Monday, June 25, 2012

SF to Tahoe Ride - Day 5 Alta to Tahoe City

Well, this is it. The last and final push to Tahoe City....53 miles and the SF to Tahoe ride is in the bag, done, finito, checked off the bucket list....
Originally, the plan was to ride about 17 miles on Hwy 80 from Alta up to Cisco Grove where we could get off the main highway and onto Old Hwy 40.  After yesterday's experience though we decided to shuttle up to Cisco Grove and just start the ride there.  Turns out it was a great idea since further up Hwy 80 there was construction that would have made an unpleasant ride downright dangerous.

It was my turn to drive this morning and with 6 riders and only enough room for 3 passengers in the van, it was going to take 2 trips to get the gang started.  The first group of Jer, Gail and Bob were probably 45 minutes or so ahead of the second group of Bill, Leticia and Dwight and after seeing them off, I spent the remainder of the morning driving between the two groups making sure they had everything they needed. 

This section of the ride, despite the fact that it was uphill would have been a really nice ride.  It runs parallel to not only Hwy 80, but to the south fork of the Yuba river as well.  Its a really pretty road and I didn't see but one other vehicle until we got to the Soda Springs exit.

As the group pulled in to Soda Springs wqe stopped to regroup at the Donner Summit historical society. This actually used to be a ski shop called Java Summit sports.  Here we met Norm, the president of the society and walked around the little museum that they have there.  Turns out, according to Norm, there is a route that we could have taken up old Hwy 40 that would have eliminated our need to get on Hwy 80. (would have been nice to know that ahead of time I guess)
It was here that I would get back on the bike and Bob would take over the driving.  Once again, I had managed to dodge the climbing portion of the day and would get to enjoy the downhill into the Donner Lake area. 
Wow, what a downhill too.  Absolutely gorgeous with a view of the lake below us and a great swooping road to enjoy.

After reaching the bottom, you cruise alongside Donner Lake for a ways before crossing over Hwy 80 and coming in to Truckee where we were to regroup at Paco's Bike Shop.  Paco's is a really nice shop and the guy there, who's name I forget, was pleasant and seemed to enjoy hearing about our adventure. 

From here, Bob would get back on the bike and Dwight would take over driving.  Dwight, knowing Bob felt bad about missing the awesome downhill offered to run him back up to the top and let him have his turn at it.  Bob immediately agreed and Jer decided it was worth doing again, so off they went in the van as the rest of us headed to meet my sister Maureen in Squaw Valley for lunch.
For some reason, I was under the impression it was only about 6 miles from Truckee to Squaw so when I called Maureen, I told her we'd be there in about a half hour or so.....40 minutes laer as we were still working our way down Hwy 89, she called to see where we were. FYI - Hwy 89 on a bicycle is really not a great road.  The view is pretty and on Friday mid-day, the traffic wasn't too bad, but the road itself is not great.  The expansion joints on the shoulder keep you bouncing and bumping to the point that I felt like I may have loosened some filings.

Eventually though you turn in to the entrance to Squaw and the under the sign from the 1960 Winter Olympics.  From here, its a nice ride up to the village where we met Maureen.

With Bob and Jerry re-doing the descent from Donner summit, and knowing they still had at least an hour after that, we relaxed in the shade, ate a nice lunch and caught Maureen up on our adventure so far.  Squaw Valley in the summer is a completely different place than it is in the middle of ski season.  Instead of the crowds and the noise,  the village is quiet, relaxed and peacefull sitting at the bottom of the mountain and surrounded by the beautiful valley meadow. 

Jerry and Bob showed up not too long after and although I think Bob really enjoyed the downhill, pretty sure he may have been regretting his decision due to the miles on Hwy 89 that came along with it.  After five consecutive days of riding I think he was feeling the effects and, like me, was ready to be off the bike for the day.
From here, we had a short section on the bike path into town and over to the condo where we'd be spending the weekend.  Maureen, unlike the rest of us though, was still fresh having only had a short ride out to meet us.  As she took off, in the drops, legs making strong fast circles, you could tell she wasn't feeling the miles or the elevation that we were.

