Friday, October 25, 2013

posted on 10/25/2013

Oregon - California 2013

I thought it would be hard to replicate the first cycling trip to California that i took in 2003 but this tour proved me wrong. For the first time using a Brompton folder bike I was once more astonished by the beauty of the Pacific Coast on a ride that would take me from Portland Oregon, to San Francisco.  I will never forget those days spent cycling with good friends met on the road or at the campsites, staring at the vast oceans and at the majesty of those redwood trees.

Portland-Forest Grove, 8th October 2013

Ungodly six am wake up call as I had to take an early bus to Portland where I will begin my cycling journey. I will be on my own most of the trip and one of my resolutions for this holiday was to trust a bit more strangers considering I might need some help on the way. My resolution was put to a severe test when in Seattle Union station looking for the right bus stop I was approached by Ken who offered his help. My alarm bells were set off and he didn't help himself with his stories. 'Oh you are Italian, my girlfriend is from Italy and she just inherited a castle in Aosta...' and an even more puzzling 'I show tourists how to find bus stops every morning as part of my art degree and by the way, I ask for a ten dollars donation to help support the 'showing the bus stop' charity! It would have normally been enough material to have serious doubts about the shifty character's true motives, but I remembered my resolution; he did walk me to the right place so I asked for a discount and got away with a 50% off bargain of five dollars! Good start of the day ... for Ken of course. Portland is known as the cycling capital of the US this was evident once I started riding. Very rare in this country, most roads have cyclists in mind and I thought even drivers were unusually well behaved and always gave way to bikes. The city seemed very trendy and had good vibes too, in certain ways it reminded me of a small scale San Francisco. Today forecast was not good, pouring down rain during most of the bus trip to Portland and on and off while cycling, I thought it would not be good to camp and after 40 kilometres of my first ride I decided that a motel in Forest Grove would be a wiser choice. Tomorrow i plan to leave earlier, reach the Pacific Coast, hopefully catching up with my planned route schedule. Some interesting road signs today. Two particularly stood out, the rather moving 'adopt an highway', and the very practical 'lottery games should not be played for investment purposes'.

Forest Grove-Cape Lookout, 9th October 2013

Had a glorious ride and finally reached my beloved Pacific Coast. The further I moved away from any large city the more the wilderness of Oregon took centre stage, the horizons became wide and the first mountains appeared. After a flat start, I began climbing to the 1500 feet of Tillamook State Forest catching the first few glimpses of sequoias and gigantic pine forests. The road followed Gales Creek and the Wilson river and the climb despite my luggage was bearable. I was thinking how much a day like this on the bike is a condensed version of a lifetime. You ride on a flat straight road and it soon gets rather boring, then you hit the first steep uphill and you feel the pain in your body, its struggle made worse by all kinds of negative thoughts and doubts. Then eventually the time to freewheel downhill comes and you are smiling again, you scream of joy and then you get to the ocean, your final destination and bliss; you can finally rest your body and know that all you went through, the good and the bad was so much worth it. Arrived in Tillamook seriously late for lunch and extremely hungry I headed to Fat Pizza as the name sounded very promising. The young guy at the counter was very friendly and telling him I was Italian and that I thought his pizzas were really good I ate two large ones. I then told him I love making pizza too and went into a technical discussion of dough kneading, cheese, ovens and he started throwing his pizzas about and showing me how he made it. Pizza went into the oven and we turned to toppings. I said to him it was great to be creative and use all kind of toppings but also said I just don't understand how people can put sweet things like pineapples on them. I could see his facial expression suddenly change and only realised why when he showed me his finished work of art. A large piping hot pineapple pizza! To redeem himself he said that another local place sells M&M' s pizza too... Reaching the ocean was a fantastic emotion, returning to this corner of the world after almost nine years a great joy. I found quickly Cape Lookout, a stunning campsite right by the beach and as I write my diary in the tent all I can here is the soothing sound of the crashing waves. Not having met any cyclist the all day long I was surprised to see 7 cyclists trickling one after the other. A girl from Portland experiencing her first bike ride and camping, three Germans who have been riding all the way from Calgary, James from Portland and another solitary rider on the way to San Francisco. I suppose our path will probably cross again along the way! On a less poetic note my arse is having all kinds of issues with my new Brooks leather saddle. Riding on it for hours every day has come as a bit of a shock. The question is who will give in first and given how tough the saddle feels, I think it will have to be my rear. It is goodnight for today.

