Author Archives: erock

You know you’re in Berkeley when:

We are super excited to have a GUEST POST!!  We managed to coordinate West Coast vacations with our DC friend Emily.  It was great to see her out here for an abbreviated 942 reunion.  Made it feel all the more like home.  Here’s Emily!

You know you’re in Berkeley when:

1. There is a giant freezer of Amy’s Organic frozen food and Newman’s Own ginger cookies being sold at the video store downtown.

2. The local landfill doubles as a city park with skyline views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.  And there are amazing sculptures made of scrap metal scattered along the shore

3. You trek around town along trails through the woods with names like “Berryman Path” with grapes and citrus fruit growing all around.

4. While waiting for the BART train, there is a passenger practicing yoga on one side of you, and on the other side a person doing Tai Chi.  (thanks for this one, Kate).

5. You spend all day eating some of the best pizza and ice cream (w/ flavors such as Cardamom Rose, or Coconut Chile Cashew) in the country, and enjoy good company.  And you don’t want to leave.  Life is good.

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yay! for hostel with rental computer!!

We are treating ourselves to showers.  If you ever have the opportunity to stay a night or 3 in the Cambria, stay at the Bridge Street Inn Hostel.  Love.  I inquired about jobs here.  Its that good. 
More awesome biking.  Hills are not longer scary.  We are kind of rocking them actually.  In fact, we were told today that we are rock stars.  🙂  Camp site last night was fine.  Sleeping warm.  Met Doc, who is usually a long distance hiker, not biker.  “Doc” is his hiker name.  He asked if bikers have road names.  I told him my bike’s name is Sloopy.  Ellen is afraid of Doc. 
Expensive in these parts!!  I have been thinking i (or someone, hint hint) should get a taco truck and make this the route.  Undersell these jerks. 
A remarkable thing happened!  We rolled into SanSimeon (passed very smelly Point Piedras Blanco.  ack!) (hilarious pit stop for elephant seals) We had a gigantic sandwich at the historic general store (met Roger – biker/environmental manager) Then… a guy in a hat asked about our route. He helped us take a photo in front of the store.  He happened to arrive at the ticket counter at the Hearst Castle at the same time as us.  He offered to buy our tickets!!  Ellen and I were/still are besides ourselves with astonishment.  His name is Adam.  He’s from Phoenix.  That’s all we know – he disappeared.  We are very happy at the kindness of strangers.  it’s just heartwarming and inspiring. 
on down the road!

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big push through Big Sur

GREAT riding in Big Sur!!  can’t get very far during this stretch because there aren’t many camping options.  that’s fine – let’s not rush it!  the place we are staying tonight is pretty nice, turns out.  lots of tents!  Los Padres National Park – Plaskett camp site.  $5.  no showers (i really need one!)  since we were here early we set up the tent and biked up to a path.  Led to a cliff and down to the waves crashing on rocks.  Found a nice perch to watch the waves rolling in.  Thinking.  Ellen spotted a sea lion – FINALLY!  we’d been passing refuges but not seeing any.  This one was a real surprise in all the wave commotion.  Just there for a moment.  Perfect timing though. 
We couldn’t get out of Big Sur camp site fast enough this morning…  a SKUNK tormented us all night, trying to get at a packaged rotissere chicken.  sounded like rocks tumbling in a box by our heads.  WHY?!  so infuriating.  i even blew my whistle (before i knew it was a skunk – eek!) Once we saw it was a skunk there was nothing we could do.  The next morning i was like “i’m going to find the owners of this chicken and THEY are going to throw it away!”  Ellen pointed out i was starting to sound like Old Ed on his RV revenge tour.  Hilarious!  We are laughing a lot out here.  
I’ve realized: this ride is amazing.  this is the best riding i’ve ever had.  Spectacular.  this and the road of death in Bolivia.  not bad.  also realized.. this won’t be my last!  next trip: North Sea Cycle Route

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The Redwood Forest

After breakfast at Poppa Joe’s in Ferndale, then a tomato-tasting and blackberry popsicle stop, we rolled through lush dairy land and onto the Ave. of the Giants.  Redwoods.  This is what i’d been waiting for.  Ellen and I decided bicycle was the best way to travel this road.  (excepting maybe unicorns or Edward Cullen)
The trees are so vast and the lack of understory makes it feel like a giant room of pillars.  its very welcoming.  the air is fresh and filtered light falls on electric green needles and offers some warmth.  its quiet.  we are the only ones on the road.  (seriously, only a couple cars pass.  we picked the right season.)  on dane’s recommendation we find Rockefeller Grove for a hike.  at one point we lay on the ground to take it all in and that’s when you see the whole forest swaying in the wind.  barely perceptible.  the ground is carpeted with clover!  it was getting cold so we headed toward our camp site but found the awesome Women’s Federation Grove.  It was a day-use area with a giant hearth designed by Julia Morgan.  I want to throw a party there someday.  We made our dinner there then hit camp.  Matt and Chelsea, Old Ed and Eddie were warming by the fire.  Nice.

