Posted on 5/1/02
WorldRiders2 Prepare for the Road!
The days leading up to departure were filled with stress and physical difficulty. We moved our furnishings to storage, sold our Nautica Van to pal, Debbie Plies and Cat worked on two Real Estate transactions. Yes that and the impending departure took their toll.
In the midst of all that trauma, our water heater burst and the entire downstairs area was flooded. We lived our last few days at home with the roar of fans, drying the place out.
All these things were just a test for our ability to handle stress and we know that we will experience plenty of that once we’re on the road.
APRIL 12, 2002, THE ODYSSEY BEGINS
The first of 1000 days on the road!
Oxnard, CA to Santa Barbara, CA
We spent our last night in town at The Casa Sirena Hotel. It was almost mid-night by the time our heads hit the pillows. Anxiety to get underway had us both up and packing by 5:30 AM. We wrapped up by a fast trip to the storage to lock the last of our not so valuable valuables.
By 9:30 our family had begun to arrive. Daughter Lori and Son-in-law Dave were followed closely by Cat's parents, Earl and Glenys. Daughter, Stephanie and our three grandkids, Timothy, Patrick and Aubrie rounded out the group. We met and they watched our
frenzy then calm sat in and by 10:15 we were cycling toward the office followed by family, honking and waving.
Friday morning has been our regular Sales Meeting for the almost 10 years since we started Patterson & Tintorri Realtors. We decided to push off after the meeting so that we could say our final fair wells to our Real Estate family and friends, all at one time.
It was spectacular bedlam. The Star, our local newspaper was their taking pictures and many of our friends and family members were shooting pics, too. We felt like movie stars with paparazzi in our faces, after the perfect picture. Jeff Paige had written a song about WorldRiders2.com. He played his guitar as he and Jack Peterson sang.
A lot of hugs, some tears then a cheer as we stepped on board and pushed out of the driveway. Friends, Teresa, Janie, Connie, Leslie and Michael joined us for the first few miles. What a great kick off for our next 1000 DAYS.
Teresa who is the lead guitar and vocalist with Acadiana stayed with us for more than 15 miles. She is a free spirit and really wanted to just keep going. She has decided that she will join us somewhere along the trail. As we pulled up I tried to take a video shot and couldn’t get out of his toe clips. I became the first WorldRider to hit the ground.
It was a beautiful morning. We were sailing right along, considering the bloated baggage that clung to our bikes. Cabo in Carpentaria was our first stop. We were looking for carbohydrates. We sat on the patio and chatted with 3 cyclists. The staff of Cabo was intrigued with our trip. We wolfed down some great Burritos then took a picture with them. The manager, who lived in Oxnard, was so excited that he gave Pat a Cabo polo shirt.
The weather began to cool and a head wind started to take some of the fun out of the day. It became obvious that we couldn’t make our intended target of El Capitan State Beach. We made a field decision to can the plan and stay in Santa Barbara.
As we entered town we were swept up in rush hour traffic. The line of cars were impatient and as we passed a big semi truck a woman in front of it veered right, probably to check the length of the line ahead of her. She paid no attention to her mirror on the right. Pat slammed on the brakes. Cat hit her brakes but couldn’t get her foot out of the clip. She almost fell under the truck then veered right and almost went over the edge down a 10 foot embankment. At the last possible moment she pulled free from the clip and managed to stay upright, shaky but still upright.
The evening was full of Lori, Dave and good Italian food.
DAY 2, APRIL 13, 2002, 999 DAYS TO GO
Barbara, CA to Buellton, CA
Coffee with friends, John and Karen. Cat and Karen worked together some years ago and John is Cat’s Stock Broker. Lots of laughs and well wishes.
It was 12:00 Noon by the time we got out the door. Rolling up State Street we paused for a photo in front of a giant Penny Farthing.
We bought some cinch straps at a shop next door, to pull the bags down tighter then finally coasted down under the freeway. As we emerged from under the bridge Cat dropped into Granny Gear but missed. The chain spun, she called out in fear and went down hard on her right hip. She lay there for just a moment then laughed. A guy walking by said, “Very graceful!” That lightened the moment and the other witnesses laughed, too. Cat is a real trooper. As I lifted the bike off of her leg she said “Darn, I wish you had taken a picture of that!”
There was more up than we remembered on State Street. It took more than an hour to get to Goleta.
We had a sandwich then headed north toward our original goal of Santa Maria. It was certain that we wouldn’t get there, we had fallen 20 miles short of our projected destination yesterday. Dave and Lori were ahead of us enjoying a wine country tour so we called them (wonderful what the cell phone has done for cyclists and civilization in such a short time.)
They agreed to try to cancel our reservation and get rooms in Buellton. That is 30 miles closer.
Bad news! All hotels were booked. We were stuck. As we approached the grade up to Buellton at 3:30 we made another decision. Cat said, “No way I can climb that hill tonight.”
Another call, Dave and Lori came back to us, we through the bikes in the back of his truck and headed for Santa Maria. (Dave drew a line in the sand on the shoulder of the road. We would back track in the morning but we were finished for this day!)
AS it worked out, it worked out. The kids loved the old Inn. It was like déjà vu for me. I worked with Martin V. Smith when I returned from the first time around. He was a great guy, a real influence on my life and a visionary.
Santa Maria Inn was in total disrepair and about to be demolished when he bought
it in 1984. He saved it and returned it to the splendor it had enjoyed in the days after it was first opened in 1917.
We had a great meal with the kids in the Garden Room, the Inn’s elegant dining room then slipped into the ancient looking bar for karaoke. (We participated as spectators, only.)
DAY 3 APRIL 14, 2002, 998 DAYS TO GO
CA to Santa Maria, CA
A too big breakfast then we did the back track to Dave’s line in the sand. We were all a little sad but we were all in a hurry to get going. We had “That” hill with its 6% grade ahead of us. Dave and Lori were going back to our house. The last thing to go would be “La Imp” our ‘61’ Imperial. Dave and Lori will take it home and baby it for us for the next 997 days. (This will be a good thing for La Imp. Dave is Service Department Manager for a Dodge (Chrysler) dealership in Orange County.
The hill that Cat had feared so mightily was not that tough. Oh, sure, we used our Granny Gears a few times but we were soon screaming down into Buellton. It was a beautiful, sunny day but the wind was beginning to show a promise of things to come.
Without stopping, we rolled to Los Alamos and had a terrific sandwich at a place called Quackenbush Café. (Shades of California’s former Insurance Commissioner who has since fallen from grace.)
A pleasant surprise, Leslie, who cycled the first few miles with us, drove past then honked and waved and stopped. She and her friend Richard were going to Avila Beach for a couple of days. Leslie has been playing off stage rub board with Acadiana for several years and wants to be KNUCKLETTE while Knuckles is away. We talked, hugged then they drove away and we went back to listening to the wind whistle in our ears.
Due to our late start and slow going in the wind we didn’t get back to the Santa Maria and it nearly sucked the remaining energy out of me.
We dined again in The Garden Room. Our server, Tina was pretty excited when Cat told her about “Cookin’ with Cat”. She had asked the Chef if they would participate. He wasn’t going to be there but agreed to share a recipe. They prepared it, Tina served it and we took pictures then ate it with gusto! (See Cookin’ with Cat, Santa Maria Inn, Chicken Fontina.)
