Coastal Ride: Days 22, 23, 24 and 25

Things that make me smile when riding:
- listening to seals bark as we hug the coast
- the smell of freshly cut wild anise (licorice) which over the last week grows rampant in some areas
- Tyler singing his version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while bouncing up and down on his bike
- finding my glove velcroed to my ass after thinking I'd lost it
- Tyler chasing after other cyclists who pass us as fast as he can trying to keep up (copying my dad)
- when a passerby cheers for me when climbing a tough hill

Day 22: Manchester KOA to Sonoma Coast Wright's Beach

Total Miles: 61.6
Total Time: 7:06:04
Average Speed: 8.67 mph
Total Elevation Gained: 8,104 ft
Total Calories: 3,140
Start Time: 7:10 am

We knew starting this ride that it would be long and hilly. What I was not prepared for was the lack of scenery along the way. So many people told us how much we would like this section-describing how pretty it was, but the thing is there were so many rentals and private roads and stupid wooden fences blocking the view for us poor people that I could barely tell we were near the ocean (except for those wonderful seals barking hello to me). It seemed that the first forty miles were like this. 

The last twenty though were fantastic (to me). Big hills offered up some big views. Gorgeous. Sometimes it felt (looked) like we were in another country, or at least not how I picture CA beaches. I had a flat (my second?, trip #9?--I'm losing count) but was able again to temporarily inflate a bit and change it once we rolled into camp. 

We were both tired arriving to the campground (and so this could easily be our imagination), but it wasn't that great and we didn't feel terribly welcome. I can't really explain why. I can say the first words by the employee at the entrance were, "you know the state parks have hiker/biker sites" to which I responded yes. Then when I asked for a map of the campground he said the map of the park wouldn't really help me. Hmmmmmmmm. Coincidentally a cyclist from Germany whom we had passed back and forth numerous times along the ride was trying to get a campsite for the night. The campsites were full though but the German guy didn't really seemed to get it. I told him to come with us and stay at our site, which he did even though communication between us was comically unclear.

Day 23: Wright's Beach to Samual P. Taylor SP

Total Miles: 47.2
Total Time: 5:34:40
Average Speed: 8.46 mph
Total Elevation Gained: 5,408 ft
Total Calories: 2,262
Start Time: 7:00 am

We tried really hard not to look forward to this ride's low elevation gains because based on our previous experiences this meant something would be hard, or weird, or just screwed up in some way otherwise. The ride ended up being really nice for a couple reasons. We had breakfast at this little restaurant called "The Dog House" that wasn't really anything big deal, but kind of cute. Throughout the ride we passed by rolling hill farmlands that reminded me of eastern WA. We rode past Tomales Bay and the Point Reyes Nature Reserve that was just beautiful. Traffic was minimal throughout the ride with just a few exceptions. 

We also finally found a winery that wasn't seven miles off our path. The Point Reyes Vineyards were about ten miles from our destination for the day. When we rode in the guy who owned the place asked if we were lost or thirsty. Since this is what Tyler always says pre-alcohol consumption, it was like kismet. We had a nice little tasting before continuing on our ride. We also passed through the town of the same name and were able to stock up on some necessities for the night (chips, salsa, wine, etc...)

The best part though might have been the bike path that took us into the campground. It was only like three miles, but it took us out of the heat and into the shade of some redwoods. It was quiet and just all together pleasant and it made us wish the whole coast had options like this. 

[Sidenote: An adorable mini chipmunk wasn't shy as he scoped out our campsite while we were enjoying our delicacies from the grocery. We didn't feed him. We don't do that. He did however take it upon himself to take advantage of the shitty "bear box" our site offered. He broke in (through the passageway he long ago made like the Alcatraz escapees who spent six months chiseling out of their cells I'm sure and chewed through my pannier pocket to help himself to my trail mix. (The deliciousness of our trail mix must have made its way down the coast from fur ball to fur ball. They can't wait to get their mitts all over it. Cute little fucker.)

Day 24: Samuel P. Taylor SP to Emily and Jimmy's (San Bruno, CA)

Total Miles: 49.7
Total Time: 5:56:37 (not completely accurate--5 miles missing in the total time)
Average Speed: 7.51 mph
Total Elevation Gained: 3,094 ft
Total Calories: 2,225 
Start Time: 6:10 am

We woke up early with the intention of getting a head start on the hustle and bustle we knew we'd face riding through San Francisco. We were excited and a bit intimidated as this was our first big city, not just a beach town or logging town. Naturally Tyler had a flat leaving camp. We weren't even a mile in. Ugh. 

Once fixed we pushed on and attempted to do it fast. PS...we're not fast. We are consistent is what I often tell myself. 

I have to say that Google really outdid itself on this ride- good and bad. After the first ten miles we moved from bike route to bike bike route to bike path to low traffic streets. Fairfax and Larkspur seemed to be built for biking. It was unreal. We spoiled ourselves further with some bagels and coffee. We kind of just wanted to hang out. But we couldn't. We had a city to conquer. 

We knew the Golden Gate Bridge would be a cluster fuck and it was, but it was also really cool. We road past Fisherman's Wharf and the Giants' Stadium and Candlestick Park and passed by about a million other people walking and touristing on rented bikes. It was madness in the best way possible. We rode alongside trolleys and these crazy little mini cars people could rent and drive on the actual streets (and people think bicycles are dangerous). I so wish I had a picture. 

We didn't escape the ride unscathed though. The last ten miles were absolutely brutal! After Google toured us through the beauty it, as it likes to do, toured us through the beasts of SF. It's one thing to ride my hog past obvious drug deals and a blatant nonchalance for societal responsibilities, but it is something else to ride through neighborhoods where the doors are gates and the windows are barred. It is definitely not comfortable. And then the wind gusts started, gusts stronger than anything we've experienced. Gusts that made my bike stop. Gusts that pushed me into parked cars. Gusts that blew my "rear view" mirror in all different directions refusing to let me see behind me. It was absolutely exhausting and our calorie expenditure is in no way reflective of our efforts to make it to Emily's.

Day 25: Break Day (SF tourist expedition)

We spent our day doing what tourists do. We started with a train ride downtown (Emily went to work) and we went to Alcatraz. Then it was a chowder bowl at Fisherman's Wharf. Then it was Ghirardelli Square for ice cream and coffee because if not now, when? Then we went to Lombard street. Then we road a cable car trolley to Emily's fancy building to check out her fancy office. Good, glutinous stuff in between a ridiculous amount of walking. 


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