Days 108 - 121: Finding Friends, Rum and Help Along the Road

Entering the hot, windy, and flat Southern California coast

Fort Bragg, California to Lompoc, California 871 km

Time continues to fly on by, it is hard to believe that we are now just a few hundred kilometers from the Mexican Border, and a whole new chapter of the adventure will begin.  But the adventure along the US Pacific West Coast is still on!  Right now we are taking a rest day in Lompoc California...a funny little town in Southern California.  I (ali) have discovered the hard way, that antibiotics can result in increased sensitivity to sun.... Now I am hiding from the sun becuase I have a 'sun rash'.... Ick!

The last couple weeks have been filled with all sorts of adventures, highlighted by meeting some cool folks along the road and encountering a whole lot of kindness! 

For starters here are some photos:

USA Pacific West Coast: Fort Bragg, CA to Lompoc, CA

And to the Highlights...

Winding Steep Roads, the Yikes Team and Police Encounters

After leaving Fort Bragg, CA we were treated to a couple hundred Kilometers of riding along California's highway 1, which hugs the coast very closely....but if you know California you will also know that this is a rugged coast line.  We never got much higher than a couple hundred meters in elevation, but we were either climbing up steep grades or holding on for dear life coming down twisty hills for most of this time.  Glenn loved this (especially the downhill!), I on the otherhand, found it to be less than relaxing...there was not much a shoulder most of the time and although almost all the cars gave us a lot of space, some did not.   But the views were amazing, to say the least.

As we climbed up and flew down the many many hills on this stretch we met a lot of other cyclists, many finishing their travels in San Francisco.  We felt really lucky to happen upon (ok, they happened upon us...they caught up with us!), a trio cycling from New York to San Francisco...who called themselves the Yikes Team - Logan, Jocelyn, and Ali (yes...another one).  They just finished / were finishing thier degrees and decided to spend the summer riding east and finish in Logan's home town of San Francisco.  They are full of spirit and spunk...and were so much fun to ge to know - although thier trip is over, you can check out their very awesome blog here .  We rode with them for the afternoon, and then we all looked for a place to camp.   There was a lot of open space along the coastline...but a pesky fence seemed to be blocking our entry most of the way...until we found a perfect bicycle sized opening in the fence.  We wheeled our bikes in an started exploring and looking for a good place to pitch our tents.  Well...about 20 minutes later a police officer pulled up, turned on his loud speaker, and told us "You are on Private Property, I have been instructed to arrest anyone who crosses the fence line,  gather your things and leave immediately".  I happened to be the only one who actually heard I ran to get the others and we quickly 'crossed the fence line'.... To the safe side.  The officer ended up being really friendly.  He explained the about 20 miles of the coast line was owned by a 93 year old man who is, in fact, the largest Redwood Timber holder in California.  This man also has a lot of cows, and enjoys herding in the middle of the night.  The officer told us that he was glad that he found us, and not the old man....becuase it would not have been pretty.  He was kind enough to tell us that the state park line began a few miles down and we could camp anywhere in there if we wanted.... We ended up finding a beautiful spot to camp atop a cliff.

The San Francisco Saga

We were meeting my mom in San Francisco, but were arriving a day before she did.   Logan was so kind to offer his moms place for us to stay the night we arrived...they were also having a celebration dinner!  Our ride to Into the city started off fairly well.  We had good directions through the Suberbs of the city, and got to the Golden Gate bridge, without too much drama, around 5pm.  As we arrived however, the weather became super intense.  Sheets of fog....and soo soo much wind.  Here is a little video to illustrate....sorry about the quality....

