February 17 - Pigeon Point, CA

Forty degrees and raining. Hills and traffic. We rock.

It started out pretty nice. Here's the T-Bone rarin' to go on Jim's friend Chris' deck. We were on the road by 8:30, it was in the low forties and misty, but pretty nice.

It's bike trails through Marin County, then a climb in Sausalito to get to the bridge. The bridge deck is about 200 feet above the water. There are big walkways on either side, and a lot of people bike commuting.

We stopped for an early lunch in Daly City, which is on a big hill by the ocean. It's all modest tract homes, and most of the inhabitants are Asian-American. There is a shopping center in the middle of it, with a ton of Chinese restaraunts and as a special bonus dream-come-true, Pho. Many of my friends know it is my dream to eat Pho in each of the United States. (Pho is beef noodle soup containing various kinds of sliced beef, meatballs, tripe, tendons, and spinal column. It's served with bean sprouts, anise basil, cilantro, and Jalepeno slices.) Today I achieved Pho in California. Only 41 states to go.

But the rain started after the tasty Pho. And we weren't done with the 600 foot climb which is Daly City. It rained all through Pacifica. Then came "The Slide". This is the Devil's Slide, where the highway goes through a very unstable mountain, which means the highway is always sliding into the ocean. The slide is steep, twisty, with no shoulders whatsoever, and heavy traffic. Even the police were rude. The police hollered at me through their bullhorn "Bikes aren't allowed to ride the slide anymore." Jerks. So put up a sign saying "no bikes". The reason there is no such sign is because there is no alternate route. The rain continued all the way over The Slide, and it remained 40 degrees out. The Slide was pretty bad. I think the grade is around 10% in places. I was going about 3 mph.

The first town after The Slide is Montara. we stopped for a cup of coffee to warm up. We were very soggy. While we were drinking coffee, the rain stopped. We rode about 10 easy, flat miles to Half Moon Bay, where there was a bike shop so Jim can get better panniers. The bike shop only had mountain bike stuff, but I called the hostel where we are staying tonight and discovered they don't open until 4:30. Since it was only 1:30, we had to kill an hour in our soggy state. We decided having a snack at a strip mall deli would be warmer than sitting on the front steps of the hostel for an hour.

I wistfully said "maybe the hostel will have a big fireplace." Jim helpfully pointed out that there was a wood stove store next to our deli.

I put forth the theory that maybe the wood stove shop had a demonstration sample going. We went into the Safeway where Dan Cohen bought some Cheddarwurst for dinner. (Dan bought some beef jerky and pitted dates in Mill Valley yesterday too.) The whole time Jim was making fun of me about how I was going to get the wood stove shop to build me a fire.

Hah.

While Jim went to the deli, I stopped into the wood stove shop, and there it was, blazing away. I spent a half hour standing in front of it shooting the breeze with the proprietress. Half Moon Bay Wood Stoves. What an awesome place. I love them.

Once I was warm and dry, I went next door to the deli and had a bagel and a cup of herbal tea.

The last 20 miles from Half Moon Bay to the hostel were pretty hilly, but the sun started poking out of the clouds and it was pretty nice. The hostel is incredibly scenic, there is hardly anyone here now, we have a room to ourselves, so we can put the bikes in it and have our stuff strewn all over.

And best of all, they have a hot tub overlooking the ocean.

Bliss and heaven.

Here is the route from today, as recorded with amazing precision with my nifty Garmin eTrex Vista C GPS receiver. It was only 64 miles, but with 3075 feet of climb, which makes it as strenuous as the typical DC Randonneurs brevet. It's only half a brevet, but we were loaded and I'm not in anything like a state of physical fitness. That hot tub was a lifesaver.