We had a very good time learning about Tina, the single Mom of two teens. She was a transplant from Seattle via Maui, Hawaii. We thought that Santa Maria would have been pretty dull after either of those two places but she felt it was a good place to raise her kids and she has a brother close by for times of need.
She was so helpful that we overindulged. She suggested, we ordered a wonderful version of lemon cheese cake. WOW!
DAY 4, APRIL 15, 2002, 997 DAYS TO GO
CA to San Luis Obispo, CA
Pack, pack, re-pack. Another big breakfast and another extremely slow start. We were finally out, into the wind by 11:30 AM. The decision to take the freeway was mine, all mine. I had ridden the back roads when I came south the last time around. It was not a good alternative. Too many ups and downs and too many way out of the way detours. Once on 101, we had to put our heads down and pedal. The wind was brutal from the start. Our two greatest hazards were trucks screaming by at 70 MPH and those pesky on and off ramps. The ramps were always a dance of sorts between us and impatient drivers.
The weather report had predicted 40 MPH winds. The prediction appeared to be right on! It was definitely up our noses and it was stiff. We pushed hard and finally arrived at the off ramp to Arroyo Grande. The ramp was closed. They were trimming the branches of the trees and chipping them up in a cloud of dust and noise. We started to go on when a Highway Patrolman stepped out of the dust and motioned us over.
He was a big guy and buffed to the max. His arms lay crossed on his overdeveloped chest and he took a stance of authority. “You can’t ride on the freeway,” he said. “We’ve been getting calls and we will have to give you a ticket if you continue.”
I pointed out that we had just passed a sign that indicated that the freeway was part of the Bicentennial Bike Trail. He wasn’t impressed and repeated the threat of a ticket. Cat asked where we should ride and he said, simply, side streets then turned and retreated back into the dust and noise.
We pedaled though the Beach Cities, Arroyo Grande, Pismo and Shell. We met a cyclist, Joe, I think, at an intersection. He suggested that we should find a haven, have some food and wait out the wind. His descriptive was, “The flags are flyin’ straight out and won’t quit flappin’ til at least 4:00 PM.” He rode on down wind and we ignored his good advice. We continued to struggle and finally pushed our way into Avila Hot Springs at 4:00 PM.
We had a coke and the young guy who served it told us that it was 8 miles into San Luis Obispo and the wind was always a head wind, no matter which way you were riding. He was definitely right about the direction we were headed.
We asked direction from a couple who were just starting to ride down toward the beach. A gal who was walking heard and pointed out the direction. It was the same way she was going. She set off up hill, we stepped into our pedals and were soon bogged down. We couldn’t catch her. Just as we crested the hill she started to jog. We still couldn’t catch her. Then, on a level spot we rode along with her and she told us about the road into SLO. During the conversation the road pitched upward and she jogged away from us.
I told her, as we passed on the next downhill, that she would beat us to SLO. She laughed but I was serious.
Finally we hit the flat and waved back as we pulled away from her and into San Luis Obispo. Another 4:30 arrival. We pushed up hill in diminishing wind looking for a place to stay. The local Chamber of Commerce wasn’t very helpful. We pulled back out and moved upward. Our friend, Walt had indicated that Hotel row was on upper Monterey Street. He had suggested The Quality Inn. Catherine called out, “How about this place?”
The Adobe Inn had escaped my peripheral vision. It was small, quaint and displayed a VACANCY sign. We pulled in, $79.00 including breakfast sounded great so we made camp for the night. The room was clean. It had everything one could need, save a little elbow room. Once we had the bikes and bags inside there was little room to turn around.
Apre shower, we walked a half mile to a great Italian Restaurant. Cat was feeling the stress of cycling all day into the wind without any food. We ate then retreated back to our Adobe Hacienda. I typed, Cat sat then reclined then conked. She was beyond tired and completely depleted.
DAY 5, APRIL 16, 2002, 995 DAYS TO GO
San Luis Obispo,
Our first day off. Wouldn’t you know, we couldn’t sleep. Our eyes popped open at 6:00 AM and we began rummaging through the bags looking for ballast that we could rid ourselves of. We decided to send one of our computers ahead to our friends, Franklin and Aura in San Francisco. We won’t have much use for them once we began the trek up Highway 1.
The Inn Keeper, Jim Towles was a great host and cook. We recommend The Adobe as a cute place to stay but we decided to move on seeking a larger
space to spread things out and repack. (We have been able to keep the bikes in our room every night.) Long time friend and Realtor Walt Behn met us, at our new hotel and chauffeured us to his office. We sat up both computers and tried to connect to the internet via his cable. It was a dismal lesson in ineptness. Walt readily admits that his 15 year old son, Martin maintains all of the equipment. There definitely is a generation gap these days when it comes to technology.
We walked downtown in a quest for swim suits and a few other essentials. (New space to fill in the bags?) Walt met us and after a stop for maps at AAA he gave us a tour of Edna Valley and SLO.
Cat is determined to get out early tomorrow to beat the wind. We walked to a Mexican Restaurant, good food and Margaritas then completed the re-pack. We were ready to roll.
DAY 6, APRIL 17, 2002, 994 DAYS TO GO
Obispo, CA to Cambria, CA
Celebration of our earliest start was short lived. It was sprinkling, a surprise April shower. I rode in my wind breaker, Cat wore her rain coat. It was only slightly uncomfortable. Walt met us near Cal Poly University. The drizzle had stopped. He wanted to feel the joy of riding an overstuffed LandRider. He wobbled up the parking lot and back then questioned our sanity and blessed our journey. There it was, that old always meeting someone new everyday and always leaving someone behind the next.
We were on our way to Cambria. It is only 30 miles but will be our jumping off place for the wilds of highway 1. The sun broke through and it was a perfect morning for a bike ride. Cool with a slight breeze. The breeze was just a omen of things to come.
Morro Bay was ours, 12 miles in just an hour. That was the perfect ride in our dream plan. We visited the waterfront, took a few pictures and fueled up on banana, soy bars and a lemonade.
Once back on Highway 1, the wind began to pick up as had been predicted. The scenery was spectacular. Fields of green, rolling hills dotted with cattle and horses. The ups of those hill became more and more difficult for us as the winds began to howl.
Other than a couple of stops for a bite of banana or soy bar, we just stared into the wind and pedaled. We did walk up a couple of the steepest hills which, believe it or not, was a good break from the grind.
The final walk of the day was the hill up to the Cambria city limits then a fast swirling down hill in side winds into the quaint little village. We had only two things on our minds. Get out of the wind and get a bowl of soup.
Robin’s had the best Salmon Bisque we had ever eaten and the bread was to die for. Cat immediately set about setting up a Cookin’ episode and we reserved a table for dinner. A couple seated next to us made good conversation. They were on a vacation that would include a memorial meeting in honor of her brother. He died last year but requested that his friends and family meet at a certain bar and hoist one in celebration of his life on the one year anniversary of his passing. She was pretty philosophical in part due to her experience as a Hospice Volunteer.
The staff was pretty impressed with our effort. One cute young girl even collected our autographs.
