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Montana to California – Part 9, Monteray CA

{ Thursday August 3rd, 2000 }

I am sorry that it has been so long since I updated this page. I had such a good time in California that I forgot to get back to it and I forgot to bring my camera with me to most places so I didn’t have many pictures either.

San Francisco was great. It was one of the highlights of the trip. I spent the two days I was there wandering around trying to soak it all in. I lucked out when it came to hotels. The first hotel I stopped at (the luxurious Super 8) had one room available for one night. I took because I didn’t feel like wondering the city with a full trailer. The room was small but neat. The window looked out over Lombard Street and the sounds of traffic sounded like those outside my room on Babcock St in Bozeman. In fact if I closed my eyes I could not tell that I was in the great city. I took a short nap and ventured out into the city. I climbed the “crookedest street” on Lombard and marveled at the tourists. I wondered how the people that lived there felt to be paying millions for their homes only to have dozens of tourist on their doorstep twenty-four/seven. I wandered with no specific direction in mind; just marveling to be in a city again I ended up at Fisherman’s wharf. A nice combination of working docks and tourist traps. I passed by all the shops, not stopping because I hate to shop alone. Saw a steel drum band that was very good. Felt buoyed by the capitalistic ideals of the punks who charged 2 dollars for “pictures with the freaks”. Saw the famous (I had never heard of them before) moving statures and wondered how long it took before they asphyxiated because their skin could not breathe. All these sites were wonderful to see. You may be wondering why I have no pictures of the sites on my site. I got sick of hauling everything I have with me. And I wanted to wander the city unencumbered by possessions so I left my camera and notebook and computer and bike and everything else at the hotel. It was wonderful to leave it all behind at the time but I must admit that I now wish I had taken some pictures. Ah well.

The journey out of San Francisco was not as pleasant as the journey in, but enlightening no the less. I worked on the website the morning I left so I didn’t leave the hotel until 11. I had no breakfast but I was confident that I would find something to eat before I passed out. Confidence can be a bad thing in those ill equipped to handle it. I left the hotel and got momentary lost and then discovered that I would have to climb some of San Francisco’s famed hills. I can safely say that they were the steepest hills I had to climb on my whole trip. When I got to the top I felt that I was going to throw up. My body had no energy left but I had to press on until I could find something. Found a little grocery store and had a delightful breakfast of coca cola and powerbars. Found that some streets had bike lanes; what a wonderful thing. Headed down 101 or 1 I forget. Through the towns on the outskirts of San Francisco. Pacifica, insert other towns here when I remember what they are. Much traffic ended up in Half moon Bay where I ended up eating at McDonald’s because I couldn’t decide on what to get. According to my map there was a campground in Half Moon bay. As I rode down the 1 I saw many State Beaches but no campground. I was tired and getting a little frustrated. I headed for one of the Beaches thinking that maybe I was mistaken about where the campground was. Found a bike path and followed it until I found tents. I didn’t see anywhere to pay so I just set up my tent. It was really quite a nice site about a hundred yards from the ocean. The bike path was well traveled by runners , rollerbladers, and r activites. I enjoyed laying in my tent and listening to snippets of their conversations. Tiff and James

Had a lovely ride from half moon bay to Santa Cruz. Along the way I stopped and watched the surfers. A one point I am certain I saw a whale. Stayed a campground in Capitola. One of the towns that make up the Santa Cruz area. As I was setting up camp another cyclist pulled in. I said hello and he said, ” Hey you’re almost done aren’t you? Monterey is only forty miles away.” I looked at him sideways. “How do you know where I am going? “, I asked wondering who this psychopath was that was harassing me and wondering if I could take him. It turns out I had met him before, briefly in Point Ray. (A little town north of SF) He had been touring with his girlfriend but she had gotten sick and was having a friend drive her home to San Luis Obispo (A wonderful name to say). He was a fourth grade teacher there. We had a wonderful conversation about bikes and biking that evening. As I was getting ready for bed, who should pull up but James. If you don’t know whom James is look at some of my past entries.