As we rolled in to Tahoe City, I had mixed feelings about finishing the trek.  Where the beginning of the week had held a sense of adventure and anticipation, the end of the trip left me wondering what to do next. Yes, I had set out to ride from home to Tahoe and had actually done it, and yes, my legs and body were tired and ready to be off the bike, and yes, there was a definite sense of accomplishment in setting a goal and actually accomplishing it.  But, at the other end of the spectrum, I really didn't want this week to end and as is always the case for me, the completion of a goal leads to a certain amount of emptiness.
We gathered at the condo, met up with Leticia's husband Bob and Dwights wife and daughter, showered, got situated and headed over to the Bridgetender for burgers and beers....a great way to end a great day.

Tomorrow, we'd wrap up the week with a loop around the lake and that would be the end of the adventure. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

SF to Tahoe - Day 4 Folsom to Alta

As had been my routine for this trip, and every day actually, I awoke early.  I'm usually awake by 4:30 most mornings and even on days off, rarely sleep beyond 6:00.  The challenge with having a roommate for the entire trip is to balance my internal clock and habits, with being a considerate roommate and not waking Dwight.

After seeing me wandering around the property waiting for the dining room to open, the lady working there finally took pity on me and offered me coffee from a pot she had made behind the bar. I grabbed a couple of cups and was going to head back up to the room, when Dwight stepped out of the elevator.  Evidently I hadn't been as quiet as I thought when I left and he was awake and ready for breakfast.  Maybe I should have renamed this blog "Eating our way to Tahoe"
Our plan this morning was to get on the road by 7:30. This was earlier than our normal start times so far of 8:30ish and was motivated by the fact that it was supposed to be in the 90's today.  Not only would be be heading up in to the Sierras, but we'd be doing it in the heat of the day.

A little later than planned but still earlier than normal, we were on our bikes and headed out of the parking lot.  It appeared from the map, that we could just get back on the bike trail we had ridden in on and continue up the road.  Um....nope.  The trail quickly degenerated into a dirt path, then even further into a single track hiking trail....a little more adventure than our skinny tires were setup for so we turned around, headed back to the parking lot and started out again, this time on the road.

As we left the downtown area, we crossed over the American River where it comes out of Folsom Lake and jumped back on to the American River Bike Path.  The path was nice and well shaded as it wound up and towards the lake. 

At some point we got off the bike path and onto the Folsom Dam Rd...which later became that damn road as it turned into a dirt multi-use trail that would have been more fitting for a fat tired bike than it was for my carbon fiber goddess of speed. 

Nevertheless, being more stubborn than smart, we continued on until we were at a point where it required a phone call to Bill and a conversation with a couple of hikers to figure out just where in the heck we were.
After a couple of starts and stops and some nice little climbs, especially impressive due to a complete lack of traction, we made it to the parking lot for the Granite Bay State Park and met up with Bill to regroup, get water, shed some layers and figure out a plan to get back on route.

Once back on route, we picked up Auburn Folsom Rd and settled in to a nice rythym and were actually making pretty good time.  The road was in good shape, the weather, though warming, wasn't uncomfortable and the traffic was light. 

Google Maps has a routing tool for bicycles.  Evidently its still in Beta and for the most part it worked well.  There were a couple of times where it took us off the main road, only to dump us back on after detouring through some residential neighborhoods.  I assume the goal is that since we're on bicycles we want to stay off main roads, but the reality is these "detours" didn't seem to add anything to the ride other than just a different road. 

A couple of times though, it almost seemed as if the engineers at Google were just being mean.  We turned off of Auburn Folsom Rd (which as I stated was a very nice road) onto Shirland Tract Rd which immediately went UP.  As a matter of fact, it went up on a switchback so steep, I actually heard Gail drop the "F" Bomb!  I later found out that Gail has a very distinct climb difficulty meter. Tough climb, really tough climb and after that, they're rated based on the number of "F" bombs dropped during the climb....Shirland Tract Rd will go in the books as a 2 "F" Bmb hill. 
Once we got the first two climbs out of the way though, the road was really pretty and continued to roll up, then down along the ridge before dropping us down at the next meeting spot in Auburn.

After getting water, gels, etc from the van we wound through Auburn and eventually came to the place we were to meet for lunch.  Auburn, like many of the towns we had gone through, is one of those places that in a car we go by on Hwy 80 and if we stop, it's usually just off the highway for food or gas.  There are actually some interesting things that most people will never see. Like giant concrete indian figures....
Lunch was at a Subway where we thankfully enjoyed the modern convenience of air conditioning as we sat and ate.  It had definitely gotten warm outside, but still not brutally hot as I had feared it would.