I shopped motels and found a bargain. The Burton Drive Inn had a huge suite on the ground floor for $89.00. The best part of the bargain was Giles, the guy who checked us in. He is from South Africa and quite and interesting character. We talked cars because there was a collection of models in one of the cabinets. (The place is full of statuary, bronzes and lots of hanging art. The original house has been devoured over the years by remodeling and additions. It is almost garish in a unique sort of way.)
I told Giles about our 61 Imp then he talked of his love of an 89 Cadillac. It has 180,000 miles on it and needs work. He may have to replace the engine and that ruins his attempt to put a million miles on the original car.
Giles was really interested in our Odyssey. He is from South Africa, what he says is now Zimbabwe. His advice about travel there was “know who you’re dealing with and carry whiskey.” He says life is cheap and they will kill you for a bottle of whiskey.
Dinner at Robins was even more fun than lunch. Cat met with the owner, Robin. He declined her request for the recipe of his wonderful Salmon Bisque. Seems that he sells it and a few others in a cook book and felt that posting it on the internet would erode the value of his book.
Robin did share his wonderful Vanilla Custard Bread Pudding. We loved it and hope you will, too. (Check Cookin’ with Cat)
I had an interesting conversation with a guy seated next to us. He was headed home from a week in Palm Springs. Very interesting man. He was reading a Tom Robbins book. Says it is great, light, satirical reading. I told him that I wanted to write like that. He said that was his dream, too. I asked if he was a writer and he said, “Yes, but I can’t quit my day job.” He promised to send us an e-mail.
DAY 7, APRIL 18, 2002, 992 DAYS TO GO
Cambria, CA to Cambria Campground, CA
It was tough, getting out of bed. Hard to tell if it was the wind and hills yesterday or that
last bottle of Chardonnay last night. I worked hard getting the journal up to date. Cat
talked with friends who live here in Cambria but was unable to connect. They are actually
the daughter and son-in-law of friends of Cats parents.
While I slaved away over the keyboard Cat set out to find the Bicycle Shop to look at rain
pants. The sprinkle as we left SLO yesterday may have been an omen?
It was 11:00 by the time I finished, she got back and we lashed the bags to the bikes.
Giles had told us about an office services/copier business. We spotted it on Main Street
and decided to try to send the text of our travels and the pictures to be posted on the web-
site. The place was surprisingly busy. Several employees and lots of customers streaming
in and out. New owners Adrina Burbank and Bill Mueller had just taken over when the
place opened at 9:00 AM this morning.
They were terrific. Both had fairly extensive experience with computers and pitched right
in to get my job done. They have a plan to expand computer services but at that time they
only had one line that could access the internet. It was under a counter in the front of the
store. They even gave me a stool to sit on and cut me loose.
Sending the text was a relative breeze. When it came time to download the pictures the
plot thickened. Cat was tired of standing around so she set out in a quest for some
groceries, lunch and things for our first camping experience.
Both Adrina and Bill spent a lot of time working with me trying to get the photos to our
web-master, Jock. I chose 25 pictures. When I was ready to submit them Bill took a look
and said it would take several hours to send that many high quality pics over the phone
line modem. I asked if he would e-mail them from his home where he has high speed
cable. He was actually excited about doing that then had another great idea. Since it
wasn’t crucial that we get the pictures to Jock immediately we could pull a disk off and
ship it UPS.
Another glitch, our computer decided not to recognize the fact that it had a disk in the
drive? So Adrina and Bill spent at least an hour with me trying to get the machine to
respond. All to no avail, finally Cat called from the Grocery store, the Cookie Crock, and
let me know that she had been sitting outside, eating her sandwich and freezing. We gave
It was a pretty good pull up to the Cookie Crock. Cat was crouched on the curbing just
finishing her sandwich. I wolfed down a sandwich then we finally hit the road by 1:30.
What had been a gentle breeze was now a fairly strong headwind. As we pulled out onto
Highway 1 we were blasted by gusts up to 35 MPH. It was obvious we weren’t going
very far. Buffeted and wobbling as traffic sped by we were soon forced to walk and the
most demeaning thing about walking was that we were going down hill. The sign said,
“San Simeon State Beach Campground, ½ mile”. We knew, without a word between us
that we would spend the night there.
The camp sites were visible from the highway but the entrance was up and so, we pushed,
up. Once we turned the corner inland we were pushed right up to the Park entrance.
Our first night of camping would be after just a 4 mile ride. Our first night of camping
would be in howling wind. Campsite 102 was slightly sheltered from the wind but was
also in the shadows.
With only the experience of setting the tent up in our living room, we sat about
establishing our home in the blustery shade. We were squeezed in between 4 guys to our
right, who looked like woodsmen. They were intent on scavenging large driftwood logs
from the beach then holding them over their heads and throwing them down, trying to
break them into small enough pieces to pile onto their already blazing fire. On our right
was what at first looked like a single Dad with 3 young, unmanageable kids.
We went about setting up camp and one of the kids seemed to want to join us. The Dad
called to her then greeted us. Funny, how things may seem one way but are often another.
He lives in Cambria. His wife had gone to pick up their daughter from school. They just
enjoyed bringing the kids to the beach and camping close to home in case they needed
Once the Mom returned, they fired up and he began to cook. We chatted back and forth
as Cat’s teeth chattered. Seeing that we were limited to our little burner for cooking he
brought us a salad with croutons he had made. We gratefully accepted and wolfed them
down as we stirred our Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. We asked the Dad if he would like to
contribute a camp recipe to “Cookin’” but he couldn’t think of any. Later the kids came
over and told Cat that they had a great campout recipe. They loved to roast marshmallows
but their twist was that they would press M&M’s into them. They did a demo and sure
enough, the chocolate did melt, not in their hands or mouths, but inside the
An interesting couple, Steve and Christy Janis had moved to Cambria from Ojai three
years ago. They wanted to escape the crowded feeling and high prices of real estate. They
do telemarketing from their home so they could live anywhere. Christy had lived in
Lancaster, CA where my Brother Bob lives. She thought that she knew him. Another
example of “Small World.”
Steve kept saying that the wind would die down as the sun set. It was still blowing pretty
good at 8:00 PM so we decided to crawl into the tent. There isn’t much to do and it is
easier to lie down than sit in a tent. As we reclined, our eyelids drooped. We were
sleeping by 9:00.
At 3:00 AM we made a joint venture run to the toilets. The wind had stopped. The sky
was crystal clear and filled with a million stars. It was so cold that our breaths hung in the
air in front of us as we walked.
DAY 8, APRIL 19, 2002 993 DAYS TO GO
Cambria Campground, CA to Plaskett
It seemed that we were awake every hour on the hour. By 6:00 AM we stuck our noses
out the flap of the tent. It was cold, still but cold. We lay back in until 7:00.
The sun was coming up but the trees across from us kept us in the shade. We discovered
a thin layer of ice on all of our bags on the bikes. Another lesson, always cover the bikes
every night. It may not freeze like last night but it will usually be wet.
Our little butane burner brought boiling water to the table that soon made two bowls of
instant oatmeal. We cut our two bananas into the bowls and actually enjoyed the mush
with a cup of pretty strong coffee made in our Java Press. A slick operation where we put
finely ground coffee in the thermos then pour boiling water over it. When we place the
cap on there is a plunger handle on it. We let the coffee steep a little then pushed the
handle down and pressed the grounds to the bottom of the pot. Warm and pretty good.