Cape Lookout-Beverly Beach, 10th October 2013

The day started out dry and I cycled with James the guy from Portland I met at the campsite, along Sandlake Road. After the first uphill stretch through the forest we descended the quiet road admiring the most strange landscape of pines surrounded by dunes of sand that must have been blown from the coast. James was hungry and decided to stop for breakfast in Pacific City while I decided to continue on soon reaching for the first time Highway 101 the road that will take me to San Francisco. Being the main road that follows the pacific coast all the way south from Canada it's a big road but for most of its length one lane is reserved for cyclists. Before Lincoln City the mist and clouds got thicker and rain started to pour down. Feeling a bit damp and cold once reached the town I couldn't resist the laundromat sign and thought it would be a good time to do my first laundry wash, dry the rest of my staff and hope that in the meantime the weather would improve. The gamble paid off and by the time my clothes were dry it stopped raining and I was soon heading south a happy and dry cyclist. Soon after I caught up with Kevin, a Canadian I briefly met at Cape Lookout campsite the night before. Shortly in the distance I recognised James ever flashing rear light and we all got together cycling the rest of the way to Beverly Beach, our common destination. Most cyclist aim for camping sites with hot showers which are free for bikers and this means that often our destination coincide and surely will be crossing familiar faces for the rest of my trip. At Depoe Bay we took a diversion onto Otter loop the stunning little road that used to be the old highway. A break from the traffic and winding its way up and down a thick forest with stunning views of the ocean. We reached camp and joined the ever increasing community of cyclists, all pitching up tents at the hiker biker site. Laundry and rain delays meant that I had only eaten biscuits the whole day not finding the right time for a proper hot meal so Kevin very kindly cooked some extra rice with veg and sausages that seemed a real treat for my empty stomach. If Kevin is the mobile grocery, James is the liquor store always carrying in his heavy load assorted beers and whisky! Kevin's final trick was producing from his traveling wardrobe a small guitar and asking if I minded if he played! Not a bit I said and was able to get my hands on it too until the night got chilly and it was time to curl up in the tent.

Beverly Beach-Jessie Honeyman 11th October 2013

Today cycling felt great, my body is slowly getting adjusted to these full day rides. I left camp before my adventure mates stopping often for food breaks to make sure I didn't make the same mistake I did yesterday. James and Kevin passed by while I was having a quick lunch by the roadside. Later it was my turn to catch up with them and we rode the rest of the day together again. After Waldport the scenery and surprisingly the weather too, became stunning so much so that we had to constantly stop to take one more picture. The Pacific Coast in all its glory. Even today we met more cyclists on the road including a group of young Americans camping with us tonight and carrying too guitars and a bongo drum! I was sad when I left thinking I won't see a guitar for the next three weeks yet tonight at Jessie Honeymanhiker biker corner there were a total of eight cyclists and 3 guitars! After watching the sunset from the sand dunes near the park we played guitar and sang together under the giant trees and a shining moon that is our pitching spot for the night. Things I learnt on this trip so far. Merino wool socks really don't smell that bad even after 4 days,Americans seem to buy cars so that they can carry more cars along on trailers. Raccoons are campsites pests! If they can't open a bag with food near a tent they will just go to extremes to carry the all thing away and figure out how to do it at leisure. Miles feel much longer than 1.6 kilometres if you are cycling. Most cyclists doing the pacific coast, if asked have no clue where or when they started or where they are heading too. Howdie is not a German car-maker. Biscuits and gravy is not a joke but a local breakfast speciality. Nobody has a clue where anything is so don't ever bother asking for directions.