Entering San Francisco

Somehow we made it across the bridge.  Again, Glenn thought it was the best ever, and I was a little freaked out.  When we got to the other side, and went to the information center I asked the women there if this was normal, she assured me that it was and told me that it was I had feared...the end of the world.  So we had made it across the bridge, we had a free map of San Francisco and we had the address of where we were going....we thought, perfect we will be there in no time.  What we had not accounted for were the hills of San Francisco...with grades that are reportedly up to 30%.  As we were battling our way up one of these hills.  A kind soul stopped and asked us where we were heading.  He gave us directions which would not force us to tackle such steep hills.  Unfortunately....they were not the most staight forward directions...and our free map was...well not the most detailed.   So we found ourselves lost in the Presidio, a large park, with fog and darkness setting in.  My spirits were tested as it got later and later, and we continued up and down the hills...but somehow we finally made it to Logan's about 9pm! We had an amazing dinner with them....and then a great breakfast in the AM!  Thank you to Logan and his mom!

Bicycle Repairs!

The last time we had anything major done to our bikes was Whitehorse, Yukon....about 4000km ago.  So things needed to be checked out a little.  We took our bikes to REI...and we want to give them a big thank you for helping to get us back on the road so quickly! I (ali) had to get two new wheels, a new chain (mine, apparently, was at 120% wear...that might explain the chain falling off so often), a new cassette, crank, and front derailleur... Yes, practically a new bike....but now it rides oh so sweetly.  Glenn also got a new chain and crank....we both opted for mountain bike style cranks, which means that the cogs are a little smaller and when are climbing hills we spin a little faster....basically hill climbing is a little easier.  This all put a little dent in the bank account, but we opted for pretty good parts, so the hope is that they will last longer despite the heavy use...

Travels with Ali's Mom in Big vs bikes in Monterey

My mom came and met us in San Francisco, and we spent an awesome week with her Travelling all the way to Big of the most spectacular places that we have visited yet.  My mom drove and we met up for lunch and at the end of the day....we had a week of being spoiled with real beds, eating out, and showering was the life!  We travelled through Monterey during during this time....and learned, as we were trying to book a place to stay, that the Rolex Motorsports Reunion was on....every bike tourists dream.   The roads were crowded, to say the least, and at one point as we were on our way to meet my mom for lunch we ended up on the route where the cars that would be racing the next day were about to do a tour.... So streets were lined with car lovers with their cameras ready to catch the photos of the gas guzzlers.....and we were peddling one point we were climbing up a particularly steep hill with a lot of spectators....and a traffic control person started whistling at us loudly telling us to pick up the sweat was dripping down our faces we responded 'we can't!'.... We made it to the top, and somehow escaped the maze of the reunion!  It was a very interesting juxtaposition....and part of me thought it might be the perfect venue for a protest against fossil fuels.... "Say no to Fossil Fuels, Riding Bikes Rules".... I might have chanted this a little as we were climbing up that hill....

Some good finds and Kindess on the road

It is always pretty amazing what you see on the side of the road....a lot of road kill, broken bungee cords, and garbage...ok, maybe that is not that amazing...but sometimes you find something really really good.  We have found water bottles (which we still have), rags, and a couple other useful things....but a few days ago we found a full bottle of rum...spiced with nine spices....ridiculous luck was with us that day.  To whoever lost your rum,  we are sorry that you did not get to enjoy it, but know that it went to a very good cause! 

We have also encountered all sorts of kindness on the road.  Just the other day a man with a Kermit the frog hat and a bright green VW Van waved us down.  He told us that he is a 'trail angel' and that he comes out a few days a week to give cookies, power bars, maps, and use of his phone to cyclists on the Pacific West Coast cycling route....pretty amazing stuff.  He used to tour a lot, and encountered all sorts of kindness, he has decided that he wants to pay it forward.  Others have flagged us down offering us water, food and even a place to always makes our day, and personally it makes me feel a lot better about the state of the world.  

Another Milestone...and introducing the Ukelele!

So we hit 6666km the other day, and we also bought a little Uke....what a great combination!!!!!

We wrote an awesome song...and did an awesome video, but unfortunatley the camera did not want to transfer to the we had to improvise, and ended up with the vintage style video....super cool!