By 9:45 we were at the gate to the campground. We planned on camping again tonight so
we asked about the need for reservations. The lady Ranger was almost flippant and said
she saw no reason for them.
We pushed off into a beautiful sunny morning and as the lady Ranger had suggested, the
road was flat to rolling and there was a nice wide bicycle lane. She had scoffed when I
said that I remembered a pretty big uphill out of San Simeon.
I had been concerned about the amount of fuel that we had left in our little cook stove.
We pulled in to San Simeon to check for some. The store is attached to a souvenir shop
that specializes in Native American art. When I asked, the man of Native American
appearance and great girth suggested that they might have it in the store next door. I had
thought that the two stores were one. The clerk in the other store looked amazingly like
the other except he had a mixed appearance of Native and Euro mix. He did have white
gas, the fuel our new stove burns. It was in a gallon container and cost $7.99. I hovered
and worried about the waste then decided to go for the gallon. He had watched with
interest then remarked, as if an aside, that he would only charge me for ½ a can. He could
sell the other ½ to someone else.
They were both really nice guys. They took seats in their lawn chairs in the shade of the
porch of their stores and watched as I poured the flammable liquid into the small bottle. I
thanked them then told them that I had once owned a grocery store and knew haw tough
it was to make a living. The largest and elder of the two said, “Yea, I retired to this place
now I work 70-80 hours a week.”
Much like the ride out of San Luis Obispo, we flew the first
14 miles without hesitating.
Well, we did see, well at first we heard, the sounds of wild life. The growling, grunting
and trumpeting turned out to be a huge colony of Elephant Seals. They were just off the
other side of the road. They posed threw sand on themselves to heat or cool and jostled
for position on the beach. We marveled at how dozens of cars flashed by at 70 MPH and
completely missed this fabulous show?
The bike path remained wide and safe but the road began to undulate, dishing out greater
ups and downs. It was just a little before noon when we rolled up to Ragged Point. The
place has great eye appeal. Architecturally it exudes nature through the use of wood. All
of the interesting shaped buildings are clad with natures own.
The sun was warm. We pulled in and leaned the bikes against a picnic table. Several
people gathered round and talked or tried to. One family, Mom and Dad from Spain with
their son who now lives and works in San Francisco. Another, a very gregarious fellow
with two gals, one who was dressed to show off her best, were from Brazil. We tried to
tell them about our trip. They tried to tell us something but we couldn’t figure it out?
An upscale couple sitting at the adjacent table asked how far we had ridden. When we
mentioned that we had started in Oxnard he said, “My office is in Oxnard!”
We told them of our company and how we had sold to Young Realtors he reacted with
joy. “I have been Joan and Richard Young’s Insurance Agent for many years.” His name
was Mike Jones, his firm was Jones & Maulding Insurance. Small world!
Another couple pulled in, in a pickup with bikes in the back. He walked directly over to
me and said, “Riding Highway 1 in insane, they should have a bike trail.”
“They do have a bike trail here,” I responded. “This is the Pacific Coast Bike Trail, we
just let cars use it too.”
He laughed and said, “I guess I just never thought of it that way.”
As we finished our food a couple who had emerged from a car with Canadian plates came
walking toward us with that look of interest in their eyes. Turns out that he is a college
professor on sabbatical and they are living in Los Osos, CA for a year.
She told us about a cousin who lives in Germany and thrives on stories like ours. We
gave her our card so that she could introduce him to our web-site. Then, she asked if we
would allow her to take a photo with us to send to him? We were flattered. An autograph
yesterday and a fan club photo today!
That was the last light moment of our day. We stayed a little too long. We basked in the
sun and feeling of glory, too long. The wind began to waft at first then as we rolled out of
Ragged Point it really perked up. From the north, of course.
Our goal was to make Plaskett Creek State Park before dark. It lay about 20 miles up
wind. Along the way we would experience the ecstasy of majestic scenery and the agony
of the most severe hills we’ve ridden yet and the constant gusting wind in our face. We
were now walking it about 1/3 of the time.
The down hill runs were treacherous due to the wind and the lack of space for bicycles.
The traffic is almost all tourists. They were usually patient but had their eyes on the
scenery, not the road. Worst of all were the giant motor homes, many with cars in tow.
The hills were many. Two were memorable. Our legs burned out and we were relegated
to pushing on the ups. Waterfalls of all sizes tumbled down past us as we pushed. Rock
outcroppings in the surging sea sustained hit after hit. Those with their heads above the
surge were black. Some seemed to be favored by the gulls and showed that in the white
wash covers they wore.
Rounding a curve we saw what at first appeared to be a warehouse in the middle of the
road. The illusion of its location and function soon changed. It was the tiny town of
Gorda, CA, population 18.
It was 4:30 and we were still 4 miles from Plaskett Creek and a campsite. At the current
rate of progress it would be almost an hour before we would get there. I noticed a small
standup desk with a hand lettered sign, “Lodging.”
Richard, the clerk, looked Native American. His dark black hair hung in a pony tail down
his neck. He moved behind the desk and assumed the position of Inn Keeper. His least
expensive room was $175. Cat said, “How about $75?”
He flipped through the pages of his booking book and said, “That is my lowest priced
room and it is actually $225 for two people.”
With just a glance at each other we knew that we were destined to move on to the camp
ground. Richard could see that we were preparing to move on. I’m not sure whether he
was sorry for us or just making a business decision but he looked up from the page and
asked, “How about $100?”
When Cat heard that she looked at me and said, “It could be my birthday and Christmas
present. We took Richards deal. He even agreed that we could keep the bikes in the room.
While Cat did the paperwork I pushed her bike up our last hill of the day. The room was
above the store so I struggled up the stairs. Cat had to help with my bike. We had a cozy
new home for the night.
Another birthday/Christmas bonus was to be dinner. Instead of pitching a tent and
cooking in the cold we would dine in Gorda’s Whale Watch Café. Joseph Margos is
manager and host. We chose to sit in the corner so that we could have a sunset picture.
Joe was talkative, he let us know that he was Greek but had never been there. His parents
came from Greece before he was born but obviously instilled a pride in his heritage. He
knew Greek people and restaurants up and down the coast. He hadn’t heard of “The
Greek” in Ventura owned by our friends Mikey and Lynn Mikolatos but assured us that
he would check it out.
There were 4 locals at the bar. As Joe took our order a couple entered and took an
adjacent table. We thought they were speaking French. Turns out they were Croatian,
from Yugoslavia. She, Ivana, is a Doctor, a Pathologist. He, Vlad, is a Veterinarian.
They live in Boston. They love their home in Yugoslavia and told us that in spite of the
war, things were returning to normal other than the hate that still exists between the Serbs
The conversation was great. This is what travel is all about. They were in their mid 30s.
She is working on a research project of some kind. His e-mail address ends with
Harvard.edu so we assume that they work and study there.
Joe told the four of us that the entire town of Gorda, the store, restaurant, gift shop and
service station are owned by a retired Doctor who lives in Carmel. We discussed the way
that Doctors are paid here compared to their home and in the old system where everyone
made pretty much the same, no matter their education or abilities.
All in all a wonderful evening capped by a photo of the four of us with our host, Joe.