Jessie Honeyman-Coos Bay, 12th October 2013

Today I was woken up by a light drizzle, as James had informed us last night, it would be mostly raining. Because of this and the humidity accumulated in my last 3 days camping I decided I would have an easier day and stay at a motel for the night. I found a great room in Coos Bay with breakfast included; now it is laundry time and the local launderette seems to be owned by some very stingy character. You need a charging card to use anything included the bathrooms and fares are double compared to my last place. I am becoming a bit of a laundromat buff! Highway 101 today was not as exciting as it had been the last two days, mostly due to the fact that it veered away from the coast and only for a brief moment I caught a glimpse of the ocean. Otherwise it was a sequence of very long straight stretches that seemed to never end. I left camp before the others and we never crossed each other's path. Kevin like myself is heading to San Francisco and James to Northern California so I wouldn't be surprised to meet them again soon. I kept count of all the food it takes to efficiently ride my bike... Up to my early arrival at 3 pm, I went through a packet of 9 large chocolate cookies, 4 bananas, 1 cheese and jalapeño taquito, half a litre of almond milk, a chocolate brownie cake slice and two boiled eggs! Of course large dinner at a restaurant tonight. One of the joys of cycling is that you never think you shouldn't eat something, rather always think what you could eat next! Tomorrow back to camping along the ocean, dry and clean.

Coos Bay-Humbug Mountain, 13th October 2013

Glorious day! All tv channels this morning agreed on one thing, sun sun and more sun. I left early for what would be a long riding day, covering almost one hundred kilometres. As it is usual in this part of the world a blanket of fog covered the landscape for the first few hours before the sun warmed up. This made it very atmospheric and an ideal condition to take pictures. The rest of the day was blue, huge skies and a strong tailwind pushing me faster than I would have ever been able to. I met a couple of Swiss and we had a brief chat and exchange some route ideas. By twelve I had covered two third of the way so I could relax on a bench at a shut café in Langlois, enjoy the sun and see who was passing down the highway. My biscuits diet got a bit boring and I took advantage of the open Market to have a hot dog. At that point the Mexican Express came! Two sisters from Southern California riding fancy racing bikes with a trailer from Canada all the way to Mexico. As it often happens they too were fascinated by my little bike and wanted to take pictures of it. They had met Kevin on their way and confirmed he would be staying at Humbug Mountain as well. What was left to ride was the most spectacular coastline, highway 101 at its best, contouring the high cliffs with breathtaking vistas of crashing waves and the vast ocean on one side and mountains and thick forests on the other. The camp nested in a deep and narrow valley had the best hot shower so far, perfect to refresh me. Soon Kevin and his guitar appeared, I got some logs and we spent the evening sitting by a warm fire chatting, playing guitar and singing songs. As we heard lots of weird noises in the darkness the topic switched to bears. I got some Canadian wisdom on the subject; if you meet a grizzly bear with a cub play dead, if on his own climb up a tree. If you meet a black bear make yourself look big...whatever that means I am not sure and confront them and fight! Brown bears are a bit of a grey area. This set me off to a stressful good night.

