We feel rejuvenated after spending some time in the Bay area. I find myself in a quaint locals’ coffee shop with interesting characters, elbow room only and soul that IS this little city by the bay; San Fransisco. It happens to be the very cafe where Francis Ford Coppola wrote the manuscript the God Father (or so I am told).
It’s been a while since we’ve posted. I have to say we’ve been in a bit of a funk the last few weeks with many ups and downs. Not sure exactly what has been causing it. Perhaps a combination of being on the road, the routine of cycling, setting up camp, cooking, sleeping, cooking, taking down camp, cycling etc..
The sights have been beginning to blur even though we are on one of the most beautiful coast lines. We’ve been experiencing sensory overload combined with the busy, no shoulder Highway 1. Lately we’ve found ourselves unable to enjoy the ride and our surroundings constantly having to keep check on our rear view mirrors.
As always, the best things come out of a bad situations. We had planned a huge day. 105 km’s in a day, this would be our biggest distance in a day yet. 34 km’s into the days’ ride a heard a loud *ping* on my rear wheel as a stick ricocheted off. Stopping to check, sure enough I had broken a spoke. Luckily we were in the town of Gualala where we could pull off the road to repair it. Neither of us had ever broken a spoke before, I knew how to fix it in theory but something with the Rohloff was throwing us off, we couldn’t figure out the right placement to make it work and got frustrated. A wonderful lady (thank-you if you are reading, we didn’t even get your name) lent us her car so we could take the wheel to a local auto shop rumored to work on the odd bicycle. Unfortunately the auto shop was of no help and Mike came back empty handed, only to have a wonderful gentleman buy us a piece of homemade peanut butter cheesecake to share!
We luckily had a FiberFix spoke (something everyone should carry in their repair kit) that would get us through until we could replace it with a proper spoke.
The FiberFix is a piece of Kevlar thread that you can thread into a spoke nipple, loop it around and pull tension like a normal spoke so the wheel doesn’t go out of true until you can take the time to replace the broken spoke properly.
We still had 70 km’s to make it if we were going to get all the way to Bodega Dunes State Park but it was already 2:oo and the sun goes down at 5:00, knowing we wouldn’t make it we stopped for lunch then headed to Stillwater County Campground. The hiker biker site was less than ideal, in a small cramped space right by the highway and on top of it we had very boisterous neighbors, we were positive it was going to be a long evening…
The spoke was bothering me the whole day why I couldn’t figure it out. Taking another chance to look at it with a fresh perspective it went in easily like it was supposed to. Amazing what a new frame of mind can do … so much that to our surprise two of our camp neighbors wandered over while I was re-installing my rear wheel and extended a dinner offer ; ) First lesson: NEVER JUDGE.
We shared a wonderful meal where we were so spoiled with lasagna, chili, wine, good company and good laughs around a beautiful campfire. This group of friends come to this area every year to go Abalone fishing, the “boys’ trip” takes place monthly and had become an annual tradition. The laughter never stopped that evening and Mike and I feel so fortunate to have been taken in by these gracious souls. Thanks to Kevin, Kevin, Glen and Bentley for a wonderful time!
We were still in a funk after leaving Stillwater as we continued south down the 1. We had hoped to head into the Point Reyes National Seashore to get away from the highway for a few days. We had packed up our camp, cycle over the Olema hill (again) through Point Reyes Station and headed to the Visitor Center only to find that the Hiker/Biker we wanted to cycle into had been closed like so many of the parks in the State of California (click here for more information: Save our State Parks). However again we were met with great fortune as we had met Roger and Debbie in Tomales a few days before. Conversation started as usual over the bikes but we soon came to the realization we were kindred spirits and were invited to their home in Mill Valley before heading to San Fransisco.
Staying with Roger and Debbie was the lift we needed and a truly joyous experience. They opened their home to us and made us feel so comfortable. We were treated to a wonderful dinner with their friends, Marissa and Tim.
LtoR: Mike, Roger, Karen, Tim, Marissa and Debbie
The appetizer included local grilled Oysters from Hog Island Oysters which we has stopped at on the way to Samuel P. Taylor State Park where I learned to shuck my own oysters (Derek you’d be proud!) Mike actually enjoyed them, his first time eating oysters.
Yes I shucked my own!
While staying with Roger and Debbie we were also spoiled by getting the locals tour mountain biking in the Mt. Tamalpais area where mountain biking first originated with Roger. Debbie was sweet enough to trust me with her bike (thanks hun, I almost didn’t give it back!) and thanks for Sunshine Bicycle Center in Fairfax, CA for giving us a break on the rental, it helps soften the blow ot our budget. We had perma-grins on our faces all day. Oh how we miss mountain biking and promised we’d make this a more regular break!
Sweet single track
Perma-grins on mountain bikes
Roger and Mike looking over the valley
After staying in Mill Valley a few days we meandered through the Bay area to finally cross over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Fransisco. We were both looking forward to checking out the city and decided to spend a few days here playing tourist.
It’s been fantastic.
I think we both reached an epiphany, at least for me was hard to take at first. We truly are city people. We thrive off the vibrance and diversity that is only found within city limits.
From here we head south again and from the e-mails and conversations that have been going back and forth it looks like it will be an interesting convergence of cycle tourists over the next few weeks .. more to come.