Pacific Coast Tour: Day 14
Day 14: Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Lagunitas, CA to Oakland, CA
Approximate daily mileage ~ 50 miles
Approximate total mileage ~ 1,173 miles
Approximate daily elevation gain ~ 1,700 feet
Approximate total elevation gain ~ 50,000 feet
Around 7:45 AM I awoke still underneath the same majestic redwood. It had a fresh new look in the early morning daylight and the same fresh tone was set for the day. The British men were just arising out of their tents as well. They promptly started making coffee on their camp stove. My breakfast consisted of water, carrots, and the remaining 1/3 jar of peanut butter. I gathered and carefully packed my things for the 14th time. While I was eating I watched the two guys from the UK who rode all the way from Boston take only a fraction of the amount of time to do the same. It was clear they really knew what they were doing by now.
The four of us were packed and ready to go around the same time, and we were all headed toward the Bay Area as a destination. It was decided. We would ride out together. In order to ride toward the San Francisco from Samuel P. Taylor State Park there were two options. We could backtrack the way we entered then return to Highway 1 or we could continue on Sir Francis Drake Blvd eastward. We chose to continue eastward as two of the guys wanted to get to SF as soon as possible to check into their hostel and explore/rest for the day. It quickly became apparent these two guys were in shape after riding across the country! Their pace was pretty quick as I pushed more than usual to keep up. Unfortunately, the other solo rider from the UK wasn’t able to keep up so we said our goodbyes and continued onward.
Soon enough, we rode through Fairfax and San Anselmo. None of us had the best idea of where we were going while navigating through these suburbs. The British guys had the same Adventure Cycling Association maps that I did, but referring to these on the go during traffic is a little challenging. Instead, I took the lead and used Google maps directions. This worked well and even took us up a good climb on Corte Madera Ave which had great scenery and a fun descent. Again, those guys had no problem climbing up the hill staying right on my rear tire the whole time. This route took us south toward Marin City and quickly through the beautiful Sausalito. This would have been the perfect little rest area for a coffee before approaching Golden Gate Bridge. Next time, we were on a mission to reach Golden Gate and SF as quickly as possible.
A short incline follows after departing Sausalito then the iconic Golden Gate Bridge makes its grand appearance. I had seen it once previously, but the others had not. Moreover, none of us had cycled across. One of the great things about the bridge is the dedicated lane for cyclist and pedestrians with their respective lanes. Once we began on the bridge we all stopped for some scenic landmark photos. At that time we said our goodbyes as they continued toward their hostel. I slowly pedaled across the bridge stopping intermittently in admiration and for more photos. Again, after reaching the other side I made sure to stop and capture some more memories as the view from this side was just as spectacular. And just like that, I was standing in San Francisco!
It was well before noon at that time, and I still had a lot of time before meeting up with my cousin late in the afternoon. For the first time thus far I found a good portion of extra time to casually explore and enjoy the surroundings. It couldn’t have been a better day either as the sun was shining and temps climbed to the 80s. I couldn’t have asked for a better city to explore. San Francisco is a gem and really bicycle friendly. Plus, there are plenty of hills for a nice challenge. Some highlights of the day included riding through Golden Gate Park, enjoying an ice cream shake at Ghirardelli Square, eating two double doubles at In-N-Out Burger at Fisherman’s Wharf, walking my bike through the Ferry Building Marketplace, enjoying a delicious coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee, and watching the historic San Francisco Cable Cars.
SF was indeed a real treat and remains one of my favorite cities overall. After all of the city touring, it was time for the best part of the day - meeting up with my cousin, Ida! She had been working downtown that day so it worked well to meet up and take BART to Oakland where she and her husband, Chris, let me crash on their couch for a couple nights. It is always great to see family, and Ida and Chris are exceptionally fun cousins. I was long overdue on laundry so that was first in order. Then they showed me around some of Oakland, and we had a fun meal with some of Chris’ coworkers. Staying at their place meant I’d be sleeping on their luxurious couch which, after many nights outside on picnic tables, felt like sleeping on a cloud of satin comfort.