Californian adventures (part 2)

Posted by on Oct 11 2006 | 02 USA 2006, English

“Mama I want to draw!” Chan was shouting in his little house on wheels. “Ok! Your paper and markers are right next to you, do you need some help getting them?” I called back. We were riding Legget Hill, a two hour uphill ride for us on Hwy 1. A windy road with no traffic at all – finally we were off Hwy 101 with its crazy traffic. Chan needed help and so we stopped at the side of the road. With paper and markers ready, he explained that he was going to draw a nice small and quiet road for us with no traffic, so that we could all enjoy our ride. I liked the idea and asked, if he could draw a really long road, so that we could have a nice ride all the way to Mexico. Then we continued to climb. On the top we needed some snacks and I opened the trailer to hand some trail mix to Chan. Chan was blue from face to toes! “I made a long, long. long quiet road for us.”, he explained.

That day we rode over another hill, steeper than the fist one and a long downhill brought us back to the ocean. The beautiful warm sunshine and crisp air were a nice combination for riding. The landscape was beautiful too with its high bushy maiden grasses (miscnthus) sticking out of the dry and rocky ground. Happy excitement filled our bodies and we just wanted to keep riding. After the lunch break though the excitment and strength slowly ran out into the hilly coast line. Tired and with aking muscels we spent the night on a State Park just outside of Fort Bragg. The night reminding us that it was fall, brought damp coldness to our camp. Next morning we waited for the tent to dry in the sun and then headed into town to contact Alex, a friend we had met five years ago on a freight ship from Europe to the US. Because we wanted to spend some time with her and she didn’t have enough room for us at her place, she had put an add on a local internet community board, asking for accomodation for us. The Anchor Lodge hotel offered us two nights for free!


This part of the coast reminded us very much of Great Britan with its rough vegetationa and mild, windy climate. Alex showed us arround a little bit. So we went to Mendocino, a small character town with its many specialty shops and of course spent some money in a coffee place. We also drove to the organic goat farm where Alex works. Chan wasn’t sure how he should feel about the goats and the big pyrenean shepherd dogs and finally decided that Daddy’s shoulders were the safest place to be.

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We had heard about the worst switchbacks of the Coast Bike Route and there they were! The road became steeper and steeper, but I could still push the pedals, up and up. It got still steeper and I kept pushing harder, but suddenly , while pushing up, I lifted the front wheel into the air. Frightened I just managed to get off the bike without falling and then had to walk it to the top. Florian, who had the trailer was brave and went over to the center line where it wasen’t as steep to get arround the curve, lucky that there wasn’t any traffic coming at him.

Hill over hill we made our way closer to San Francisco. In Pt. Reyes St. we stopped to check our e-mail, get some groceries and a coffee and a sweet treat from a bakery. While Florian was in the bookstore finding out where we would be staying in San Francisco via Internet, Chan and I were waiting outside, watching people and playing. Then the owner of the bookstore waved us inside as well. Fascinated by our trip he let Chan pick a book and Florian didn’t have to pay for his internet use!

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One more night we put up our tent before entering the S.F. Bay Area, one more time beneath redwood trees. There was this beautiful circle of ancient trees and we put our tent in its middle. Early in the morning it sounded like raindrops falling onto our tent. Was it raining? We peeked out and found our tent covered in bird poop.


Now we were finally riding towards the “big city”. Florian had arranged to meet with Jeff, another “warm shower” host we had contacted, at the Sausalito (the city north of Golden Gate Bridge) library in the late afternoon. From Samuel P. Taylor S.P. we had plenty of time covering the distance. Shortly before entering Fairfax though the trailer in front of me went: “BOOOMMMM!” One of the tires exploded. We had forgotten to check the trailer tires and one of them was completely worn through with big wholes and tears in it. Now what? Of course we didn’t have a spare tire with us. So Florian fixed the tube and I fixed the tire with duct tape! Luckily it had to hold for only about six more miles. “Fairfax has tons of bike shops!” one of the passing race bikers told us. To take the weight off the trailer Chan had to switch to his seat on my bike and slowly we made it to a bike shop.

The ride through the urban jungle, that now followed was surprisingly pleasant. Lot’s of bicyclists were out and about, we had good shoulders and bike routes to lead us through traffic. Only once we got lost, but a very helpful race biker put us back on track. Finally a bike path brought us into Sausalito. In spite of the tire breakdown we still had plenty of time before we would meet up with Jeff. So we went to the organic food store and had a big late lunch.

Then we met Jeff and he brought us to the docks. On the way he explained that he had two sailing boats, both out in the bay. He was living in one and we were welcome to stay in the other one as long as we wanted to. Now we had to figure out what to do with the bikes and the trailer. Jeff had friends owning a floating Restaurant Ship, where we could leave everything we didn’t need for the night. The trailer had to be emptied for carrying, the bikes unloaded to be pushed up and down the ship ramps onto a floating deck. Finally everything was stashed away and we got a ride out to the boat with Tim a local boat builder.