DAY 9 APRIL 20, 2002, 990 DAYS TO GO
Plaskett Creek, CA to Pfeiffer State
We bumped the bikes down the stairs and took on food and coffee in the Whale Watch. A
cyclist pulled in and sat on the steps eating something he had bought at the store. Pete,
from Florida was mid way through his 22nd trip down coast from San Francisco to LA.
He rides with a light pack on his back. He loves the coast and can’t resist an annual
return. As he pulled out I thought that if he ever reversed his course he might find that
into the wind could help him break his habit.
It was cool and overcast as we coasted away from Gorda. We were thinking positive
thoughts and hoping for a day without wind. The road was kind, at first but we were soon
in major up and downhill riding. At the top of one long slow pedal then push, we rolled
past a group of cyclists without bags. They were probably on a sagged tour. When we
passed they called out words of cheer. One booming voice echoed a warning down the
canyon, “Watch out for the wind.”
He should try it in our direction if he thinks the wind is bad where he has been.
Originally we had planned on lunch in Lucia. We were on a roll and it was down hill so
we passed on it. Our map showed a place, a Gallery, just a few miles down the road. It
indicated limited food. We rolled on toward the Coast Gallery and the hope of food.
Like a mirage, the redwood exterior wrapped around two old redwood water tanks pulled
us up the last of a long hill and in toward food. The lady working the counter near the
entrance asked if we were together then laughed with glee. She was making reference to
our bright day glow yellow cycling jackets.
We asked about food and she leveled with us. “The food is pretty simple and it is
The place seemed to be a shrine to one Henry Miller. He was an artist, painter, sculptor
and author. I confused him with the Miller who married Marilyn Monroe. Our friend at
the front desk sat me straight. “That was Arthur Miller, but Henry did have an eye for the
women, that’s obvious in much of his work,” she relayed with a titter.
The food was pretty basic. Muffins, drinks, etc. It was so basic that it was dispensed on
the honor system. A price list for each item and a jar to leave the money in.
As we were leaving I had an inspiration that would allow me to become part of Henry’s
work. I put our helmets on a granite sculpture and shot a picture.
At the top of one particularly tough climb I glanced across at a turn out and caught a
glimpse of cyclists. We were on a roll, I called out to Cat and told her that I wanted to
talk with them. She was tired and opted to wait. I climbed back up. One guy was lying on
his back in some tall grass. There were two guys and two gals. They had strange looking
packs, I knew they were Europeans. Turns out that they were brothers, with their wives,
from Holland. The big guy who was lying stood and the two engaged me in conversation.
The big guy admitted that he spoke very little English. His brother translated our story.
They were pretty excited. The big one said, “I have ground, you stay there in Holland.”
An invitation, I think. The other brother told me that he meant that he has a farm and we
could camp or stay with them. He told me that he had a small manufacturing plant that
makes bicycles. They were riding some of his creations. His was a completely hand made
touring bike. The name on the frames was Vittorio. I had heard of them. The wives asked
about Cat, how she handled the hills and the traffic. I hated to leave but we still had a
ways to go and I wasn’t sure how much more of it was UP.
More ups and downs then signs of civilization including the famous Ventana Inn at the
top of one fairly tough hill. From there we swooped down and into Pfeiffer State Park
and our home for the night.
The sign at the gate was alarming. Posted in bold letters on the kiosk were the words,
Disheartened, we pedaled to the main gate and were greeted by a fast talking gal who was
trying to make everybody happy. She finished explaining to a guy in a motor home that
he would have to go elsewhere and pointed him toward other campgrounds then turned to
me and said, “What do you need?”
It was pretty simple, she explained that they always hold tent camping spots for cyclists.
When asked how many in our party. When I told her 2 she said that will be $2.00. Then
she asked if we were together or had two tents. When I answered one, she said, “Oh, in
that case it is only a dollar."
I thought she said campsite #3. We rode then pushed up into the area marked for cyclists.
It was shady and cold but beautiful. We were at the base of Redwoods that may have
been 500 or more years old.
We couldn’t find any markings for a Campsite #3 but Cat did see one on her trip to the
restroom. It was across the street. There were no big trees on the site but it was a lot less
shaded and Cat liked that.
Cat immediately sat out for the Park Market for cheese, crackers and wine. I was
struggling with the tent and other campsite duties when another cyclist rode into our site.
He introduced himself as Ed then told me that he had passed us on the road today.
I didn’t want to call him a fibber but I did tell him that I thought that was impossible. He
responded with a laugh that he had been rescued by a family in a motor home and they
had watched us struggle up the hill.
Ed was an amiable sort. He seemed to know a little about everything. He had just
returned from San Diego, up Hwy 1. His story was that he was to meet a couple from
Switzerland that he had ridden with last year. They were to begin a sponsored world tour
in San Francisco. When Ed called them they apologized then told him that the wife was
pregnant so they had to cancel their plans. Pretty disappointing, almost too hard to
believe? I wondered why a guy would leave a life behind on just the word of a stranger.
As we talked it became obvious that he was either pretty naive or a con artist.
When Cat returned from the store she began to talk with Ed and pretty much fell in love
with him. You know like Mother-Son love. He was pretty helpful with the tent and
especially the new stove that burns white gas. I probably would have had a very tough
time figuring that one out.
We offered Ed some wine and cheese. He told us that he hadn’t had alcohol in several
years. He wasn’t feeling well so declined all offers of food. As we talked a bearded guy
with a Malamute pup came walking out of the trees above carrying a sack. Ed turned and
hollered out, “Hey, where did you get that bag of food?”
The guy was a little taken aback and replied, “I found them on a table, and I thought it
was garbage.” He readily handed the bag over to Ed and went on his way.
“Yea right, he thought it was garbage, huh,” Ed sort of spat out as he watched the guy
walk away. “These are some things that the family who gave me a ride wanted me to
have. They know how bad off I am, I only have $4.00 to my name.”
Ed claimed that he had no family. He said that he owned a home next to his Fathers
place. His Father had died and he should own his house if the estate ever settles. His
Mother was fighting to get the house. She had divorced his Father 21 years ago.
“Won’t she help you?” ask Cat.
“She hasn’t spoken to me in years,” Ed replied.
He had a brother who died and his father was gone, too. Ed seemed to have an underlying
negative, poor me attitude but he masks it with silly humor. The Park Ranger pulled up, I
thought he might be there to ask us to move. Ed said, “No he’s my friend Chris.”
As Chris walked toward us and exchange greetings, Ed pointed and said, “Watch it man,
your shoe’s untied.”
When the Ranger looked down Ed howled with glee and said, “I gotcha man, I really got
ya that time.”
With Ed’s help we got a fire going then put the cook stove together and started boiling
water. We were testing the freeze dried food that just requires boiling water that you pour
into the foil bag.
Ed was not feeling well and was going to get some milk when Cat convinced him to have
some cheese and crackers. He mowed.
The food was just so-so. The fire was warm. We sat and talked until 8:00PM then told Ed
that we were going to turn in for the night. It was dark but he had a lamp similar to ours
only his is like lazar light. It illuminated the forest in a ghostly, wavering way as he
reluctantly waked back across the road to his camp.
