Yes, I’m still alive! Actually I’m pretty good to be exact. Since I announced in my last report, that I would continue the journey no longer, a lot of time has passed, I have experienced a lot, but my opinion has not changed.
A winter in California is really just for the really tough! But despite of „winter“ temperatures around 60-70°F I see quite a few people taking their down jacket and gloves to the streets. I’m for my part rely on wearing a nice tan and my sunglasses. 🙂
Since I left Arcata and continued to make my way south, the number of cyclists is constantly increasing, most of them are „Roadbike“ riders with fancy carbon frames and tires that remind me of pizza cutters. Always combined with streamlined shirts and shorts, a woman called her husband affectionately ‚Lycra Men‘ 🙂 I have to admit, I’m a little jealous when they rush by me on the downhills or seemingly fly up the mountains. But twice Frank and I have overtaken one off these carbon racers, even on a uphill. Made my day 🙂 But I really love the other cyclists, because they get the cars to get used to bikes being on the road. That’s a good thing, since I had some streets where the Pacific was about two feet two my right… well, two feet right and a few hundred feet below me to be exact. Not really something for the faint hearted.
For the section from Arcata to San Francisco, there is nothing really spectacular to report. I learned what it means when you are a farmer in Mendocino County. The weather is off a certain specific kind that favors the growth a special type of plants which is not suitable for human consumption, so they must be burned and inhaled. 🙂 I just added my right glove to my lost list, I had brought it especially for the moderate climate in California. Luckily I dragged it through thousands of miles of snow and ice to lose it just as I need it. Scenic wise undoubtedly the Redwoods have been the highlight of this section, one night I even slept there. Because at the moment I can not insert images, I’ll do this at a later point in time.
In San Francisco, I had the pleasure to be able to spend a few days at Scotts place while I was waiting for my package with my replacement brakes from Germany to arrive. Scott and his wife Mariam gave me the opportunity, to go to two basketball games with them. In addition he gave me a couple of contacts in the south. A good friend of Scott, Ralph has then taken care of the manifold problems of Frank, so that my bike was standing as good as new after he had worked his magic on it. Well, unfortunately it didn’t prevent it from making trouble a few miles down the road again, but more on that later.
Taking a day of from my bike tour I was able to leave my bike for the day with Scott and then do the whole touristy attractions in SF, visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, the famous trolley ride and the visit of Chinatown are just a few of the many memorable moments during my tour. After my departure from Scott and Mariam, I visited SF again by bicycle. That was a completely different experience, apart from the drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and through downtown SF you get just a different feeling for this city, if you have ever taken your bike up one of those hills in SF you know what I’m talking about 🙂 This cruelty, Frank then thanked me with the loss of my three climbing gears 7-9. So I was left with only 18 instead of 27 gears, but luckily I hardly had any more mountains ahead of me.
My stay in SF however, was not over yet, because I had another appointment for the Super Bowl. Unfortunately Tzu-Hsin (or Astrid) lived on the other side of the bay, near the Berkley University and one must not go over the bridge, because there is too much traffic. Luckily I found out that there is a bike shuttle service. Meaning 14 bicycles on a trailer and 14 cyclists in a van that in my opinion was made for a maximum of 10. This really makes you feel closer, Luckily I had showered in the morning at Scott’s place 🙂 My time with Tzu-Hsin was really awesome we made a bicycle trip to the landfill 😉 and had a brilliant Super Bowl party had with her roommate. I had incidentally met Astrid on my tour trough the Redwoods and she had invited me to meet again with her in SF. After this great time together the goodbye was hard, but I had to keep going. So I got on my bike and went on with my tour to San Diego.
… I interrupt here and will continue to write later the rest of the story from San Francisco to San Diego … There are some quite interesting stories … tourists, women and park rangers, still to come 🙂