Sunday, July 1, 2012

Riding Across The Golden Gate Bridge

1st July 2012

Took our time at the Mineral RV Park, especially because we decided to do the washing and two of the dryers were broken. Luke passed the time by getting involved in his first romance novel. He liked it so much he decided to “borrow” it.

The Mineral RV Park was a winner, nice quiet place with shady trees and a cute little single toilet and shower in the bathroom – with shower door. We were still in the mountains and it obviously snows a lot as the laudromat has a sign warning of avalanches coming off the roof.

We left at 12.30 and headed towards the main freeway that runs down California. Once out of the mountains we were back to brown dry grass and warm weather. At Red Bluff we went looking for lunch and a coffee. Starbucks provided the latter and we thought we'd try a Mexican fast food place called Burrito Bandito for the food. I had a “kid's size” bean burrito which was just as huge as an adult size one. Only difference, not much flavour. It only had beans and cheese. Luke discovered the joy of quesadillas.

I think I've decided that Mexican food here is often just kebabs wrapped differently.

We got on Interstate 5 and headed for Monterey. Except that as we approached San Francisco again we made a flash decision to head into Marin County and attempt the ride over the Golden Gate Bridge again. It was 6pm.

Girl in background outdoes my 'laugh with a turn' pose
It was nice and sunny... until within about 1km of the bridge. Then: massive fog, a gale and freezing cold temperatures. We managed to find a park on the right hand side of the Northern section, rugged up in our thermals and raincoats and set off. It wasn't what you would call a pleasant bike ride but it was still brilliant. The views from the bridge are impressive, even with fog. The bridge was sounding it's foghorn which made the whole structure vibrate. We were on the bike-only footpath which meant we were sharing the space with a lot of lycra warriors, some of whom I annoyed by pulling out in front of them without looking. Ah well. The bridge has intermittent emergency telephones that will connect you to suicide prevention counselors  It also has lots of spots of red paint on the concrete. You could feel it swaying in the wind. The cables are HUGE and the traffic is really close to the edge.

On the other side we took some obligatory photos and then headed off for a ride along the foreshore to Chrissy Field. I need to look up the history on this. It seemed to be privately owned until the couple gave it up to the public for enjoyment. We didn't bother to put our hands in the water... I knew it would be cold. Pleasant enough ride, although we had a headwind going back and a lot of it was uphill. The mountain bike gears helped a lot. The beachside path was busy despite the weather and late hour. Lots of people jogging and one guy flying a paua kite.

The ride back over the bridge didn't seem as windy and the foghorns weren't going. We watched a huge cargo ship go under the bridge, accompanied by a tug called the Millenium Falcon. Delusions of grandeur.

Back in the RV (and warming up) we decided to just head over the bridge, pay the $6 toll and brave it through the middle of SF to go south. Turned out to be easier and quicker than expected. I guess Sunday night traffic isn't too bad. We managed to find a park in a suburb south of Strawberry Fields and had Indian/Pakistani for dinner. Nice food but no alcohol served. I guess they were Muslims. It may explain why there were no other diners there, just lots of takeaway orders. Although maybe that was because it was late.

Dinner done we hurtled off down the freeway to see how far we could get. Tired, we decided to go to the Walmart at Palo Alto which was actually a lot further east than expected. But we had a good night's sleep and were left alone.

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