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The boat was a tiny wooden 1950 sailing boat. Suddenly we had this totally different perspective of the city and the surroundings. Slowly the sun light faded away and thousands of others lit up all arround us. The motion of the boat created a peaceful feeling all arround. Chan was fast asleep within minutes on one of the tiny bunks while Florian, Jeff and I sat out on the cockpit chatting away, enjoying the specialty of our one night “home”. It was a one night adventure only. We needed to find another place to stay. I had shared the bunk, not more than a meter wide with Chan, Florian had the other one. I felt a bit claustrophobic every time I woke up and it was still dark, I felt this urge to run, but there was only water arround us. In the morning Chan needed to move arround, but I had to hold him close, there was nowhere to go and run and play and I was afraid he would fall over board. Finally we packed the skiff Jeff had lent us and rowed over to his sailboat. Jeff took his kajak and showed us the way back to the docks. On land again we made some phone calls and wrote some e-mails to people we had met on the road further up the coast. We were hoping to find a more suitable place to stay for a while in the Bay Area.

While waiting for Tim to get back to us to be taken to a friend’s place who had invited us to stay for a night, Florian played with Chan on a playground and I went to the bike shop. I was looking at bike mirrors when someone called:” Rebekka!” Peggy came up to me saying:” I was just looking for you! How are you? You can stay with us, our house is small, but we can make it work!” Peggy was one of the people we left a message on the phone. We had met her in Florence, Oregon, and spent the night together. She had given us her phone number and encouraged us to call once we arrived in the Bay Area, since she lives in Mill Valley with her family.

And that’s how we ended up staying with her and her family in Mill Valley for a week already. Tyler, Peggy and Michael’s oldest son is racing bikes and so he has a little bike work shop set up which we can use to fix up our bikes again. Chan loves the family so much. Here he found two brothers and a sister who are beautifully playing with him. In the past week he has made huge progress with his english speech using lots of new words and making real sentences now.

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Florian’s friend Felix had brought our new trailer to San Francisco while on a family visit. Chan already climbed in and out declaring it to be his. But what surprise the hitch only fits my but not Florian’s bike. So we contacted the manufacturer, who is now sending us a special piece for Florian’s bike. So we will be staying in Mill Valley for a few more days, waiting for the piece to arrive and thus have more time to explore San Francisco and visit with our old friends Becky and Dave.


6 comments for now

6 Responses to “Californian adventures (part 2)”

  1. chris

    sounds like the trip is going as well as hoped. i’m loving being able to live vicariously through you for this journey – keep posting! do know that you are all being missed though. what an adventure! xo

    11 Oct 2006 at 5:59 pm

  2. Mamé

    Hello World Travellers,
    It is such a joy to find out about your adventures. It is great to read how being friendly yourselves, you are able to make friends on the way. These are great friends who then open up their homes to you. You deserve it. I am sure everyone gains from these exchanges. How wonderful. Keep going.
    May you encounter many long peaceful and quiet roads, full of new friends and positive experiences.
    Hug and love.

    11 Oct 2006 at 10:46 pm

  3. Reina

    Hallo Ihr Drei,
    lese Eure Berichte regelmäßig und freue mich darüber. Ich wünsche Euch
    alles Gute. “Das Leben ist eine Reise, Reisen ist wie zweimal leben”. suerte!

    12 Oct 2006 at 9:23 am

  4. Peggy Gough

    There is a big void here in Mill Valley. We miss our new family and all the cheerfulness and friendship you brought to our lives in our brief time together. Today is the first real rain here in the San Francisco Bay Area and we are thinking of you all fondly and hoping the sun is shining for you where ever your journey has taken you to this point! We have framed the wonderful photos you gave us as a gift chronicling our time together. We look daily at the beautiful family who touched our lives and helped remind us that there are truly good people in this world. Hugs and kisses to the three of you and an extra BIG one for Chan. The Goughs (Michael , Peggy, Tyler, Theo & Sam) p.s. we have three juggling balls here that were left behind…maybe we could send them to a general delivery somewhere? p.s.s. sent the package off to your mom, could be there by now.

    02 Nov 2006 at 12:46 pm

  5. Ilse Sarady

    Hey bikers!
    I just want to say How Much I enjoy reading your blog! It so nicely written! James and I laught a lot to when reading about Chan’s drawing in the trailer :)

    Keep us updated!

    thinking of all three of you!


    07 Nov 2006 at 8:19 pm

  6. Lyn, Doug & Cecile

    We received your postcard from the end of the road today! We are so happy for you and so delighted to have participated in a small way in your journey. We hope to see you all again. Doug is at work on a proper guest room now. Please do send an address to us where we can send some pictures. Many congratulations! Lyn, Doug & Cecile from Mississippi

    16 Apr 2009 at 8:04 pm

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