Last ride

Day 33: Half Moon Bay to San Francisco, 36 miles

After every defeat comes a victory? Maybe this time. The ride in to San Francisco has that feel today. I’m up with the dawn, what a good habit that is. Fact is the full moon made sleeping in the tent a challenge, along with the many coons marauding through the camp, leaving their muddy pawprints all over my panniers.

I bid farewell to Chris, another very green newby, first tour. He’s visiting from North Carolina, saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time last night. He’s down on himself for not being strong enough, having to walk Skyline Boulevard. I give him encouragement, remembering my first touring experience. And remembering yesterday. “Just take it at the pace that is right”.

With that I head down the bike path, jazzed by the pattern the fence and morning sun are making with shadow. I’m riding beside my shadow a lot right now, sun behind me as I head north, north east. And the other shadow too, that which isn’t seen. Always with us. Best to consider it carefully.

I linger too long at Peet’s Coffee, then head north, into strong winds as I round the bay. Then climbing, up to the tunnels. The Devils Slide appears, not open to cyclists yet. So through the north bound tunnel. No wind! And a nice level ride. Again, feels space age, with face stone face, too many lights, fans, traffic signals. I clock it – 3/4 mile long. Wow. Will this survive a quake? Maybe that’s why CalTrans made it a dual tunnel.

Then down the other side, Mateo Range conquered. I follow the PCH up through Pacifica, watching the many surfers out on a clear Saturday morning. Then I’m climbing Skyline Drive, much steeper this way. I’m glad for the gearing the mechanic at Corvallis Cyclery gave me. I crawl up the steel hill to Daly City. Descending, then more climbing. Ten miles of city riding await. I consider hopping the BART, then ride on. I feel strong, victorious. I am riding into San Francisco, on the last ride of my tour.

Traffic in the city is light. Saturday. Where is everyone? Sleeping in. At the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building. I round the Embarcadero, then climb past Ghirardelli Square, up to Fort Mason. The Hostel appears, warm and inviting. A respite for this traveler, weary from the road. I’m looking forward to meeting some friends in San Francisco, and to making new connections with travelers from near and far.

Shower, laundry… wait! The sunset! Just in time to catch it, behind the Golden Gate. Maybe I’ll ride over the bridge again tomorrow, explore the headlands. I love this city.

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