Humbug Mountain-Harris Beach, 14th October 2013

On this rain prone coast we were blessed again with an amazing day of sunshine and the whole important tailwind, the best cyclist's friend! I rode most day with Kevin again and as we started he said that his book mentioned this to be the best ride day on the coast and it was indeed. Most of the time we were looking down at awesome views of the ocean and lots of rock islets scattered near the coast. It also felt much warmer than it had been, the midday sun reminding me that not all of summer has gone yet. Mileage today was not meant to be too much, still with all the times I had to stop to take pictures or just stare in awe at the scene in front, progress was pretty slow. We ate at a cafe then Kevin left earlier while I thought I would digest all the French fries I had and check emails. After lunch at one of the endless view points I met up again with the Swiss couple, had a nice chat together and when I asked how long was their holiday, they said one year and a half as if that was a perfectly normal answer! I experienced some real kindness today too, when I left my sunglasses behind at the restaurant, and after about 20 minutes I had been cycling a pick up truck pulled out in front of me asking if they were my glasses! I arrived in Brookings Harris Beach camp, another great State Park campsite, this time very close to the beach. It is Thanksgiving day in Canada today and all my fellow travellers being Canadian tonight, we had a bit of a party, with fire and lots of food. Oregon has been very kind to me leaving some unforgettable memories of these last few days, tomorrow will look forward to enter Northern California and get close to the giant redwood trees I love so much.

Harris Beach-Jedediah Smith State Park, 15th October 2013

After this most fantastic week it was time to say goodbye to Oregon and welcome to California. I was meant to have a long ride to Prairie Creek State Park but once crossed the border I checked my maps and realised that Jedediah Smith State Park was a stone throw, and as it is famous for some of the largest redwood groves, I couldn't resist the temptation and turned away from the coast. I veered inland, cycling on highway 197 which was quiet and most interesting; as it went on the first glimpses of huge trees left me with no words. I arrived shortly after lunch, with plenty of time left to explore bewildering huge trees, some higher than 100 metres. The hiker biker site by the river is very remote and it turns out I will be alone here tonight. On the main part of the campsite there might be a total of a dozen people in total; after being in busy campsites with always other cyclists around I feel a bit lonely! I could take my pick and chose a fantastic spot with my tent pitched right under four enormous trees! Solitude turned into a bit of jitteriness as I saw numerous signs about bears being frequently around the campsite and during my walk I even found out that mountain lions also recently started to like the place! Every spot has a very large bear box to store all food and scented things and I contemplated shutting myself into the box instead leaving all food in the tent! I switched on my radio to keep me some company and in my cosy tent now it is time to try and forget all this gloomy thoughts and have a peaceful night rest!

Jedediah Smith State Park-Prairie Creek, 16th October 2013

No bear or mountain lions attack last night so I left Jededaiah State Park following beautiful Highway 99 to Crescent City, a twisty road and yet another display of huge Redwoods. I often had to stop to take picture or Videos and on one of the first stops I heard my name called, and it was Andrew and Karen, the Canadian couple whom also stayed at the camp but arrived quite late and didn't use the hiker biker site. As it often happens on these route we cycled together until Crescent City where they took some time to get new tyres. Usually you meet cyclists in a rubber band fashion but today I mostly crossed an Alaskan girl with car who was driving from Alaska to Mexico over a month and to my shock and horror she said she often stopped to swim; used to Alaskan temperature she found the water pretty warm and inviting! Crossing through Klamath it was interesting to be welcome by signposts from the Yurok tribe who has a reserve in the area. Unfortunately their way of life has been thwarted longp time ago and it seemed to me that most of them enjoyed being hypnotised by the slots machine in the local service area. Otherwise they seemed the most friendly people with big, big smiles. I veered off highway 101 and follow the road to Praire Creek National Park, my goal for the day. The guy in Klamath Market said that apparently the largest tree in the wold was there but its whereabouts are not revealed to preserve it from mass tourism. Newton Drury Scenic Parkway was simply stunning. After the initial climb I was treated by a long, winding descent and the largest redwoods I have ever seen. John Steinbeck expressed what I feel in front of such majestic beauty: "the Redwoods once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always...from them comes silence and awe. The most irreverent of men, in the presence of redwoods, goes under a spell of wonder and respect". Arrived at Prairie Creek, James was by his bike ready to look for the hiker biker camp! It wasn't too long before the Canadians couple arrived and after my tent was set up Kevin too. Later we were joined by Jack, travelling to work all the way from Montana with his inseparable banjo strapped around his shoulders. He was on government food stamps and the job he had come to do was weeding grass for some friends, of course for medical purposes! Around the campsite fire we all chatted and Jack was full of interesting stories and asked if anybody else had met lots of new born Christians on the road as he kept bumping into people who had found Jesus! The last one being a woman screaming to him that she would take her backpack all the way to Jerusalem! Jack was from a city near New York, whose economy he said, had a recent boost when they accepted to receive all the trash from New York City! Staying on the trash business he said there were these boats taking trash from Hawaii to Seattle and San Francisco and once everything was dumped they returned there empty. His future plan was to take such boat hoping he could get a cheap cruise to the islands! Signpost of the day must go to 'having a two years old is like using a blender without a lid'!