The morning had started off with some stops and starts, a couple of missteps and some interesting routing provided by Google Maps.  Thinking the afternoon would be any different would have been a mistake.  It wasn't long after lunch that we had our first "adventure".  Evidently we were supposed to be looking for a certain road to turn on and somehow missed it.  This led to a "nice" climb (that's sarcasm in case you're not sure) in full sun up to a pretty lake.  It would have been even prettier if we were meant to be there and didn't have to go backwards from here.
Eventually though, after talking to our support crew in the van (did I mention that I LOVE cell phones?) we found our way back on route and continued on. There were some good climbs and some fun descents as we worked our way up the hill towards Colfax.  Evidently, the engineers at Google have never actually been to Colfax since they had us going on Narrow Gauge Rd which is totally NOT a road. As a matter of fact, I need to find out if I can sue someone to replace my cleats from all the walking we did on this route.  I'm not sure I could have climbed this one on my geared mountain bike.
Oh well, like I said, it's the things that don't go according to plan that create the memories and this was shaping up to be a good one.  Soon enough we came out on a paved road and were back on route yet again.  The route, it turned out was from Rollins lake up to and over highway 80. This was abou ta 3 mile climb that gains 1000ft.  Nothing too brutal, but in the heat this late in the day, I was definitely feeling it.
Thankfully, Gail and Leticia were in the van at the top of the hill with cold drinks.

Its on these types of long, steady climbs that my brain tends to check out and my focus turns inward.  For me, riding has always provided a outlet for stress, a time to think through issues and problems and a healthy way to turn myself inside out and work on life's challenges.  The singular act of making cirlces is almost like meditation for me.

It's an easy thing, when facing challenges, to get so caught up in them that you forget to keep things in perspective.  My personality probably leads me to do this more so than many because I tend to be a little obsessive (some people have even accused me of having control issues. ha!)  In my day to day life I often find myself so focused on one issue or another that I let things get a little out of whack.  Riding my bicycle really allows me to step back from that and put things back where they belong on the priority list.  I have an awesome family, good health, a roof over my head and food on the table. I truly am blessed. Afterall, here I am, on a 7 day bicycle vacation, through paradise, with almost all of my closest friends
Once we refueled, we crossed over highway 80 again, and continued our climb, descend, climb routine up towards the sky.  Bill joked that with all ups and downs, it was requiring 2000ft of climbing for every 1000 ft of elevation we gained.  And I don't think he was far off the mark.  The downhill sections, which should have been joyous, we actually almost disheartening since we knew they only led to more climbing later.  Still, the scenery was pretty, the road was empty and as it had been all week, the fellowship was perfect.

Eventually, the road we were on ended and we were forced to ride a section of Hwy 80 up to Alta.  There wasn't really anything scary about Hwy 80, it was just not fun.  The shoulder was at least 10 ft wide, fairly clear of junk and debris and in decent shape.  Still, the cars and trucks whizzing by at 65 mph with the noise and the dirt they kicked up and the wind combined to make this the worst section of the day.  Add to that, my legs were cooked, it was uphill and hot and I just wanted the day to be over.
And soon enough, actually it felt like the longest 5 miles ever, it was over.  We were taking our offramp and pedaling around the corner to be greeted  by a very cool, nicely renovated victorian house that was to be our lodging for the evening.  We quickly dropped off the bikes, got our stuff inside, grabbed a beer and went and put our feet in the pool.  The water was freezing but felt so good that I dared Dwight to jump in.  He in turn said "if you do, I will" which I responded by jumping in....yep, again, my little pea sized brain convinced my body to do something stupid....
After everyone had cleaned up and relaxed for a it Joanne, who owns the B&B, provided us with an awesome dinner of ribs or vegetarian raviolis.  Joanne, it turns out, is quite a character and although I think she would have loved it if we stayed up all night sharing stories, we were all pretty wiped out and hit the sack early.

Total for the day was about 60 miles and 5K of climbing (I'm guessing since my garmin no longer stays charged for a full day's riding)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

SF to Tahoe - Day 3 Davis to Folsom

Today is to be our "rest day".  We still have 50 miles to ride but its all flat and all of it is supposed to be on bike paths and/or bike lanes.

Before we get to that though, yesterday I mentioned how Davis is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. This morning, before the ride, I got up early and took a walk to explore downtown (and to find coffee)
In addition to bike racks all over the city, bike lanes throughout the city and a 4 bike shops in the 10 block area I walked through, I came across this little bike path.....if there are any city planners out there trying to figure out how to do bike paths....well take a look at Davis...They NAILED IT!

