Month: August 2014

Day Twenty Two – San Francisco, CA to Oklahoma City, OK

It’s time. 2 Countries. 3 States. 1,248 Miles. I’m happy.

I knew a few days ago that San Francisco was going to be my end. When I first started this trip, I budgeted to Los Angeles… I thought. Apart from the budget, I feel like it is time for me to be done. I was never obsessed with a “finish.” I did this trip for me, because I wanted to. I thought it would be fun. I thought it would be pretty. I had the time to do this trip that I had been wanting to do for two years. It was a great opportunity to do so. So I did it.

When I look back at the planning of the trip and the anticipation of the unknowable, it was just that, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t really train like most would to spend miles upon miles on a bike. I worked out everyday but just not on a bike. My butt was sore for the first few days but never really my legs. Of course there was the normal leg soreness that 60 miles a day would give you.

I had an outlined schedule but was never stuck to that. I booked it through Washington and really took my time through Oregon and then I picked it up a little more through Northern California. In Washington, it was near 70 miles. Oregon was around 55 miles and California was around 65.

During my trip, the Oregon State Parks were the best hands down. They were always clean. They were always packed. They always included incredible scenery… I was never inland for camp during my week in Oregon. That also made for some weather that I didn’t have elsewhere. Washington was always hot. Oregon was cold. Long sleeves to ride in, sometimes even my rain jacket, and tights, long socks, beanie and long sleeves to sleep in every night. Northern California was a mixture of both because I was inland for some of the time.

I learned plenty this trip. 3 weeks isn’t a terribly long time and I met others that had been on the road for much, much longer but I was met with challenges just the same. I learned some bike maintenance that I didn’t know beforehand and I learned some stuff about myself as well. There were things I thought I could handle and didn’t very well. Other things I was uneasy about but handled like a champ. Dogs are a still my number one enemy. The mountain lion I saw 200ft away was nicer than nearly every dog I encountered.

I had so many, “Oh, shit” moments in these 3 short weeks. Ones when I crossed a country’s border. When I crossed every body of water on a bike, on a boat, on a bridge. When I’d come around a bend and see two snow-capped mountains off in the distance after spending 40 minutes on a climb. When I topped off my speedometer at 44.7mph. Ones when I smelled tho ocean for the first time this trip. When I was punch-dancing my rage out in a misty, wooded glen. When I rode in the rain. When I was next to the ocean ALL day. When I looked up at night and saw billions of stars with the sound of waves crashing in the distance. When I getting brushed by old men driving way too big RVs on a tight road. When I climbed 50 minutes in my smallest gear for that 7 minute decent. When I camped for 18 nights in a single person tent. When I rode The Avenue of Giants. When I felt the earth shake. When I rode into San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge.

In the end, I’m happy.

Day Twenty One – Samuel Taylor State Park to San Francisco, CA

Day Mileage: 28 miles
Total Mileage: 1,247 miles

I woke up pretty late considering my usual wake up time on this trip. I packed everything up and took a quick “shower” in a sink. This is the first time in 3 weeks that I wasn’t able to shower after a day of riding because there was a leak in the State Park showers and since California is in a drought, they said, “Nah. We’ll just shut to down.” Pretty incredible since I’ve only had a real bed 3 times in that 3 weeks. While I was packing, I was pretty jealous of all the day trippers and weekenders. They had some pretty cool gear and a ton of good food with them.

I knew it was a quick ride to SF, 30 miles or so, so I wanted to get going. I first had a chat with a guy in Lagunitas, about 3 miles into the day, over coffee and a bagel. From there, it was a few climbs and a thousand cyclists later, I was on my final climb leading to the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve been to SF once before and saw it from the Presidio, but this time I got to ride over it. It was incredible. I was done for the day, so I took a trip to a bike shop close by and found my way to where I was staying.

Day Twenty – Stillwater Cove State Park to Samuel Taylor State Park

Day Mileage: 67 miles
Total Mileage: 1,218 miles

Today was a different day. It was draft day. The fantasy football league that I’ve been in for 10 years now was holding its draft at 1:00pm my time. My friend Scott has developed a website that we can hold the live draft in real time and see who the teams have picked that a little more fun than yahoo for the out of towners, which I’ve been one for the past three years. I know, I know what you are all thinking but I’m sorry, we’re all taken ladies.

After looking at the map, the only possible solution was to make it to Point Reyes Station by 1pm in order to get wifi and to not have too much further to go afterwards. Problem was a Point Reyes Station was 56 miles down the road. That’s usually a full days ride….all before lunch. Away I went.

The first 15 miles of the day were all up and down but in the plus side along the coast. That made for a cold ride however. I posted a picture on Instagram that showed where I was actually riding. The cliffs were literally 10ft from the white lines on the road. It was fun and terrifying at the same time. One lapse and I was gone.

After pushing it all morning, I rode through Jenner, Bodega Bay, Tomales and finally Marshall before reaching Point Reyes Station with 5 minutes to spare. This is where I had my worse crash of the trip. As I was leaving a market, there were brick steps exiting the building. I stepped down and the next thing I knew I was picking up my cell phone and helmet and belongings because my feet ended up above my head and I ended up flat on my back. My clips just slipped on the bricks and boom. My elbow hurt but for the most part, I wasn’t scathed.

I reached Samuel Taylor State Park fairly early and set up shop. By the end of the day, there were 12-14 bikers in the site and it was kind of a party knowing that we were only a short ride to San Francisco. I went to bed around 9pm.. And woke up at 2:30 to the earth rumbling. A 6.0 earthquake shook Napa, but the only thing we felt was a slow rumble that lasted maybe 7 seconds.

Day Nineteen – Van Damme State Park to Stillwater Cove State Park

Day Milesge: 68 Miles
Total Mileage: 1,151 Miles

The first town I came to was only a half-mile down the road, Little River, CA. I stopped in for coffee with a guy named Carl who was also traveling down the coast but for the 5th time. I’d like to come back to Little River. It was right on the cove and it was a beautiful morning.

Today ended up being my best day on the coast. It was beautiful weather. Clear skies. Actual blue in the sky and sunny. And what perfect timing for great weather, I was on the coast for nearly the entire day with a perfect view. This is why I went on this trip for days like today. Alone on a road, in the middle of Northern California 300ft from the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

I stopped at a little joint in Stewart’s Point that was a general store and then some. I want to come back to the spot and just hang out for the entire day because it overlooked ocean and today just made it that much better. Cannot say enough good things about that spot.

I loved today. Tomorrow, I am going to try to get an early start… I’ll need to cover the majority of my miles before 1:30…. Fantasy Football Draft!