Day 27 (2)

I’m sitting in Sausalito having a sandwich, drinking a coke, and looking at the bay bridge. I made it!

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It was such a culture shock when I made it into Marin/Saualito. I was suddenly surrounded by traffic, and had a choice of bike paths, bike lanes, and signs, and I needed to know which way to ride to make it to the bridge. I was at an intersection and tried to stop about ten cyclists to ask this simple thing, but they were all headphones and heart rate monitors, and I couldn’t get a glint of recognition through their silvered wraparound sunglasses. It’s totally different from the way people were just 30 miles ago.

Day 27 (1)

I’m almost done!! You can expect one “I am really done!” post when I get there, then a couple days of silence as I get situated, washed, computer reassembled, and pictures off my camera. Probably some hanging out with local friends and huge stretches of sleep in my own bed, too.

Last night I was told that the Samuel P Taylor campground was way over capacity, and I’d have to share a regular sized campground with four other bikers. No big deal, right? Anyway, I walked into the site and said “Hi, neighbors!”, and they all smiled back (what looked like a family of four) and said “Hi! Are you familiar with the Book of Mormon?”

A few seconds of awkward smiling occurred, then they offered me a beer and we hit it off. I have heard rumors of a proselytizing Mormon family out on the touring circuit, but these folks weren’t them. We had a nice campfire, ate marshmallows, and talked for a while. That’s always a good time on these trips.

As they went off to bed I stayed up for meteors, but unfortunately a fog rolled in over the trees about 9, so I couldn’t see any stars at all. I sat by the coals of the fire and read for a while, and a raccoon snuck up on me. I guess I had been sitting very still, because I never saw it- I just heard it skittering away when I reached for my flashlight. It sounded terrified.

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This is the kind of road I spent most of yesterday riding.

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Also this.

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And I thought this was especially cool looking, at least in person. Yesterday afternoon I spent about three and a half hours in Pt Reyes Station eating burritos, drinking beer, reading, and listening to a band warm up. I’d have loved to stay and listen to them, they sounded quite good, but you can see from this picture that I was running out of daylight.

This morning I saw a fish viewing area:

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Ok…. A designated spot to look at fish.

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Apparently the Lagunitas Creek is one of the last and best places for central Californian coho salmon to spawn. I didn’t see any fish.

What may be the last food picture of my trip-

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That is a generous helping of cream cheese!

Day 26 (2)

I made it to Point Reyes Station by 3:00, and I seriously considered pushing onward for the last 30 miles to San Francisco to sleep in my own bed, but I think it will be nicer to stay up here where I will have a dark sky for the meteor shower, and not end this trip with two grueling days in a row. I’m aiming for the Samuel P Taylor state park tonight, about 10 miles from here and well under 30 from the golden gate.

This town is full of people who sent the day doing a ‘century’- 100 miles on some lightweight expensive bike with tight clothes and no camping gear. It’s interesting to see all of the carbon fiber and titanium, but it’s a different world from where I’ve been traveling for the last month.

Day 26 (1)

I just updated day 25, sitting in the Coffee Cove coffee shop in Bodega Bay, and the scones here were awesome. The coffee was good too, and the photos on the walls are really good. It’s now 9:30, and the fog hasn’t dissipated much yet. I am aiming for Point Reyes to tonight, and San Francisco tomorrow. That should wrap it all up in just under four weeks!

Day 25 (2)

Morning of 26, here are the promised pictures from yesterday:

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When I got to the Manchester Beach campground I thought it was likely the last night that I would see the folks I have been traveling in sync with for the last few days, so I thought a camp fire would be a good time. Brandon and I walked out to the beach to collect driftwood, and the sunset was so impressive that I had to snap a few shots. Look for more in the Flickr gallery!

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The whole area was nice to look at, and everything was inconvenient and remote enough that it didn’t seem heavily trafficked at all. There were signs warning us to stay on marked paths, so as not to disturb the rare mountain beavers.

