rfay's blog

Monterey and Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
The Pacific Coast never ceases to amaze us. More coves, more beautiful places. Can you see the waterfall in this picture? It looks like an incredible desert island. We did short days on the Big Sur so we could hike a bit and see the waterfalls and coastline.

There are new pictures on the photos page from the coast south of San Francisco, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Big Sur.

We found Arone Garrison, the rogue biker, near Monterey - she continued on south; the job in San Francisco didn't work out, so she'll go to Texas to see her mother. The cat is still well, and it looks like Arone is also. We're still rooting for you, Arone!

Sick for the first time on tour

Well, I'm sick for the first time in my bike touring career. Too many days at the hostel in San Francisco, with too many sick people there. I just have a cold, but it seems to be hanging on. Nancy hasn't gotten it yet, so cross your fingers.

We always knew that we'd eventually have to deal with being sick if we were going to do long trips, so in some ways this is just a learning experience for us.

But for now we're holed up in a motel near San Simeon, William Randolf Hearst's famous castle. Nancy went and did the tour today and really enjoyed it. Hearst was quite a notorious figure.

California Redwoods

Redwoods on James Irvine Trail
We went to many places that had redwood trees, and were awed by all of them. But we spent a full day hiking the James Irvine Trail at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in the Redwood National Park. We just couldn't stop taking pictures, and the entire rainforest atmosphere will remain a treasured memory forever. We hope you get a chance to look at all the redwood pictures on the photos page under "California".

Bike tourists and the homeless

Arone Garrison, pirate biker, with her cat, moving to San Francisco
On the Pacific Coast we've been treated to great facilities for touring cyclists. And there are plenty of them! They are everywhere. This must be the most popular route we've ever done. And the facilities provided for us are incredible, and cheap. We paid $4/person for camping (with showers!) in Oregon, and it's gone down to $3/person now in California. The facilities are fantastic - beautiful, running water, hot showers.

Of course, bike touring is just a case of almost-homeless. I often say it's the last acceptable form of homelessness in the U.S. But the wonderful and cheap facilities they've provided for us are attractive to others, including *real* homeless people, people who have no home to run back to and no credit card to bail them out if things get hard.

We bought a computer to use on the road

Our new little computer
I actually went out and bought a computer here in San Francisco. We'll try touring with it and see how it works out. It's tiny and under 3 pounds, but still it adds to the load and of course is questionable that way. But I've been frustrated by the lack of access to computer time. It's very frustrating to have to do all our updates and email in one 30-minute session at tthe library. We'll let you know how it goes. Will the weight be too much to add, or will the pleasure of having the right tool be just the right thing?

Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge
[There are new photos of both Oregon and California on the photos page. There are many new pictures in the Oregon section as well as the new California section. Lots of coastline and redwoods and riding pictures. We're having a great time!]

We rode over the bridge and into the city and immediately found our way across town to a dentist (Randy had a crown come off a few days ago). Then we crossed through downtown at rush hour, dodging the cars and having a grand old time, to find our friend Stuart and new friends Dave and Shelagh. It was a grand day.

The way into SF was a bit confusing, but along came Carlos and Monica, who were just out from the city for a weekend bike trip to the north. They led us all the way in through the towns to the north and we didn't have to follow the book turn-by-turn. It was a wonderful thing.

We're thinking we'll take a few rest days here and explore the city.

California Dreamin'

We haven't had much good solid internet access here in California, but we're having a fine time. In about 450 miles in California we've enjoyed many wonderful redwood forests (including a great day off hiking to Fern Canyon in the Prairie Creek Redwood State Park) and beaches and coastline galore. The coast is amazingly rough and the waves seem bigger here. Lots to watch.

It's amazing that we've ridden just almost 4000 miles on our journey - it should be over 5000 when we get home, and maybe 20,000 or more when we get to Patagonia. This ride down the Pacific Coast has been about 1200 miles of bike-touring ecstasy. Beautiful beaches, perfect weather, easy campsites, a warm shower every night. We'll have to get used to more primitive situations as we head east.

Tomorrow we ride over the Golden Gate bridge into San Francisco - it's a banner moment - the end of our southward motion for now. We'll head east from here to Sacramento and then over the Sierra Nevada and hoping to scurry home by the end of October. Wish us well with the weather in the Sierras and the high desert!

Oregon Coast is much too much fun

We're just having an amazing blast on the Oregon Coast. It has to be the most fun bike touring we've ever run into. Every day there's a new sight. Yesterday we went sandboarding on the dunes, and then Jason at Seaside Glass let Nancy help with the glassblowing and create a vase!

Every night there's another beautiful State Park, with quiet, natural hiker-biker areas, for which we pay $4 each. And that includes the unlimited hot shower. And we meet the (many) other cyclists headed our way.

We could spend a month on this coast, and the weather is just amazingly wonderful. We still have had only 1 rain in the last month, and it was one night at a rainforest in the Olympic National Park. We're getting mighty spoiled. The raingear has drifted to the bottom of the panniers.

We're also out of bear country and have gotten sloppy about our food management. Last night a raccoon got into my food pannier and made quite a mess. No harm done, though. We just have to reorganize and get more granola, bread, milk, and coffee. A wakeup call though - just because there's no bears doesn't mean you don't have to take better care of food and trash.

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