Prairie Creek-Eureka, 17th October 2013

I woke up to a freezing morning, the campsite immersed in a thick freezing mist that had soaked into my tent flysheet. With no food for breakfast the plan was to have a first stop in Orick. Jack was the first to leave with his trusted banjo, I followed with James who introduced me to the local speciality, worryingly named 'biscuits and gravy' . I survived the experience but couldn't share the excitement James had for it. He had been talking about it for days and the build up had been a bit too steep to meet my expectations! After breakfast due to technical problems with his bike that I couldn't help him with, I set off on my own for what would be a transfer day to Eureka, before the long awaited day, following the 'Avenue of the giants'. The route up to Trinidad was nice and interesting and outside the campsite I could finally see some Elks too. I reached Arcata, with its super relaxed, hippy feel, a very nice town indeed. The hostel they once had was gone so I thought I would have a quick burger and move on when I looked down the street and saw James at the bike store after he had been rescued and given a ride by car by the same café owner who had served us breakfast! There must be a kind of magnetic pull that keeps all cyclists who meet on this coastal ride not far from each other and you end up constantly bumping into familiar faces in the most unlikely places as I would later find out in San Francisco too. In the end James decided he had enough tribulations for the day and would stay in Arcata while I had a bit of a tighter schedule to follow and had to say farewell and moved on to ugly Eureka for a comfortable motel night and laundry. One thing I figured out on this trip is that the joy of riding with others and having a chat comes at the expense of slowing down a lot as you end up stopping when you would like to, as well as stopping when the others do! My sixteen days to get to San Francisco meant I had to stick to my plan, so often I had to keep pedalling faster or longer than I would have wanted to.

Eureka-Richardson Grove State Park, 18th October 2013

I escaped Eureka early morning with my flashing lights, through a dense fog. This was going to be a long day and a much anticipated ride along the Avenue of the Giants, a 31 miles scenic road winding its way through dense groves of redwoods. My early departure and the fact that I was cycling alone meant that I could cover ground faster and by 10 am I was already at Scotia where the diversion from Highway 101 starts. I crossed a cyclist a few times and at one point we stopped to chat and were surprised to find out that we were both Italians! Valerio was a very active 63 years old who had traveled the world extensively on his bike and of course had lots of stories to share. He had been to some of the most remote part of the world, crossed Amazonia, Alaska, most South American countries, China all on his old trusted Koga Miyata bike. He talked about what he called his 'bicycle master', a spanish man called Pedro he had once met at the end of an around the world journey and who had inspired Valerio to start his journeys on a bike. Pedro had told him about some of his epic adventures like cycling in Iran during the revolution without being aware of what was going on around him and being caught up by armed gangs in Nicaragua who stopped him and started playing with him by shooting real bullets to his left and to his right before luckily letting him continue his wanderings! The Avenue of the Giants was yet another unforgettable place of the many unforgettable places I have been fortunate to see in this trip. I once again witnessed the awe inducing power of the redwoods when Valerio, who was seeing them for the first time, said that he had never seen such beauty. Halfway he stopped for a snack while I went on to the quaint information office of the park, sat down on a wooden bench, soaking the warmth of the midday sun. I met Valerio before exiting the road in Phillipsville where he informed me that after twenty-one years one of his spokes had finally snapped and was pondering what he should do next. After the vibes of Arcata I witnessed one more time the thriving hippie culture of California when I entered Garberville. It seemed like traveling back in time to the sixties, a blend of vagrants, hippies, free thinkers and eccentrics, young and old wandering the Main Street, having fun and often high too! I could smell Marijuana in the air and wasn't surprised to remember that Jack's 'work' was actually down the hill in Redway! On a smaller wheeled bike wearing clean, laundered sports clothes and not looking to get a quick high, I seemed the most eccentric in town, so after stocking up food I went on the highway and reached camp at dusk quickly realizing that I would be the only guest of a deserted Richardson Grove State Park.