Anyway, after getting back to the motel, enjoying their free continental breakfast, (which btw was VERY good, they even had a waffle maker) we loaded up and got ready to head out on the bikes.  Immediately we were lost.  We tried to follow the cool bike path in the picture above, but it went the opposite direction from where we wanted to go so we headed out on surface streets.
Eventually we found the bike path that goes to Sacramento and headed on our way.  We hadn't gone very far when I noticed the weirdest thing, it looked like a sail was blowing down the path in our direction.  As it turns out, it was a low, boat looking thing that went by us.  Bill and I, after a moment of indecision, decided to chase him down to get a picture.  We turned around, stood up and hammered out after him.....well, as much I was able to hammer anyway after back to back long days.
As we chased him down, my legs began to feel like lead and my commitment to getting a picture began to didn't appear we were gaining on him at all and according to my GPS I was doing between 21-22 mph....eventually though, he came to the end of the path and had to stop for traffic. 

This gave us the opening we needed to catch him, flag him down and chat with him.  It turns out that he was on a covered recumbent and was riding from West Sacramento to Davis.  The thing was really pretty cool and evidently, since it was so aerodynamic, his pace of 21 mph was easily maintained while we were killing ourselves trying to catch him....I kind of got the feeling he saw us in his mirror and was actively trying not to be caught.
After a couple of pictures and a nice conversation, Bill and I began, yet again, to try to catch the far our "easy" day had already pushed me into the red zone more than I wanted.

After catching up to the group, we pedaled onward, making good time as we headed for Sacramento.  The bike path into Sacramento was mostly empty it being a weekday and we rolled in to Sacramento without getting lost again.  We met up with Gail and Dwight who were driving the first leg and got water and dropped off our jackets since it was already warming up.  The path then led through Old Town Sacramento and on to the American River bike path. 

From here, Dwight and Gail would head on up to the hotel at Folsom, drop off the van and ride backwards to meet up with us.  Jerry had used this process on other road trips and it seemed to be working really well on this trip too.

As had become our standard routine, Bill and I would stop frequently and take pictures then hustle to catch the group.  In most cases this worked fine and we never had any issues.  This time though, as we rode along thinking we would catch them at the next bend in the path we came to a long straight away and Bill mentioned that he didn't see them anywhere in the distance.  I in turn commented that "it's a bike path, there's no way to get lost on a bike path".  Um...well....evidently it is possible to get lost on a bike path as about 2 miles later our path ended at a major road and the others were nowhere in sight.

After discussing it for a few minutes, we called Jerry (I sometimes wonder how we ever survived without cell phones) and found out that evidently yes, you can get lost on a bike path if you miss the turn that goes across the river and picks up on the other side.
Once again, Bill and I were pushing to catch the group and this time with about 4-5 bonus miles added to our "easy" day.

The American River Bike Path is a really nice bike path and I'm pretty sure if I lived in the area, this would become one of my regular rides.  The scenery is pleasant, there are lots of water fountains and restrooms and the path itself is really well maintained.
The day continued to warm up and although it was only a 50 mile day (55 for those of us that are directionally challenged) my legs (and my butt, neck and shoulders) were feeling the effects of multiple long days on the bike. 

One of the coolest parts about traveling by bike instead of a car is the stuff you see.  Although I have driven to Tahoe literally hundreds of times, there were towns we went through that I had never seen before since they require getting off the freeway.  We rode across cool bridges, through parts of Sacramento that the freeway goes right over, and historic sites I had only read about.  One of the really cool things we saw was the Nimbus Dam trout hatchery. 

Having spent a good portion of my life in pursuit of these piscatorial protagonists (yep, that's an alliteration...impressive right?) it was really fun to see long concrete troughs packed full of rainbow trout in varying sizes.  Even better, was seeing them go crazy every time I tossed a handful of the pellets in the water.  I rarley even see trout and never see this type of activity when I'm actually out fishing so it was a rare sight.

Soon enough we rolled in to Folsom, checked into a really nice hotel, the Lake Natoma Inn, and cleaned up.  Afterwards, we set out in search of food since as much as I like Honey Stinger Waffles, having them for lunch wasn't going to work for me....
Downtown Folsom is another of those cool little towns that I've never actually seen before.  You can tell they're investing in making it a destination but on a Wednesday afternoon, the town was pretty quiet.  Dwight, who claims that chocolate is actually a food group, was thrilled to find out the town actually had a chocolate factory and we did our best not to drool all over the viewing windows as they made row after row of custom chocolate delicacies.

