Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day Two Hundred Fifty-nine, Date Saturday, November 14, 2009
Time in Saddle: 3:38
Distance for the Day: 27.86 miles From Stinson Bch To San Francisco, CA
Accumulated Trip Distance: 12,613 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 32’/22’, Highest: 207’ Accumulated: 806’
Speeds: Avg: 7.6 mph, Max: 30.1 mph
Weather: 40°
Expenditures: $13

I woke up all through the night every now and then, but would go right back to sleep, again (as usual). Once, at 4:15am, I poked my head out to check the weather and to see the beautiful stars. Orion was now leaning down, heading toward the western horizon; Mars was in Cancer, Sirius sparkled like “a diamond in the sky.” At 6am, I woke up for real, and got up to see a thin crescent Moon while I broke down my gear as the dawn brightened. Venus just popped its head up over the hills, and Sirius was still visible, though no other constellations were. There was quite a lot of moisture on the inside and outside of my tent fly, but I ignored it, as I knew I’d have plenty of time later, to dry out all my stuff. There was a pretty heavy stream of clouds coming out of the Golden Gate, beyond the town of Stinson to the south. I hoped they wouldn’t be sitting on any of the hills I planned to ascend. I didn’t see it last night, but at the further end of the lot, there was a small sign that said ‘no camping.’ Well, I don’t consider what I do really camping per se; I call it ‘overnighting,’ as I don’t light a fire, or cook food, or lounge around enjoying the scenery (much). I just set up my tent, hop inside, and after a while, go to sleep. Then in the morning, I get up before sunrise, break down, and am out of there without bothering anyone, and usually, without anyone even knowing I was there. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I’m sure by now, you’re quite familiar with my modus operandi, but I might not have ever explained how I justify my actions, which are admittedly not necessarily aligned to the letter of the law, but are so harmless, it’s hard to imagine anyone being even more than mildly irritated. Except, of course, for Mr. Pecs (Day Eighty-seven).

I made it into the town of Stinson Beach, proper, at 7:20am. I passed the familiar businesses along the way, noticed they had a new library I’d never seen before (I’m very familiar with this town, as I fly my hang glider from nearby Mt. Tamalpais, and land on the beach, here.) I stopped in at the mini mart, but they wouldn’t open until 8am, so I just pushed on.

After climbing up from Stinson along Hwy 1 on the ocean-facing mountains of the Marin headlands, it being Saturday morning, I called my Auntie M at 7:55am and chatted with her while looking out over spectacular ocean views. She was very excited that I would finish my excursion, and would be coming home. I could see the land across the waters of the Golden Gate, and could see the Farallon Islands away off in the ocean to the west. I continued to slowly work my way up this mountain, and quickly enough took off my jacket because as cold as it was, I was starting to sweat. I topped the mountain at 8:50am, and had a nice coasting ride all the way down into Marin City, where I stopped for breakfast at the Shorline Coffee Shop. I ordered eggs, toast, hot cocoa and hash browns ($13), and ate from about 9:15am to 10am. From there, I went into Sausalito to look for the route into the Ft. Baker Military Reservation that Street Atlas said was there, but for the last time, it tried to take me straight up a super-steep hill. On consulting with a local, I found out the route I wanted to find was a road that literally turned into a set of stairs. Hokay. I gave up on that route, and just took the road/bicycle route out of Sausalito towards the Golden Gate Bridge. It was getting pretty late in the morning – almost noon, by now. I had posted in my blog that I expected to finish some time between 1pm and 3pm, and I thought I’d better not try to get into the military reservation, or I’d be late. Along the way, though, I re-discovered the tunnel road that led into the military reservation (I’d been on it before, but coming from the other direction), and decided I could still make it without being too late. So, I rode the easy path that included a cycle lane, through the tunnel and into the military reservation. From there, I was able to find the road that would take me up and over the small mountain to the south Marin headlands, which has these amazing views of the GG Bridge and San Francisco. The grade was moderately steep, and shorter than I remembered, so I reached the top a lot quicker than I thought. I stopped to take some pictures and set up my helmet cam, and then continued down the steep road to the cyclist entry of the Golden Gate Bridge. I thought I might have to navigate some stairs getting onto the sidewalk that I would ride across, but either they changed it to make it easier, or I just forgot how easy it was, but all I had to do was ride through a large parking lot filled with cars and other cyclists (getting a lot of smiles as I whizzed past), and then zipped up and onto the bridge’s pedestrian and cycle path. I crossed the mid-span of the GG Bridge at 12:50pm, took some pictures, and headed down into Ft. Point to greet my family and friends.
After reaching the south end of the bridge, I proceeded to the road that took me down to Ft. Point, right at water level, and was heading toward my original Start Point 8 months, 14 days ago, when my old boss, Bill T, called my name. Hi Bill! We chatted as we continued the few dozen more yards to the Start Point in front of the fort, and when we got there, I looked around, and no one else that I knew was there. Hey! Where were my adoring fans? Nobody. Well that was a bit of an anti-climax. Eventually, family and friends did start to show up. Nobody thought I would be on time, so no one except Bill showed up on time. I had no idea I had such a reputation, but, as was pointed out to me later: in my earlier blogs, I described on several different occasions how I would misestimate arrival times, so that’s why everyone thought I would be late, this time. Demitol. Here’s who eventually did show up: my former boss, Bill T of the University of California; fellow amateur astronomy friends and co-volunteers, Debbie D and Rod S; former co-worker Steve O and his girlfriend Vicky; my sister Bev and her husband Hector; my hang gliding buddy Dave G; and my brother Rich and his wife, Dian (who had to come the furthest – from south San Jose!) After all the celebratory congratulations, hugs, handshakes and fielding a gazillion questions about the trip, folks started to leave, so at around 2:30pm, we loaded my trike into my brother’s truck, and then left Ft. Point at 3pm, heading over the Bay Bridge to Oakland, and home. Once there, we unloaded stored my trike in the garage, and then went over to pick up my uncle to go out for a celebration dinner at a fancy restaurant (Skates), in the Berkeley marina. After *that*, we all said ‘goodnight,’ and went back to our various homes. I got to sleep in my own bed, again: quiet, warm, dry, with all the familiar LEDs silently and gently blinking me to sleep. Well, I’m back.

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