The End and Where Are They Now...Finally
First, The End of the Bike Trip
This email has been a long time coming, so I’ll do my best to remember back to October.
We crossed from Mendocino into Sonoma County and unfortunately it was too far inland for us to do a wine country side trip. We began to see signs that we were getting closer to San Francisco such as no more campgrounds and the convenience stores had even better selections of amazing beer, cheese, and all organic produce. You might be surprised to learn that within 60 miles of San Francisco it is still really rural. We biked through tons of farmland some of them extending all the way to the ocean. How odd to look to my right and see cows a few feet away from cliffs with crashing waves below. Don’t be fooled, it still was California. I was biking through rolling farmland when I saw a huge hand painted sign in front of me. It said, “Firehouse Fundraiser, Saturday Night.” Instead of the next line reading “Spaghetti Dinner” or “Pancake Breakfast” as in any Midwestern small town, the sign said, “Vegan Polenta Dinner.” Yup, that sure motivates the folks to come out and donate their hard earned cash.
On our last day of biking we woke to a beautiful sunny day. And it was warm. Now, I’m not sure if I was clear before, but even when the rain stopped, the sun didn’t come out and it never got warm enough for me to bike in shorts. Plus, we biked on a flat bike path for most of the day that wound between forests and fancy neighborhoods. So the bike touring gods smiled down and granted us absolutely perfect bicycling conditions on our last day to stick in our memories and stay with us until the next time we get the itch to travel….much like hitting a perfect shot on the last hole of a brutal day of golf.
Alex and I crossed the San Francisco Bay via the ferry (KC and Nina opted for the more miles in your day Golden Gate Bridge option) and then lugged our loaded bikes through the streets of San Fran during rush hour and then down the steps of the subway station in order to take the subway out to my cousin Kristin’s house in Berkeley. By the time we arrived, it was dark and we were so thankful to have a real shower and good food and good conversation with Kristin and her husband Jason and magazines, yes tons of pop culture revering magazines to pour over. Bliss.
The next day I biked around the UC Berkeley campus and afterwards boxed and shipped my bike home. Now, Berkeley has always had a mythical image in my mind, so I fully expected to see long haired hippy freaks on acid holding peace signs all over the campus. Therefore I was astonished when the first things that I encountered on campus were a group holding Bush/Cheney signs, investment banking flyers blanketing the student notice boards and cell phones attached to every ear. Luckily, I soon found a whole slew of progressive minded flyers and individuals and my liberal haven image was restored.
That night Nina, KC (who both call the Bay Area home), Alex and me went out and got hammered with all of KC and Nina’s friends who we heard so many stories about on the trip.
The next morning I woke up and flew home to Chicago. It was an amazing trip. Thank you all for your emails and for sharing in it with me.
Where are they now?
Me – In Chicago. Despite still not having a job and the disaster that was the November Election, I have had a wonderful time since the end of the bike trip. The biggest news – Spencer and I are engaged. YAY! We are so happy. No, we do not have any plans for anything and yes, I am still wearing the extremely gaudy fake $10 ring that has an adjustable band and 3 of the 20 or so “diamonds” missing – I love it because it is so freaking funny.
Alex – In Chicago. The company he was working for pre-bike trip re-hired him, plus he took a side job writing for a company in Qatar. I can’t believe Mr. “I don’t wanna work at all” has two jobs, but he rationalizes that he can then take his next big trip sooner because he’ll have two incomes.
Nina – Nina actually continued biking down the coast after I went home. She recruited her friend Josie and the two of them biked all the way to the Mexican border. She currently is in Jackson Hole, WY working at a ski/bike shop, lamenting the lack of snow.
KC – Whereabouts unknown
Ok, I think that KC is doing landscaping in Oakland, but it just fits her personality so much better (much like D-Day).
I hope everyone is doing well.
Happy New Year.