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some of the best views..

where are we??  what day is it??  Ellen is busy busy getting life stuff in order (hard to escape responsibilities from home!) so i will try to post something quick before time is up.  Point Arena Public Library.  Population 474. Elevation 220 (or something like that).

We’ve been having some great rides lately.  Yesterday ranks as one of our favorite for the views.  The Northern Cal. coast is more dry and sunny.  We are rolling through pasture lands with coniferous forests to our left and rocky cliffs dropping to tidal basin shores on our right.  the traffic has been light but the road doesn’t offer much of a shoulder.  Occasionally we drop into a switch back cove that we have to climb out of and it feels like we’ll flip over backward, the grade is so steep.  So yesterday we rolled into Fort Bragg for breakfast at Cafe One, on recommendation.  After pie we headed over to visit Ben and the Thanksgiving Coffee Co. where he works.  Ben gave us a tour and explanation of the organic and fair trade practices there, loaded us up with stickers (YES!!) and then topped it all off with the best cappuccino ever.  that propelled us through the day.  We stopped in Elk on a grassy cliff over the crashing waves to have yogurt lunches.  We set up camp at Manchester Beach St.Park.  These state parks vary quite a bit in amenities but they all cost only $5/person for hiker/biker spots.  We did not see any of the other riders we’ve been crossing paths with so it was a quiet night for us.  quick corn chowder dinner.  Its been SO COLD at night..  we are ready for a break in SanFrancisco!!  assuming sean doesn’t make us sleep outside.

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twitter, by the way

we’ve added a new feature.  yes.  it’s twitter.  similar to the inevitable pull of the Twilight vampire series, we have succumbed to Twitter.  its on the right side of your screen there.  “short shouts”.  since we rarely have access to post here we can text message tweets.  they will be short and sweet and hopefully without spelling errors.

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Ferndale, a lovely place to get stuck

ellen and i have set up camp at the Ferndale fairground.  it promises to be another very cold night but THIS night I am equipped with a brand new sleeping bag liner (that actually resembles cheesecloth so i don’t have much faith in it).  wish me luck.  Eureka left us feeling uninspired this morning..  what a strange car-centric seeming place!  coffee is to seattle like auto dealers and auto repair shops are to Eureka.  We stopped at Lost Coast Brewery then tried to hit the road.  101 out of town was pretty awful.  it felt illegal to be riding on that stretch so we were happy to be diverted onto back-country roads.  ..until.. Loleta.  it was immediately weird.  there was a little gang of adults on those mini motorcycles revving their engines as we pulled into town.  other odd congregations of people in an otherwise very sleepy town.  we needed a rest-stop so we headed toward signs of life and found only a post office, liquor store and butcher shop.  i bought a red bull.  so… the streets are dead quiet and empty.  this guy in a NICE SUIT passes us and says we should get our bikes off the sidewalk cause people are trying to pass.  !!!  seriously – no one is around.  we are alone with this guy passing to get to the post office.  then all of a sudden the tsunami/tornado siren goes off across the street.  then a three legged dog runs by and we realize there are stuffed animals all over.  we decide to leave immediately.

well.  here we are 10 miles from Loleta.  Ferndale could not be nicer.  everyone is at the pizza shop up the street, which smells great.  there are little fellas practicing football… the firemen are washing their engines… all the buildings are victorian.  we’re headed to the bar with live music for a glass of wine to keep us toasty this eve.

tomorrow! – avenue of the giants.  Daner, we’re going to stop at the Rockefeller Forest in that article you sent.  We’ve got a long climb into Leggett over the next couple days.  Sorry no more photo uploads.  These public computers either don’t allow it or are too slow.
(Alexis and Mike – congrats on your wedding this weekend!  i hope you all have a blast.  Sorry to be missing it.)

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