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I was surprised, this driftwood fire was roaring hot!

And now that I think of it- those pictures were all from the night of day 24! Here are the others from day 25:

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This is where I ate breakfast. How about that sign! I had the biscuits and gravy, and the portions were so large that I wasn’t hungry again until about 4 PM. Good price, too!

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First of a couple really eccentric houses I saw today. I also saw Sea Ranch, which I heard about in a class somewhere with regards to design, but it seemed thoroughly boring to me.

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There are so many sweet rocks sticking out of the water getting hit by waves. I really can’t overstate that, or how cool they are.

So as I am looking through my pictures, I remember that there is a story from yesterday, why I ended up doing 65 miles and rolling into camp at 8:30. I had intended to stay at a park about 45 miles from my start, but it was closed. The next was closed too, so I rolled through, and decided to press on. As the sun started to go down I realized that I had some fairly noteworthy altitude changes ahead of me.

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If I was driving a car on these, I’d be super nervous.

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And of course there were many many sections where the shoulder was just a sheer drop off a 200 foot cliff into the ocean. A cockier cyclist might have done this route in half the time, but I rode the brakes on the way down 90% of these. After that broken arm in March I started paying more attention to maintaining control.

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I think this may have possibly been Goat Rock. Geez, it turns into such a blur so quickly! It was totally beautiful though, thoroughly enjoyable even though my legs were protesting a bit by then.

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I don’t know what this is, it looked like some sort of a pink rock with a bird or two on it. Traffic was happening, and the shoulder was tiny, so I didn’t dig out the Nikon or switch it to the telephoto. This is the best we get of this particular mystery.

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Here’s the other house I felt like taking a picture of. I just want to say- that’s how you do it! All these folks building McMansions in grid like developments, what are they thinking? If I ever have the means and desire to spend a ton of money building a place, I’d want it to look like it should be in someone’s portfolio.

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I finally got to cook my meal at 9ish, in the dark. Garlic fettuccine noodles with some Tapatio and peanuts, I bet whoever came up with that box didn’t expect it to take a Thai-like twist! It was good, then the bike tourers showed up with beer. Late night, fun stories, good time!

Day 24 (3)

I nearly forgot- two other things happened today. First, I found that my Brooks saddle is well and truly broken in. I did about 45 miles with regular shorts, no bike padding, and I was quite comfortable. Finally! For some people these things never really do get comfortable.

Second, I heard an entertaining story from a Dutch guy who’s been camping in our group for the last couple of nights. He saw my can of salmon last night and asked what I was having for dinner tonight. I joked that anything could be better, since the cheap fish really wasn’t that good, and the other folks were complaining about the smell. He said that he could relate, and the worst thing that he had eaten on this trip was a can of lamb. At first I thought he meant he had this at home- we don’t typically have canned lamb here- but the he said it was in Oregon. Then he said, “It was really bad, I almost could not finish it. I had never heard of the brand before, have you? It was Alpo.”

We had a good laugh when I explained that it was dog food.

Day 24 (2)

I decided to keep going, and to call it a night quickly if I didn’t feel good about it. The day was actually really easy, except for one really steep switchback that I walked up.

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The day started foggy, but I was on a pedestrian path for the first five miles, and most of the rest of the fog stayed well off the roadways.

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I had a really awesome ham panini with salad and bread pudding in Mendocino. They really should have put that town ten miles farther south, for the sake of us bike tourers.

Saw some more beautiful coast:

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Went over another cool bridge:

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Saw some foggy coast:

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And here’s a view from the switchback that kicked my ass:

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Oh yeah- I passed 1,000 miles after lunch today. Woo!

Day 24 (1)

I’m trying to decide of I ought to take a rest day today. Looking back at my posts, I think I have gone about five days since I had one in crescent city. I was super wiped out last night, but I ate well and got a ton of sleep. I’m pretty eager to get home at this point, so that’s another factor.

I guess I’ll look at a map to see if I can make it to a good rest spot today if I do set out.