So, with our bellies full and our sweet tooth sated the next item on the agenda was a nice little nap.  The decision was actually a tough one though, do I take advantage of the jaccuzzi or do I take a nap?  The nap won out so the jaccuzzi would have to wait till after dinner.

A few hours later we regrouped in the lobby and headed out in pursuit of more food.  Yep, we'll burn it off was quoted once again as we sat down to mexican food and beers.  After an amazing plate of Arroz con Pollo and a couple of negro Modelos I was full once again and actually concerned that maybe I wouldn't burn it off.  I knew I had a date with a jaccuzzi later but in an attempt to at least burn a few of the calories I had taken in, several of us wandered through the one main street that makes up downtown Folsom.
Afterwards, sitting in the jaccuzzi, letting the previous 3 day's worth of riding gently wash away from my tired legs and butt, it struck me that this was indeed turning in to the trip of a lifetime and just how blessed I was to be making it.  The riding was amazing, the lodging was great and the friendship and fellowship were absolutely incredible.....this feeling of contentment and well being though was offset by the fact that tomorrow we would begin climbing up through the Sierras.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SF to Tahoe – Day 2 Guerneville to Davis

Today was to be the longest and toughest day of the entire trip.  105 miles with about 6K of climbing. Ordinarily, if we were doing a century ride this would be considered moderate.  But, coming right on the heels of 95 miles and about 5K of climbing and LONG stretches into a headwind, most of us were a little slow to get started this morning.

Last night, at dinner we started, what was to be our mantra for the rest of the week, “we’ll burn it off”…Here you can see Dwight putting the new mantra to the test.

We'll burn it off
As part of the trip, we had brought along Jerry’s van with ice chests, snacks, tubes, pumps, etc. This would act as our sag wagon and we were all to take turns driving.  I reluctantly volunteered to drive the first leg today with Bill. (And by reluctantly, I mean I yelled dibs before anyone else had a chance)

BTW - The place we spent the night was really nice.  If you’re ever in Guerneville needing a place to stay, the Cottages on River Rd is a very nice place. And, they have the most AMAZING apple fritters - fritters are afterall, consdered fruit....duh they're made from apples you know..

The first leg of the ride is actually really pretty. We drove on small country roads that wound through vineyards and up and over hills and eventually into Windsor where we were to regroup. 
Downtown Windsor
Since we made much better time than the others we went in to Starbucks and had a coffee before wandering across the street to check out the local bike shop.  We hadn’t been in the bike shop too long when the gang rolled into town.

After making sure they all had water, gels, whatever, Bill and I piled back into the van and the others took off pedaling.  Our goal was to get to Calistoga, park the van and ride backwards until we met up with the gang.  And it actually worked really well.  The only challenge was actually convincing myself to get back on the bike and ride once we got to Calistoga instead of taking a nap in the shade.  We did though get going and enjoyed a ncie climb, followed by a great downhill before reaching a nice long flat that led us along wineries and where we eventually met up with the others.
Where Monday had been sunny but cool, I had my arm warmers on most of the day, today was definitely warmer.  Warmer to the point that even in just a jersey, I was sweating pretty good on the climbs.  As we raced down the hill Bill and I had climbed on our way to meet the group, I hit a sharp edge on the road pretty hard....soon after the rear wheel was mushy and I knew I had a flat.

Bill stopped as the others rode on by and after changing the flat, he and I began what was to become a recurring event...falling behind for one reason or another then trying to catch the others...
impromptu bike stand
As we rolled in to Calistoga, we found a place for lunch, ate and then got back on the road.  Jerry had agreed to drive this leg so the rest of us, got back on the road and enjoyed a really nice ride down the Silverado Trail through some of the nicest wine country in the state.

Eventually, the fun ended and we had to make a turn onto Hwy 128 which would take us up and over the hill past Lake Hennessy and Lake Berryessa.  This would turn out to be a long, hot, tough climb.  First though, I would get another chance to change a tire as I noticed a slit in my rear tire. 

