3750 ft of Climbing
Today is the day my friend Ed Craft was meeting up with me to ride into San Francisco. Last night, I didn’t sleep well, due to cold wind blasting my tent all night, but at the crack of dawn, I woke up and got moving, which is not my normal way. I had to be ready to go when Ed arrived.
Okay, so I wasn’t ready–I confess. But we were headed out of Doran Park by 9:25, my earliest start of the trip. Living about an hour east of Sacramento, Ed had already been on the road for three hours, when he met up with me. It was so good to see him again and have someone to feel some of my pain with me.
The route was curved and hilly from the get-go, but it had a good share of funky sight along the way. Passing through Valley Ford, even the US Post Office building was an artsy place, with a mural on its side.Where else do you find a Red Legged Frog Crossing?Here was the scenery, as we rode along Tomales Bay, toward Point Reyes Station, In Point Reyes Station, we ordered up delicious deli lunches from the grocery store, and ate on a curb, like a couple of bums. That’s still a word, right? A few times, today, Ed and I passed and were passed by a fellow from the UK named Talan, who I had heard about from Viktoria. He started cycling in Alaska on May 26th, and had cycled around Alaska, before riding south through Canada and the US, with his final destination being Bolivia.
I had been telling Ed about some of the people I have met along on my ride, and how we keep bumping into each other, when low and behold, as I stopped to use a public restroom, one of them appeared out of the blue. It was Mary, a young Canadian gal who is a college student in Eugene, Oregon. She is one of the three cyclists I camped with at Harris Beach, back on September 5th. She had just ridden into the campground, having just gotten off a bus in Brookings, so she could begin her ride down the coast to meet up with friends in San Francisco, before starting her next semester of college in Eugene.
Mary related to us, that I am a legend on the route. (Yeah, right.) She had met up with Crystal and Robert Rogers (the LDS couple I met over dinner at the Avenue Cafe in Miranda), and had also crossed paths with Viktoria. We had a few laughs over some of our follies, then parted ways again. I sure hope to see Mary again–somewhere, someday. While I was talking to Mary, Ed was busy taking a picture of this mural for me. Thanks, Ed. My granddaughters are going through a unicorn phase, right now, and will love it!A few miles outside of Point Reyes Station, we got off the highway to ride several miles on the Marin Trail bike path, as it followed Lagunitas Creek. We passed the site of a historic paper mill, then rode through Camp Taylor, a beautiful campground I would love to return to some day.
The below photo depicts what I looked at for most of my 63 day ride across the US, last year–the back of Ed, as I tried to catch up with him.
After descending from the climb into and past Woodacre, we were on a nice bike path that sped us through a series of cute little Marin County towns, starting with Fairfax, my favorite. It had the following mural that was the subject of the book, “Seeds of Peace: A Community Mural–Part Offering, Part Hope”. The people and symbols depicted in the mural are real people and symbols from the community.
And then there was the Marin Museum of Bicycling, with its giant mountain bike out front. Unfortunately was closed, And I loved this modification to what is probably a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty. I think I could live in this town, if real estate was affordable, which I’m sure it’s not.Moving down the road, I once again was trying to catch up to Ed, but that ended when I spotted the Village Pedler–a hip looking bike shop that carried high end bikes. We stopped to get their mechanic extraordinaire, Dustin, to adjust my derailleur cable, and get rid of a ticking sound that had been driving me bonkers for a few days.
After topping off my tires, we were back on the bike path again, and now climbing up an endlessly steep road that was winding through Corte Madera and into Sausalito. I never saw a town welcome sign, so the hotel sign below will have to do.
Our first view of San Francisco appeared in Sausalito, then the climbing kicked in again and was relentless, as we approached the Golden Gate Bridge.The maps routed us to the east side of the bridge, which is for pedestrians only. To get to the west side, we either had to ride another mile or more, with more uphill (my legs had gone on strike), or push our bikes down ramps that were about 12 inches wide and as steep as a steep flight of stairs. Ed offered to roll my bike down the ramp–fully loaded–while I easily carried his super lite bike down. At the bottom of the stairs, we crossed under the bridge, and were now faced with getting my super heavy bike back up an identical flight of stairs. My hero, Ed, pushed that monster, minus the rear panniers, up the second ramp, then went back for his bike too. Thanks for bailing me out, Ed. I guess I really am a wimpy female after all.
Let’s see, now, what would I have done if I had been riding without Ed? The answer is: I would have ridden that extra mile or so to get to the other side. Maneuvering that monster on those ramps is beyond my capabilities.The view from the center of the bridge.After making it to the other side, and one final photo opportunity with Ed, we hightailed it down the Bay Trail toward my hostel at Fort Mason. Ed had a ferry to catch, and the last ferry departure of the day was approaching. We said our goodbyes, and Ed sped off toward the ferry terminal, while I headed into my hostel to get ready for a dinner date with my friend Linda Knutson, who was making a two hour drive to meet up with me.Let’s just say that Linda and I had a blast together. She helped me get settled in the hostel, then took me to the Carbon Grill, where we had to cook our own dinner on a grill set into our table. It was a lot of work, keeping those veggies and that meat moving and turning on that grill, and keeping up with consuming them as they came off. At the end of the meal, we were both exhausted, stuffed out of our minds, and smelling like we’d been cooking over a campfire. In summary, this was yet another one of my favorite days on the ride. The cycling was tough, but the suffering was lessened by having Ed to ride with. It was so good to see him again and have a chance to catch up, a little, between all that panting and grunting. And I loved seeing Linda, and catching up on our lives and all the big and little things we have in common. I look forward to seeing both of them again, hopefully sooner than later.