania Trump vows to address bullying, I hope she can acknowledge and build upon the current work of these government agencies. See the videos here.


Play Therapy Resource


If you are interested in play therapy, I highly recommend this book. It has several specific activities for storytelling, expressive arts, games, puppet play, toy activities, etc. I recently tried the rosebush activity on page 11 with an individual client, age 8.  The activity went very well and provided us both with further insight and a piece of artwork that we have referred back to in other sessions. Enjoy!

Cab ride…

Thanks to my wonderful professor, we were asked to read this story for my school counseling course. What a great reminder for all of us to keep an open-mind and an open-heart…

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget by Kent Nerburn

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice.

I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a
portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and
intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and
took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I said.
“You have to make a living,” she answered.
“There are other passengers.”
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the
sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of
that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was
impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re
conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often
catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.