Our plan was to read or do some journal work inside the tent. We decided that we need
chair backs, it was too uncomfortable to sit. We hung one of our lights in the tent, lay
back and tried to read. Within 20 minutes we chose to put lights out. Fatigue had us on
our backs with eyes at half mast.
APRIL 21, 2002, DAY 10, 989 DAYS TO GO
Pfeiffer State Park, CA to
Tough night, Cat had one of those thumping, racing heart events. Finally took a Beta
Blocker and soon conked. The first light of dawn was none too early for us, we awoke at
5:30 AM. (That’s still 8 ½ hours when you zonk at the crack of sunset.)
I rolled across Cat and unzipped into crisp moist morning air. First duty, get a fire going.
I had barely finished stacking kindling when Ed showed up. He was feeling better and
would ride with us to Monterey. Once he helped me get the cook stove burning and the
water heating, Cat crawled out into a new day.
Ed was feeling so good that he accepted breakfast, oatmeal and a banana. We made our
coffee press and enjoyed the fire, food and more stories from Ed. The family that had
rescued him yesterday pulled up and he introduced us. The guy, about my age, said that
he had thought about cycling when he retired but decided on a motor home instead. Ed
expounded upon the joy he felt that the guy bought the motor home. In his simple
humorous, round about way he got the point across that he wouldn’t have been saved
from the hills if that was the case.
The chill began to soften as the sun worked its way through the branches of the Sequoias.
Cat worked through her shivers as we repacked the bags. Ed went to pack up but was
back in just a few minutes. “How could you have dropped and packed your tent that
quickly?” I asked.
“Oh, you should never roll up a tent,” he replied. “It causes the creases to wear out.”
Another lesson? I wasn’t sure so decided to check with the manufacturer before stuffing
ours. We were finally loaded and ready to roll by 9:45 and Big Sur was soon in our
mirrors and memories.
The road was better and the hills less severe. We did push a couple of the big ones. At
first Ed would grind along at 3 MPH but pretty soon he was walking with us. We stopped
along the road a couple of times and shared soy bars for energy. The plan was to cycle
into Carmel and have lunch in a nice place.
Both Catherine and I have been to Carmel several times. When we hit Carmel Valley
Road we were faced with a long fresh strip of asphalt that only knew up. It was warm, we
rode. It got hot, we sweated, we pushed. At the top a sign pointed back down the other
side of road said, Carmel. Cat asked a woman driving by and she said yes, go back to
Ocean Ave then turn right. Ed took off and Cat followed. I sensed that we would be
backtracking. I hollered, they responded. We regrouped and I told them that I was sure
that the Bike Trail I had seen on the other side of the freeway would take us into
With little coaxing, they followed. We were all tired and hungry. My premonition proved
to be true. We were on the Monterey Pier in short time. Ed was our guest for lunch, he
was hungry and that boy could eat. He had talked about trying to loose weight. When he
ordered fried Fish ‘n’ Chips with iced tea. Cat talked with him about fried foods. He said
he knew it wasn’t good for him but it sounded good then he poured 6 packets of sugar
into the tea.
Who were we to give advice? We had creamy Boston Clam Chowder, Cat had chicken
salad and I wolfed down pasta del mare. (We celebrated with wine while Ed got high on
sugar.) We did a little presentation of gratitude for Ed’s help in the form of $20.00. He
was elated and asked when we would be leaving tomorrow. His plan is to get to a truck
stop and hitch a ride back to Ohio. When we told him that we would probably take
tomorrow off he thought about doing the same since the campground here is free and
I checked with the Tourist Info Center while Ed and Cat talked with some local people
and listened to a Blue Grass Band that was playing on the bed of a truck in the square. It
reminded me of some of the places our band, Acadiana had played. The gal running the
show heard our story and went to the microphone. She introduced us and the crowd
clapped and cheered.
We said our goodbyes to Ed. Cat told him the name of our hotel in case he needed
anything or wanted to co-ordinate the ride north day after tomorrow. She was almost
teary eyed as he pedaled away.
The Victorian Hotel offers wine and cheese from 4:30 until 6:00. We had to hurry but we
made it before last call. What a spectacle we were. Ripe from the trail, the hot day and
that last big hill, we kept our distance form most of the others. We talked with a couple
for a while then they drifted out and we were joined by two women. One was the Mom,
here with her daughter looking at Monterey State U. The daughter was pretty set on
Sonoma State. The Mom loved being with her daughter at this important time.
The Mom, MaryAnn was a Buddhist, her husband a Catholic. The daughter said that she
had been attending a Baptist Church. What a potpourri of religions they were.
Cat was curious so MaryAnn filled her in on Buddhism. She belongs to the S.G.I. Sect.
They are the worlds largest, an advanced form out of China. She taught Cat how to chant,
NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO. Neither of us could remember what it means but Cat
promised to chant it on the toughest of the tough hills.
We slipped into the Jacuzzi and soaked. Tub conversation evolved around where Ed
might be this evening and what he might be doing.
By 8:30 we made a decision that the huge lunch would carry us through the night. We
watched TV and fooled with the computer for a while. Lights out at 9:30PM
APRIL 22, 2002, DAY 11, 988 TO GO
This Day off would have no lazy beginning. We looked at each other at 6:00 AM. Cat
had that “itchy pickle” look in her eye. Our adopted MOM, Celeste told her that they
share the same trait, lots of nervous energy. Celeste calls it the itchy pickle syndrome.
They share the need to always be on the move.
She was up and out to the Laundromat while I brought current our journal and checked e-
mail. I readied the camping gear for shipment to our friends Mike and Kat Weston in
Rocklin, CA, just out of Sacramento. The tent, bags and cooking equipment weighed in at
43 pounds. Since we had no plan to camp it made sense not to carry them.
We bought a day pass on the Monterey-Salinas bus system. Stopped and sent the camp
gear at Mail Boxes Etc. It was an interesting experience. We set out for Trader Joes in
Pacific Grove to get Soy Bars, the high protein bars we have been using to supplement
when we’re out on the trail.
There were people on board who seemed to know each other and the driver very well.
Some were obviously learning impaired or limited in some way. We found that they
would just ride the bus or change from bus to bus but just ride around. On a monthly pass
it is as good a way to spend a day as sitting at home alone.
A girl, maybe 30ish, said that her Mother was playing cards and didn’t want her home
until 9:00 PM. We saw her several times during our bus rides. A black man explained
how he cooks soup to a Russian sounding guy that we saw on two different buses. Bus
rides as a social event.
As we rode the bus back downtown from AAA where we picked up our third set of maps,
(We seem to lose maps, we think it is when we show people our route and they take them
to show someone else?) we were seated across from a guy in relaxed clothing with
expensive loafers and no sox. When we asked the driver how to get to the big Sporting
Goods Store the guy listened with interest. As we left the bus he joined us at the Central
Station and said that he would give us a ride to the store. He asked us to wait on the
We followed his directions but as we stood there we began to feel apprehensive. Why
was he riding a bus but had a car in town? Was he a good person or was he looking for
victims? Our #10 bus pulled into the station. We almost bolted. The driver got out and
went to the restroom. Just then the guy pulled around the corner in a big Mercedes and
honked. (It seemed pretty strange but later we discovered that there was a Mercedes
garage just around the corner. He must have had his car in for service?)
