Friday, May 8, 2009

headwinds and hillsides (by elspeth)

Hello! We're in a little library in the little town of Pacific Grove-- a wintering place for monarch butterflies just south of Monterey. We've dedicated the day to laundering (and smelling all the better for it) and re-gearing our bikes for the climbing hills to come. It's our fourth day on the road, and our first chance to update- so here we are, library time-limit in mind. We woke up tuesday to gray skies and cold rain- AND to Shane's 26th birthday. Shane's Charleston bud Brady gave us a ride over the bridge and through San Fran, to Pacifica-- a town just south of the city. He watched us load our bikes (for the first time) and each take a wobbly spin around the block, and departed with well wishes. and... there we were. It took the first 'hill' (I'd like to say mountain, but I'm told otherwise) to realize that my rear rack (holding all of the stuff) was not gonna do it-- the weight of my bags bent in the prongs and held up the wheel. Eagle Scout Rush and Engineer Shane rigged up rack extensions with tent poles and zip ties, with the cushioning power of torn up sanitary pads. And it was at this moment that I knew we'd be ok, in the long run. We rode the rest of the day through drizzle and mist-- through eucalyptus forests with their clean, mint smell- winding round the mighty Pacific ocean. MAN. At the end of the day we found a small dirt road (marked by a hopping rabbit) that led to a wildflower filled field at the edge of the sea. We set up camp, and had the brightest birthday meal of them all- with celebratory champagne- and gleanings from our 'yard'- wild carrot, mustard flower, fennel and nasturtums (sp??). We hung out with a garter snake, lots of red winged blackbirds, large snails and nighttime bullfrogs... First day we rode about 30 miles-- Day two led us to Santa Cruz- and easy, sunny day of just over 30 miles. We stopped at a pick-your-own organic strawberry patch and ended up at Brighton Beach State Park at a Hike/Bike camp spot for the night. Hot Showers! Eek- I'm running out of time, so this'll have to be clipped. Yesterday was our longest day yet-- over 50 miles (I wanted to claim it as 60, but no go) but really! over 50 miles! that's a lot! aaaaand almost all straight into the wind. we were rounding Monterey bay, and battling the wind off the ocean. The early part of the day was fantastic-- wheeling through a valley with ENDLESS stretches of strawberries. The sweet musk was so thick in the air I think we must've been inhaling vitamins. But afternoon-- all wind and hills. And we did ok. See sunburnt and worn-out smiles below. Last night-- finally pulled to the side of the road a snuck into the woods to stealth camp, accompanied by a most delicious meal of sausages! and spanish rice+kale+broccoli. And now we're being cut off... But more to come!


  1. happy trails to all of you! what a great adventure, i'm subscribed in my reader and you and the SWIMMING CITIES OF SERENISSIMA. these are the two reads i wish to see updates in daily, knowing that's unreasonable but depending on them to get me thru the mundane days of summer. i'm envious of and happy for you guys. be safe, have fun and live like there's no wrong turns! much love Mark B, holding down the mountain for your triumphant return...

  2. these words and pictures fill me with thrills and giggles !
    and i miss you all a whole bunch. can't wait to see and read more.
    love you,

  3. shane: a little flower child. happy travels little bro. you three look darling: thank you for sharing your adventures. big love kreh