The climb up towards Lake Berryessa was a tough climb.  Not sure if it was the heat, my general lack of fitness this year or the fact that I was carrying a "couple" extra pounds up the hill, but that thing about killed me.  There were several turns where you could actually see the road wind up the hill into the distance and those were the worst.  At a couple of points I was convinced I was going to stop and get in the van.  It was only by lying to myself that I was able to keep going.  I'd say, ok, after the next corner I'll stop....then as I got to the next corner, I'd say, ok, after the next corner I'll sag...yep, my mind is a feeble little device that can easily trick my body into doing stupid's one of my strengths.
Bill above Lake Berryessa
After finally reaching the top of the hill, the fun part began with a nice fast long downhill.  This was followed by kind of a long mostly flat, kind of ugly run into the town of Winters.  Originally, Winters was supposed to be the end of Day 2.  Unfortunately, they don't have lodginng in Winters so we were forced to continue on to Davis. 

The ride in to and through Davis was actually a pretty nice ride.  Davis is considered one of the most bike friendly cities in the world with over 100 miles of bike lanes and bike paths.  They even have bike roundabouts at many of the intersections. The absolute coolest thing was a random giant bicycle out in the middle of a field miles outside of town.
Giant Yellow Bike
As we found our lodging for the evening, showered and cleaned up, our thoughts turned to dinner. And, what better way to recover from a long hard ride than pizza.  Woodstock pizza in Davis in addition to serving up an amazing couple of pizzas added a nice bonus.....dessert pizza in honor of my birthday....yep, I was able to milk the occasion for an entire week.
Dwight and Leticia were the only riders to actually do the entire 105 miles and almost 6K of climbing today and it was here, in the middle of enjoying the dessert pizza that Dwight paid the we sat talking and laughing, suddenly Dwight stood up with a grimace....pretty soon, he wasn't standing he was laying on the floor as Gail tried to work out the cramps that had locked up his hamstrings.  As the manager came over to make sure he was ok, we, like good friends do, laughed and pointed and made fun of him laying on the floor.

A perfect ending to a perfect day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SF to Tahoe Ride - Day 1 SF to Guerneville

Turning 50 years old can generate a lot of negative emotions; dismay at getting older, depression about the state of your 401K in this economy, anxiety about your ability to actually blow out 50 candles on a cake, even a pending sense of doom knowing you're  life is probably at least half over.....

I was experiencing none of those emotions though, my life is actually pretty blessed.  I'm employed, have a great family, a roof over my head and food on the table.....and I was getting ready to start out on an amazing adventure, riding my bike along with several good friends, from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe.

Day 1 started out like many rides before it. We were at Chrissy Field getting ready to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and up through Marin County.
The only difference this time, was instead of arriving back at the van at the end of the day, we'd be ending up in Guerneville on the Russian River.

It was clear and sunny and although I was a bit concerned about the 90+ miles we were to ride, I was excited to start and anxious to get out into areas I had never ridden before. 

Like most vacations, the first day tends to be somewhat of a transition period.  Technically I was on vacation but mentally I was still carrying a lot of the workday baggage.  Stress about ongoing jobs, concern about bills I hadn't paid, guilt over starting out on a weeklong ride while my family was at home, etc, etc....The nice thing about vacations is that the farther you get from home, the less those thoughts intrude upon your day.

The difference between a bicycle vacation and a normal one is that the pace that you leave town is dramatically slower. This though, is a good thing in that as we worked our way across our portion of California, that same slow pace would allow us to see and experience the state in ways that are impossible when travelling by car.

The Golden Gate Bridge, when ridden across on a bike, with the smell of the salt in your nose, the wind off the ocean blowing you around, the ebb and flow of the tides moving beneath you..... these are sensations you can't experience from inside a large metal object moving at 65mph, even if the windows are down.

As the ride went on and the miles added up, we saw large empty spaces that belie the fact that we live in a state with 37 million people.
We rode across bridges older than I am and passed through communities where the oysters they served have been harvested from the same beds for almost 100 years.

One of the nice parts about riding long distances on a bike is that while my legs continued to make circles, my mind was allowed to check out for a while.  Its a very cool opportunity to spend time with God while enjoying His creation. There would actually be times throughout the week as I motored along on empty roads with my ipod delivering worship music into my head when I could almost feel His presence right there with me....
Eventually as we rolled in to Guerneville, 95 miles from where we started, the day came to an end.  I was sore, tired and ready to be off the bike. But imminently thankful still for the ability to be able to ride my bike with good friends through amazing scenery....