Richardson Grove State Park-Mackerricker State Park, 19th October 2013

Today it really felt as if I went through four seasons and back in a day. I started early leaving camp eager to warm up from close to freezing temperatures. Ahead was probably the toughest day with lots of hills to climb including infamous Leggett, where a right turn onto Highway 1 brings you across the mountain range and back to the coast. The climb was really pleasant, very warm sun, hardly any traffic and great views. Once heading down the coast though, there was a dramatic change as I dived into a freezing fog that brought temperatures back to winter. I was hoping the mist would be temporary as it often is here but this time I was out of luck and it went on all the way to camp. I met an Austrian cyclist called Max carrying a huge load on a trailer, including a canoe as you would do... He had been cycling around the US for five months and had a big beard to show for it! He said he didn't get a chance to use the canoe as much and I just felt sorry for him having to drag along all that stuff! Tonight early to bed trying to keep warm and only three or four days to the Golden Gate of San Francisco.

Mackerricker State Park-Manchester Bay, 20th October 2013

I spent one hour this morning drying up and doing some laundry at Lucy's in Fort Bragg. By far the best launderette visited, with free coffee, a friendly attendant and a nice big sign up the wall saying 'keep calm,we have wifi'. The morning had started with a blue sky but as it was the case yesterday afternoon, by the time I started cycling, a dense fog descended on highway 1. The road in this section was really nice and I took my first food stop in Mendocino the county main town that seemed quite an exclusive place given the prices of sandwiches and coffee! After the frustration of riding in the fog and missing all those vista points I gave up hoping for a clear up and decided to enjoy the experience and this unusual atmosphere. I had a short stop in Elk trying to dry the tent. There I met either a desperate case of Tourette syndrome or an elderly man training for the national swearing championship. As I told him I had come from Portland he belted out a Jesus Christ and from the on every other word in his conversation had a God d... interjection in it, all made even more surreal by the fact that we were standing just in front of the village church. I made it to Manchester Bay first, followed by two American friends from Idaho and finally by Max still going strong with his canoe and fully furnished trailer. It's been quite chilly the last few nights and even today, after my 'bomb burrito' I took cover in my tent wrapping up warm and hoping the sun will heat things up a bit tomorrow!

Manchester Bay-Cloverdale, 21st October 2013

This morning I switched on the radio and heard it would be rain, fog and five degrees on the coast while beautiful, sunny and twenty-five degrees just a few miles across the mountains. Getting out of my tent it seemed even more serious than I thought. You could cut the fog with a knife and it was drizzling too which made me think I should have a plan b or be sentenced to a soggy day with no chance to see much if anything at all. I was weary to get off the coast into unknown territory and a bit sad to have to quit the coast but I stopped a local lady at Manchester and asked how the roads were if I tried to turn left on highway 253 and cross over the mountains heading to Booneville. As she wouldn't be the one pedalling after all, she seemed very enthusiastic, suggesting I should go up the mountain and enjoy the sun! When I asked if it was steep she just shrugged and said 'up and down, you'll have a great time!' One thing she got right was the sun; after a few miles up the mountain indeed the fog suddenly disappeared and uncovered a blue sky and a warm morning sun. I never experienced going from winter to summer, so suddenly in my life in what seemed just a matter of minutes! Now to what the lady got wrong...I 'rode' all day on an exhausting roller coaster of uphills with steep grades well beyond my strength and gear range and quite often I alternated cycling with long spells of trekking! In many ways I was happy to have made the effort and had I really known how tough a day it would have been I might have been cycling on a foggy and wet Highway 1 instead. The wonderful weather, change of views and a chance to visit the famous vineyards of California, kept me going and eventually I made it to charming Cloverdale where I will stay in a well earned motel for the night.