James and I spent the next day hanging out in Santa Cruz watching all the beautiful California women and the junior Baywatch tryouts. I invited James to come down to Monterey and stay with me at Tiffany’s, my dear friend form High School. We had a wonderful evening. Dinner at a fabulous Indian restaurant. That night as I was falling asleep I realized that although my trip was not over, the bicycling part was. It was a mixture of relief and fear I think. I was happy to finally be staying in one place for more than two days but now I would have to make decisions about what to do with my time. When I am touring it is easy to get up in the morning because I always know what to do; ride my bike to the next town on the map, Continue until desired destination is reached. Well here I am at my desired destination but what the hell do I do now.

The next day James left for the San Jose airport and Tiff and I left for Berkeley. The objective was to meet a bunch of her friends from CSU and head to Napa for some wine tasting. Of course Tiff and I got lost in Berkley but with the help of people on the street and so phone calls we were able to make it to our destination. Wine tasting is something that should be enjoyed in moderation. We enjoyed to great excess.

The idea is you drive down the road out of Napa and stop at a few of the 300 plus wineries that reside on it. For five to ten dollars you get to taste three to five wines. At the first vineyard we stopped at we met the owners son who had recently moved there from Chicago. He was about our age and took a liking to us so that instead of tasting five wines we tasted about fifteen. A good start to be sure unless one intended to retain their sobriety. We visited about five vineyards that day. I wish I could recommend my favorite to you but after a while it all tasted the same to me. Later it was off to a Mexican restaurant where I think we were the obnoxious table of the evening and then back to the hotel for some hot-tubbing. Bryan and Me at the bus stop

The next day Tiff dropped me off in San Fran so that I could see my cousin Bryan who was in town on business. We had a nice time wandering the city and he also took me to Mountain View and a little tour of the tech companies there. Bryan is also a computer kid so we had a good discussion about the industry and the opportunities therein. Took a bus from San Jose to Monterey. Finding the bus station was a fiasco. We drove around it several times before we actually saw it. Got back to Tiff’s at Monterey just in time for Nik to arrive in town. Left Tiff to her studying and went to Nik’s parents. I can’t thank Nik’s parents enough for letting me stay there. They have a beautiful home in Pacific Grove very close to the beach. The road through Nevada. A self portrait By Nik

Nik’s childhood friend Ben loaned us surf gear and Nik and I spent three days surfing with Ben. Apparently the waves weren’t that good (I can’t tell) but we had fun. It was a little frustrating for me because I could barely paddle out to the waves. I had a long board, which made it difficult to force the board under the waves as they broke. I would spend all my time paddling until I was exhausted only to be washed back to the shore by a set of waves. However the few times I made it out past the shore breaks were very rewarding. Apparently at one point I was in a rip-tide and Nik said he could see me getting sucked out to sea. I managed to catch a few waves sort of. Paddling out there made me respect the ocean much more. I could really feel the power of the ocean.

Nik’s dad Dave owns a 30-foot sailboat with four other guys. We motor out of the marina, head into the wind and raise the sails and begin to sail until tragedy hits. Dave was at the helm. He called out, “Prepare to Jive” . . . . “Jive Ho!!!” It looked to me that Tom had acknowledged the statement but when the boom came around he was in the way. BOOM!! To his credit Tom took the blow like a champ. If I had been hit in the head like that I would have gone over the side for sure. Tom just grabbed the rail and stood there. He had a two-inch gash on his head. Nik said he could see the white of Tom’s skull. Needless to say our sailing excursion was over. Tom got stitches and we went back to Nik’s parents for a bbq. It turns out that these guys had done many tours before so we spent the evening discussing bikes, trips and tech toys to bring along.

Nik had to get back to Jackson for work so we drove his pickup back to WY. It was an 18-hour marathon across the deserts of Nevada and Utah. I spent three days in Jackson riding with Nik and then he gave me a ride back to Bozeman. And that is the end of my trip.

Back where I started the entrance gate at Yellowstone National Park

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