Michael Kovac is sales manager for the area with a foods company called Sysco. He
covers Monterey County. A very nice guy, married with a fifteen year old son that he
claims is a really great guy and like Walt’s son, he is a computer genius, too. He
recommended a restaurant in town and one in Moss Landing, a town we will pass through
Jeff, the nice clerk in the store led us to the cans of IpoButane that we need for our cook
stove. As he talked in awe about our trip a young girl who was trying on back packs
heard us and joined in. She was preparing to go to Costa Rica with friends, 3 guys. Her
name was Dottie, “Easy to remember,” she said, “because I have dots on my face.”
She was a cute, freckle faced tomboy sort of a girl. Her school years had been full of
Water Polo and surfing. She insisted on giving us a ride back into downtown. As we
drove she told us that she had to get to work, she was late already but decided to take us
right to our hotel. “The restaurant is family owned and they won’t be mad,” she told us.
Then she invited us to have dinner there. Mexican food sounded good and she thought
that the manager would let us do a “Cookin’ with Cat” segment.
Dottie had us back at the Victorian just in time for the Happy Hour, Wine and Cheese.
We chatted briefly with a couple but they picked up and left as an Air Force Officer sat
down across from us. Nice guy, there on a training mission at the Navy Base. He told us
about his failed marriage and new girl friend.
Mexican food was beginning to sound less interesting than Italian when I realized that I
had left the Ipo Butane in Dottie’s car. That sealed the deal, we would El Palomar.
It was a pretty good distance, but we enjoyed Cannery Row and the main part of town as
we sauntered. Dottie was delighted when we stepped through the door. She had invited
her friend, Lindsay and the rest of the staff was anxious to meet us and hear of our
It was a fun evening, Mexican food and Margaritas. The recipe that Manager Salvador
and Chef Noel chose to share was their world famous, or at least
Monterey famous Flan.
It was very rich and very good. We had a fun time taking pictures and sharing them.
Most of the evening was spent talking with Lindsay. She has been Dottie’s best friend
through all of their school years. Dottie is the adventurer, the risk taker. Lindsay
completed her schooling, Dottie will complete hers when she returns from Costa Rica.
Lindsay’s degree is in Architecture. She is moving to Lafayette, CA this week and
beginning work with a firm there.
APRIL 23, 2002, DAY 12, 987 TO GO
Monterey, CA to Capitola, CA
The Margies hung heavy in my head this morning. We needed to get an early start to beat
out our old enemy, the wind. Cycling out of Monterey was a pleasure. The bike path
through town extends several miles along the coast. It is some ups and downs but no
When the bike path ended and we thought we were going to be dumped put onto the
freeway a couple pulled up and asked we were lost. He started to explain that we would
have to go into Castroville on a bike path that parallels the freeway. As he talked I began
to look at the map. I could see a road that went left across the farm fields then swung
right into Moss Landing. He must have been a retired Colonel. “Look at me not that map,
Mr.”, he said with firm conviction. “You have to go through Castroville, believe me, I’ve
done it a thousand times.”
Why question authority like that? We set off on the trail he had described. It was
overgrown and looked abandoned. On Hwy 1 we had seen several dead snakes. Here I
almost ran over two black ones with a yellow stripe down their backs. They were movin’
fast getting out of the way. It gave Cat the willies.
The main street of Castroville looks like so many towns that haven’t changed much in the
past 60 years. We did stop to check out a field of Artichokes, Castroville’s claim to fame.
Once again, our enemy, Mr. Wind began to whip it up. We pulled into Moss Landing
with a 20 MPH breeze up our noses. Lunch there was a treat. Michael Kovac had
recommended Charlie Moss’s Café. It was a cute place and the servers were very
Our waiter showed me the way to the bathrooms. There were about 15 people in a private
room. As we past I asked if it was the local Rotary Club.
“No, just a bunch of religious people,” he said, then added, “Maybe you’d like to join
them?” in a satirical way.
“They might not like the way I think,” I responded.
He snickered and said, “Oh, you think?” “Then I’m sure you wouldn’t fit in with them,”
he said with a snort.
The soup was so good that we suggested doing a “Cookin’ with Cat”. We explained the
idea, the waiter loved it but came back from the kitchen and said that the owner, Chef
Our goal for the day was Santa Cruz. The waiter suggested that we might enjoy Capitola
Beach. It was 4 miles closer, that caught Cat’s fancy. He even offered to let us stay at his
house but it was his birthday and he was going to party, big.
Moss Landing was almost industrial looking. The road began to roll and became lined
with trees. Traffic thickened and we were soon in Capitola. He was right, it was pretty
cute. We found a strange looking motel, the legendary Venetian Court. It is actually a
Condominium that was mapped in 1924. The majority owner ran his units like a motel,
others rented weekly or monthly. Some live full time there. It looked low budget, it fit
our budget. Steve, the desk man was full of funny info about the place and places in
APRIL 24, 2002, DAY 13, 986 DAYS TO GO
Capitola, CA to Half Moon Bay, CA
Capitola to Half Moon Bay would be one of our longest rides so we tried to get an early
start. We rolled through Santa Cruz without a stop. For the first time since starting, we
had a friendly wind whistling around our ears and pushing us forward. We would need it
because the road still had lots of ups and downs.
The main inhabitants along this area were cattle. Lots of grazing land, very few places to
stop and people were few and far between, too. There wasn’t even much traffic. We
stopped in the tiny village of Davenport at a little Café-Bakery. A couple from England
asked about our trip. He was with a company that had just completed a contract job so
they were exploring the coast before moving back to England. He confessed that he was
disappointed when his company had shipped him over but now both he and his wife
wished that they could stay. They had fallen in love with California. Even the weather
seemed great, to them.
It was 36 miles to Half Moon Bay. The wind remained friendly but we were tiring.
Maybe it was psychological? We asked them about accommodations between there and
Half Moon Bay. The only thing they had seen was a Hostel at Pigeon Point Lighthouse
but a bunch of young people pulled in while they were there and they were pretty sure
they had taken all of the rooms.
Onward with the wind, thank goodness! Once past the psychological barrier, we pushed
hard on the pedals and sailed along the highway. There are several campgrounds along
the way but we were tent less.
With the help of friendly wind, we were in Half Moon Bay before 4:00 PM. Wanting a
place within walking distance to a restaurant, we cruised the Main once but found the
motels were all at one end or the other. Knowing that Realtors are always helpful we
stopped at a ReMax Office. They were very friendly and soon had us on our way to The
Zaballa House B&B. It is the oldest, “still standing” building in Half Moon Bay. The
décor suited the history, very cute and well within budget.
They didn’t offer a happy hour so we walked across the street and got our own happy
items, wine and cheese. Dinner would be at Pasta Moon. The couple seated next to us
was quiet and reserved. As they paid their bill we exchanged chit chat. They were here for
a family wedding. He was very excited when he heard of our Odyssey. He had completed
several marathons and was a cyclist. They promised to send an e-mail, keep in touch and
throw a big party when we hit Chicago, their home town.
APRIL 25, 2002, DAY 14, 985 DAYS TO GO
Half Moon Bay, CA to San Francisco,
It was only 25 miles to “The City”, we sort of lounged and got a late start. Our friend, the
wind had turned against us, again. The road was hillier than we had expected. We
pedaled hard and pushed the big hills, always into the wind. Surviving on Dr. Soy bars,
we didn’t stop until we reached Daly City.
