To Samuel P Taylor SP 71km
To San Franscisco 69km
We've been invited to join a family for a BBQ dinner. Lots of hamburgers, fresh veges, and interesting chat. The family is a mixture. A couple of Americans, two South African brothers, and a couple of Latino women. The brother had lots to say about Aussie Rugby..... some of it not complimentary. The Americans were into Stand Up Paddle boards, and the Latinos into family and children. They are enjoying the last week of the summer holidays, before the influx which happens over the last weekend. I've been cycling in the USA since just before summer, Memorial Day Weekend, until just after Labor Day Weekend. It certainly has not been what I would call a "typical" summer, with the rain and cold of the East Coast, the intense heat of the South, the dry of the central deserts, and the fog of the NW. Perhaps Southern California will still be warm, sunny, dry and the water might even be a swimmable temperature.
We continue to meet amazing people. Joel, a nurse from Portland, is cycling to Mexico with his poodle, Roxy. Roxy is pretty cute. Sits in a adapted bag on the rear of the bike, watching everything.
Neil and Ali are from Brisbane. I don't know why, but when ever I meet Aussies while touring, we seem to very easily drift into conversation. It's really nice. They are mixing cycling with occasional spurts of kms in Rental Cars. This gives them the opportunity to cover more ground, and visit areas of particular interest. They have got a small problem, however.Their USA Visa started when they first touched down in the USA, even though they were just transiting to Canada. This means that their exit flight, from the USA is about a week after their visa expires. Reminds me of a similar situation Ju and I had in 1995.
We cycled into a small town looking for a snack. The obvious place was where all the cyclists were. The Santa Rosa Cycling Club was out for its Friday ride. The club has over 400 members, and has five organised rides a week, and we just happened to meet them all at one of their favourite watering holes. Some were very interested in our adventure, but others quite scathing...... "Oh yeah. You've ridden from NZ. How'd you cycle across all that water?" Another offered us beds just out of San Franscisco if our other arrangements fell through. Thanks Allen.
We cycling through some beautiful country, in warm sunshine, mainly off busy roads. But as we close in on San Franscisco, a fog begins to descend. We are getting close to the Golden Gate Bridge, the traffic is getting thicker, and now there are hundreds of tourists on bicycles, descending from the bridge. Screaching brakes, chaos, traffic congestion. It's very obvious that a very high percentage of these "cyclists" have never been on a bicycle before, nor will they be cycling back uphill towards the bridge.
It's a steep climb, but we successfully dodge the mayhem. It's very windy on the bridge, but not completely fogged in, and a pretty cool experience, despite all the other riders, one I'm glad I saved to share with Ju. The foreshore of San Franscisco was pretty crazy as well, but we had a mission..... navigate to our Warmshowers host, before his mid afternoon appointment. I had learnt about the steepness of the streets here when Hannah and I had tackled Leavenworth Street, but it seems whatever your plans, steep streets pop up in front of you. Today our route encountered stairs. Bother. The detours hit steep, very steep, uphills. Ju was muttering........
We managed to get to Nathan's before his appointment. Yeh. (Thank you Nathan, Jenny and AnnaLisa for you amazing hospitality. It was very, very much appreciated.) And then we spent two very relaxed days exploring San Franscisco. The Presidio, Fishermans Wharf, and Golden Gate Park. The crowds at Fishermans Wharf were crazy, being the last weekend of the holidays. The skaters and drum circles in the park were amazing. The second day included REI, Ju's favourite shop in the world, and a return to the Park on our bikes. But the biggest challenge, and achievement was mastering the public bus system. Woohoo. And to top it off we were "Blessed" by a couple of African American women, who had both see God, and were also "Blessed". Thanks Sisters. Ju and I truly are "Blessed", and are really enjoying this time together.