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.|
|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.|
|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|
|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>|