The last hill was a doozie. It was steep and narrow. At one point a huge semi truck came
dead stop rather than attempt passing. We soon had all traffic, north and south at a
standstill. The truck pulled way out to give us room. All of the drivers either waved or
gave us the thumbs up save one angry fellow in a beat up old pick-up truck. He shouted
profanities and flipped us the finger. Not bad odds, at least 20 to one.
Out of Pacifica we were forced onto the freeway. It was uphill and traffic was thickening.
We pulled off at highway 35 then sailed downhill. It was cold and foggy in Daly City.
The cold wind held dozens of hang gliders aloft, some just hanging in the same spot with
birds that had joined into the same pleasure. We were drawn into a shopping center in
search of warmth and food. Pho99, Vietnamese Noodle House.
The place was bustling. The guy who seated us was gregarious and happy. Nghia Tieu
and his brother own the place. They both live in San Jose, 40 miles inland. He explained
that they both wanted a suburb to raise their kids in and a warmer place to be when not
working. He said that it had snowed there at the Noodle House one 4th of July.
When I asked why they hadn’t opened in San Jose he laughed and said, “To hot, nobody
buys noodles when it is hot. Daly City is never hot,” he said with a chuckle.
We took pictures and he promised to send us the recipe for their spring rolls made with
rice noodle and shrimp rolled in rice paper. It was great fun being part of his spectacle.
The Grand Highway runs along the ocean. We turned into familiar scenery at Golden
Gate Park. We had run the Bay to Breakers race through it many times. Just as we
thought we knew exactly where we were, we were lost. A nice guy, Bob Christiensen,
shared his map and knowledge of the city with us. Taking his advice we soon found
ourselves trapped on those famous hilly streets of SF then the street ended at a huge
stairway that we knew we could never conquer with the bikes and bags. A short detour
and we were at the doorway of Franklin and Aura, our hosts for the next three days. (Bob
sent us an e-mail later apologizing when he discovered that he had sent us to the Sanchez
There typical turn of the century townhouse is located in Noe Valley. That’s No-ee
Valley. We thought the sign said Noel Street. Aura laughed and told us that at Christmas
people paint L’s on the signs. The old house has, like most in the neighborhood, been
converted to a duplex.
Franklin and Aura are artists at heart. She has designed album covers and she has a hobby
of design and manufacture of silver jewelry. She is a nurse and has performed Medical
Legal Exams on Rape and Child molestation victims for more than 20 years. He teaches
school and loves it. His hobby was born on a trip around the US when he was just 19
years old. He heard Cajun music and saw the joy of their lifestyle and dance. He took an
idea with him as he earned his double masters Degrees at Brown University in Rhode
Island and started producing Cajun Festivals. The hobby grew to 5 festivals each year on
both the East and West Coasts.
I met him when he invited Acadiana to play at his Long Beach Cajun and Creole Festival.
He is bold in his presence before the crowd of 3000-4000 fans and really knows the
His home office is cluttered with Festival material and boxes of his writings. He is a
frustrated poet and writer. He wants more space to sort out his years of piled up work and
publish his dream. In fact he is on the trail now, he hires a young guy from Ireland to
come in several days a week and clean up his notes then transcribe them.
We slept on a blow up mattress in the living room. They have only one bathroom. It is
actually two rooms, a toilet in a tiny closet off the hallway and a claw foot tub, shower,
and tiny sink all jammed in to a space too small to turn around in. It is off the kitchen so
when you finish bathing you towel down and dress as you cook breakfast, very
We dined in a wonderful little Thai Food Restaurant located near their place. It was good
to be with friends and to have completed our training mission, cycling from Oxnard to
San Francisco. It had taken a little longer than we had anticipated. The wind that had held
us back had also strengthened our resolve and our legs.
APRIL 26, 2002, DAY 15, 984 TO GO
San Francisco, CA
This day of rest began with the frenzy of Franklin’s rush to beat the school bell. He
wanted to help us but too much Thai fun last night made it tough to open his eyes this
morning. Aura was off pretty early too. She had a meeting with the District Attorney to
prepare for a court appearance. That, she says, is the toughest part of her job. It is
difficult to deal with the pain of rape, incest and violence but she says that’s nothing
compared with having to appear as a witness. She’s subjected to the grilling that the
defense Lawyers always hand out trying to get their client off the hook.
We shuffled our bags trying to reduce the load. When Aura returned she drove us across
the Bay to Berkley and the REI sporting good store. Instead of reducing, we added a shirt
for me, cycling shorts for Cat and almost two pounds of camp chairs. (They are neat, our
mattresses fit into them and they will be great at the camp table or inside our tent.)
Back in The City, I rode Cat’s bike down to Noe Valley Cyclery. It has been making a
clunking noise. The nice young guy, whose music was too loud and harsh, knew his stuff.
He diagnosed a loosened crank set, tightened it up then checked the brakes and a few
other systems. I rode it back up hill. The noise was gone and she ran great. My legs were
a little shaky but the bike was fine.
Franklin and Aura were acting as ushers at a local Theatre production of a Tennessee
Williams play. Franklin loves to volunteer for the sake of the production, and, Aura says
because they provide food and good seating. That’s the kind of economy Franklin really
We were on our own. We walked to a small Bistro, spent a quiet evening together then
talked with two gals seated next to us. One of them was so excited about our Odyssey
that she told us she would join us at some point. Whether she will or we will ever here
from here again, we love it when anyone gets that excited about our adventure.
APRIL 27, 2002, DAY 16, 983 DAYS TO GO
San Francisco, CA
Franklin and Aura loaned us the use of their little putt putt metro city car and we drove to
Sausalito. There we met Dennis and David who let us ride with them to an event called
Wine Passport in Sonoma County. It was our chance to get together with friends, Paul
and Laurie Hill. Cat and Laurie attended school together from 2nd through college.
They had tickets for the event. We met at their beautiful home in Santa Rosa. They love
to host a party and had 20 people there for brunch and the kick off for two days of wine
and food tasting.
As fate would have it, the first winery we visited was decorated in a Mardi Gras flavor
and had a Zydeco Band performing. Turns out that it was the Danny Poulard Band.
Danny, a great friend of Franklins, died last year. Kenneth Menard who lives near our
home in Ventura County was filling in on accordion. We figured the event was booked
far in advance so the guys had reorganized and kept on in the tradition that Poulard would
Nine wineries, too much good food and a host of new friends. The day ended in a Tapas
Bar in the Mission District of San Francisco with Franklin and Aura.
Our three nights in “The City” were totally different than we had expected. No tourist
events, no sightseeing. Just friends, food and fun. No rest, either but then as my
Grandmother always said, “No rest for the wicked.”
Cat & Pat hope you enjoy the journal of their travels and will keep in touch via e-
mail. Your messages are very inspiring. If you have suggestions of things missing
from the writing or changes you would like to see, let us know. I’m not sure our egos
will allow much change but part of this Odyssey is learning to keep an open mind,
observe and report in a non-judgmental way.
STAY TUNED FOR OUR NEXT INSTALLMENT
SAN FRANCISCO TO SALT LAKE CITY
Until then, we’ll see you in the WORLD or on
the WORLD WIDE WEB!