Sunday, February 12, 2012

San Francisco and The End i think.

I've been thinking about writing and forgetting to write for about a month now... so here we are.  I am mostly motivated to write because, to be totally frank, every time I talk to my grandfather, Hal, he asks me in his radio-broadcaster baritone voice when I'm going to wrap it up here on the blog.  If you've ever met my Grandfather, you'd have written this the first time he asked you. Then he tells me he's really proud of me and my adventure- I'm jobless, living in a closet, with a bike, far from home. So here's to Hal, who's always got my back, and is still curious as to what exactly I am doing out here, while the rest of our audience is content to know that we are safe.  Here's the update for you all yeah yeah yeahhh.

To wrap up Tour de Fun...around December 20, Emerson and I went our separate ways giving each other more hugs than we shared our whole trip combined, with an unknowing feeling for both of us. We had slept side-by-side for 90 days now, and we were splitting up, unsure of when we'd see each other again.   Damn, I felt like I wasn't sure what to do with myself after riding across the country and having Emerson become such a close friend to me....

  Well I went gallivanting around LA. Relaxing on the beach, reading a lot, spending time at the art galleries and Chinatown, eating candy for breakfast, and having a Christmas picnic on the beach. Emerson went to Chicago by train and partied for New Years.  I met up with friends in Big Sur for the holiday. It was BEAUTIFUL and pretty laid back- with 14 cute and hip city folks, 6 dogs, and lots of good food cooked over the fire.  We struggled to stay awake until midnight.

I pedaled the road up the coast not without incident, as the 460 miles brought me good weather, foggy weather, getting lost, riding in the moonlight, and getting scared  out of my wits while "stealth camping." Then one night I was awoken by the train every hour, and another night I was kept up all night by screaming college kids at a campground. (imagine 10 high-pitch Asian girl screeching and that is what I'm dealing with here).  The days were filled with hills, headwinds, and holding hands with the Pacific Ocean.  I also met up with a friend for two nights and we slept on a cliff overlooking the ocean with an almost full moon, which was beyond amazing.

I rolled into San Francisco, my final destination, on Wednesday, January 4th. I was greeted by my best friend Claire, a bottle of wine, cheese, bread, and a full moon for our dinner picnic in the sand dunes. Since then, I've passed a month in this city somehow keeping myself pretty busy.  I live in a closet-turned-tiny-bedroom in a cozy, lovingly bizarre and magical house right on the Beach looking at the Pacific Ocean with some lovely people and real characters.  My landlady is an 80-yr old woman named Carol whom I truly adore; she rides her bike, body surfs in the ocean every day, and tells great stories of her past and present adventures.  There is a crowded garden in the back with chickens, succulents, and orchids EVERYWHERE. There is huge mural on the wall outside and wind chimes everywhere you turn.  The weather is a bit of an adjustment- warm and sunny, then freezing and misting- as are all the unfamiliar faces everywhere.  I know almost no one here, and I'm used to seeing all of my friends in Knoxville almost daily.  With time, I'm sure that will change...  There's also alot of concrete, but with Golden Gate Park and the ocean so close I am dealing with it by sleeping with my window open at night.  I'm applying to work on farms just outside the city, so I'll have some break from the concrete (hoping someone hires me!) soon enough. 

 I've explored the city a lot, met people, am still trying to make friends, filled out job applications,
volunteered at farms, took a 5-day trip up to Sonoma and Pt Reyes Seashore, rode to Mt. Tamalpais, went camping, ate delicious exotic ethnic food, went mountain biking (not very much sadly enough), volunteered at the Bike Co-op, read several books, tracked a badger, swam in the ocean, met some cowboys, had a job interview,  and have gone mushroom hunting.  This city is diverse and bustling and bursting with energetic and creative people-and bikes!  Besides occasional bouts of loneliness that I guess are bound to happen, things here couldn't be much better.  I'm searching for jobs, and the outlook is relatively good.... I'd say generally California is treating me well.

This evening, February 11th, I just rode home on gravel roads and trails through the park, from a party with lovely people who are gourmet cooks; the food and the company was just as inviting and warm as the outdoor fire.  The pines, the oaks, the mushrooms and the woodpeckers were all out to bid me goodnight on my ride home through the woods in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  I am happy, healthy, and plan to be here for a while. 

I don't think I'll keep writing on this blog, but might start a different blog to write about my time out here.  I doubt any one will read it; I just like to write and right now my subject is my own life.  As my friend Eric said, "this is the end of one helluva chapter in your life H Dog.  Now the beginning of another one."  Yeah E dog, you are right.   Hopefully the next few years will bring the good fortune, good friends, and good times that the past few have brought! Woot woot!

Okay well I am signing off here, and hope this was entertaining, informative, or both, to at least some of you.  If nothing else I hope Hal enjoyed it.

California, the Coast, and the Castro to you,


Sunset. somewhere between LAand San Francisco.

Elephant Seals.

Big Sur

Ice plants. Very cool, very invasive.

Big Sur area.

Big Sur, New Years Day

wild flower. yet to be identified.

Big Waves in Santa Cruz

South of San Francisco. maybe 80 miles.

Final day of tour. 

My cowboy sticker is a little worse for the wear...
Petaluma, CA. The farm where I applied to work.

Jade plants

Somewhere between here and there.

The ride home from Marin Headlands

The day I decide to ride the touring bike to the top of Mt Tam.  It took a long time.

Missing the big man on Emerson St.

Pt Reyes National Seashore

Pt Reyes National Seashore

Pt Reyes, Estero Trail

Camping in Pt Reyes with sweet Claire

Banana slug!

Eating Vietnamese noodle soup for breakfast with my friend Josh.

Looking like a geek on tour in Sonoma County

Jack London's old stomping grounds

Nate and Black Trumpets

Black Trumpets, so delicious.

Sonoma County. vineyard land.

Valley Live Oak. Marin County


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Travel Plans

For those of you who are interested, this is the way it's all going down.  Emerson and I went to Los Angeles separately; he rode to the Stone Brewery in Escondido, then took a bus to LA; I just rode and prayed it wouldn't rain while I camped under a bush.  We met up in LA at my buddy Douglas' sweet house in Venice Beach (hip area of town two blocks from Muscle Beach yeahhhh).  We did some staging, rearranging, and chilled out.  Then Tuesday Big Cat (Emerson) headed up the coast on busses and trains to Petaluma, where he is meeting with a frame builder for his custom mountain bike. Ughhh! 

I'm in Venice for Christmas; Emerson is in San Francisco.  He is taking a train to Chicago for New Year's, them driving down to Knoxville with friends.  And he might head back down to Baton Rouge soon after that too... hmm.

As for me, I'm still here in Venice Beach, hard-core chilling, keeping an eye on the waves, and checking out some art museums... I am leaving LA the day after Christmas, with hopefully enough time and good weather to ride to San Francisco before New Year's.   Once I get there, the bike tour is actually over, and I'll start a new chapter of Tour de Fun in the city.  The best I could hope for is honestly more of the same.

A couple random pictures from the last few days of riding...

California sun yeah yeah

California roadside

wind mills!

Sharon and her family took us in our last night on the road. It was cold and we were
Consulting the map outside of a grocery store when Sharon asks us, "Do you need a warm place to stay tonight?
And maybe a warm meal?"  Ummm.... YES.   What wonderful people and a lovely family.

Sharon's dog.

Riding towards Ocean Beach