Cloverdale-Stinson Beach, 22nd October 2013

A day full of adventure today! I knew it would be a long ride so I left Cloverdale early and headed straight on highway 101. With wind pushing me and all the traffic speeding I cruised really fast on the emergency lane! The morning was fresh and sunny with just a few spots of fog around that made it possible to take some interesting pictures! Huge extensions of vineyards and neat wineries were scattered all around. At a certain point I saw the name Coppola, by the entrance gate of one of them and looking closer it was really Francis Ford Coppola; I remembered reading an article about his passion for wine and how he got into producing his own. Soon after, I had my first puncture on the rough and dusty lane I was riding on so had to pull off and fix that wondering if I would ever get a bike tyre flat on a motorway again! The excitement was not meant to stop there...I got back to speed for a few miles when a police car slowed down traffic and eventually pulled right in front of me. The officer got out of the car asking how long I had been on it, to which I said naively that I came all the way from Portland! He said it was illegal and dangerous and that he would have to escort me off to Old Redwood Highway, still heading the right way but in a much more biker friendly sort of way. So there I was, being paraded by a patrol car, around traffic junctions until the policeman was happy I was heading the right direction and not try to get on the highway again! Despite this breaks in less than three hours I had covered at least sixty km and would soon reach Santa Rosa and one hour later Petaluma. These, like Cloverdale before, seemed really nice towns to be living in, lots of neat green spaces, great weather, wine, everything clean and tidy and probably awfully expensive too! In Penngrove, right outside Petaluma, I got the best heart attack inducing burger I could ever wish for at Super Burger. In Petaluma I confirmed about D street, the road I wanted to take to get to Point Reyes. The two women in the tourist office, on a low season, boring office day, seemed very excited to get someone to chat with and I ended up being their information office regarding places in Italy. One of them, after telling her I had come down the Pacific Coast, even came off the desk eager as she said to check out my legs! D Street turned out to be a surprisingly quiet and stunning road to cycle, I passed prairies, some reservoirs and stopped at the Cheese Factory whom had been recommended to me for a cheese sandwich. I then eventually reached Point Reyes, was told there was a campsite soon after but couldn't find any hiker biker site and as they were charging hotel rates for a tent I decided to continue until, near Stinson Beach, it got a bit too dark and I pitched my tent by the ocean in a grass patch where at night I was able to see some curious deer checking who was this guest for the night.

Stinson Beach-San Francisco, 23rd October 2013

Being back on the coast, I woke up to a surprise reunion with my friend the fog yet all that was left was covering the few miles left to San Francisco, my goal for this trip. The road following the coast was pretty steep in places with lots of switchbacks and I was grateful it would be a short, few hours ride as with no days off in the last two weeks, my leg muscles were feeling slightly painful and tired. I was really excited to see my final destination approaching and somehow also a bit sad to realize that this great adventure was about to get to an end. After getting a bit lost trying to find the coastal trail I had walked many years ago, I cycled past Sausalito and eventually got to the grand entrance and best of crossing lines that is the Golden Gate Bridge. All that remained was proudly cycling over, after many years to what is so far my favourite city in the world where I would be a tourist for a couple more days. Words are hard to find to express how grateful I feel to have been able to experience this long ride, see the places I have seen and meet the people I have met over these sixteen days. They will be never forgotten like my little Brompton bike that despite the disbelief of most people carried me most reliably and safely home with nothing more than one single puncture! I feel this part of the world attracts me like no others and the only way to leave it, is to promise that I will come back again soon and wonder once more at the sight of those waves and those trees.