Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chapter One

Chapter One is rapidly coming to an end. However, this trip isn't ACTUALLY put into chapters at all, I just thought it was a clever way to sum up the segment from Nevada City to Mexico, you know, CHAPTERS.

Well since I’m now committed to this chapter book thing and all, I may as well do a little "End of Chapter" summary.. in video diary format.

The Revolutions Southward Trailer. We stayed at Davin's house for about 12 days. Starting the trip in the snow was a little unexpected but we left with smiles and hopes of it all being down hill from there; along with the prospect of warmer weather in the near future. Not exactly the case, but close. Not really.

The Ridge to Coast. So we're filming the trip, right. A documentary that is constantly transforming into an ARTumentary, with mockumentary components. And the whole being-in-front-of-the-camera thing has had its learning curve. Some people, like Jordan Bailey are naturals in front of the lens. Me on the other hand, meh not so much. But I'm getting better. I love watching the clips that Acey puts together as I shake my head and think to myself, God I sound like such a doofus! But whatever.

Introducing The Cowabunga Dude and Sir Norte. It was the Butterfly Effect. We were sitting having lunch and when we crossed paths with Jordan Bailey. A butterfly could have easily flapped his little wings and caused a typhoon to hit us, and we would have never met. I love the dynamic with four people. I like to think of Jordan as the star and Davin as the hero. Acey is the director. And me? I'm the kick ass pace setter who calls all the shots.

Big Sur is one of the most amazing sections of the California Coast. It was a shame that we weren’t able to enjoy the views. BUT we were able to enjoy Sykes Hot Springs, mostly rain free. It wasn’t the first time the rain has taught me a lesson. In Patagonia the relentless rain taught me lessons of gratitude and appreciation. That time in Rocky Mountain National Park the rain taught me patience and hope. And now, the torrential down pour lasting a week has been teaching me a lesson on attitude, will to persevere and the power of mental strength. Thanks rain, yet again.

One Chapter down. A LOT to go. I can’t believe I’m doing this. It is often that I tell myself, you’re gunna be in HONDURAS! Costa Rica?! Panama?! Really, me? Yeah you. Be present, have fun. Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Love This

I'm arguing with myself. Do I put on my soaked thermal top? Should I? It will be cold. But possibly warmer in the long run? Deep breath. I love this. Forcing my inner dialogue to become audible, "I LOVE THIS!" and slip the wet top over my head.

That's how the days have been starting. Wringing out my socks, thermals, and who knew, wringing out the soles of my shoes. But I love this. I love the "would you rathers." "Would you rather be warm and wet? or cold and dry." "Psh. Duh, warm and wet," I reply. With confidence, I should add. Jordan argues and I get defensive. "No! Are you kidding me, COLD and dry? Let me rephrase that, by cold I mean FREEZING." My stubborn-ness comes out.

The glory of "would you rather" is that there isn't a right answer. But in this case there certainly was. And MY answer was the RIGHT answer. If anyone were to be presented with this ridiculous either/or situation, wet and warm was the way to go. I think I was just trying to justify how wet (and slightly uncomfortable) I was. But warm. So that was nice.

Here are a series of photos from the last week and a half or so:

Andrew Molera State Beach. I can confidently say this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. And one of my favorite. There's a difference between the two.

Jordan and Acey hanging out in the sand

Me trying to get a picture of Davin so peacefully sketching in his note book, when Acey jumps in to steal the shot. But he made the picture, didn't he?

Psycho Jordan. Collecting little seaweed bladder things and putting them on his fingers. Freddy Kreuger-esque?

Me and Acey. Aw.

Doing the brotherly/sisterly love thing.

Jordan is THE best rock skipper I have ever seen. Myself on the other hand, could use A LOT of work.

Tiffany came up to Big Sur to hike to Sykes with us. What a beautiful looking team.

The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed, but if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the minnow would be lost...!

Hiking back, slowly on my part. But enjoying the rain non-the-less.

Davin and Jordan striped down, modestly compared to Acey, who was hiking proud solely in his underwear and t-shirt.

All for this. A nice hundred and something degree pool.

Our one month on the road anniversary is coming up. I can't imagine what the adventures and stories to come are going to be like. Wish me luck. And check out the website

Miscellaneous Hipsters

I could have easily devoted an entire month to documenting San Francisco's hipsters. Unfortunately I was only able to snap three measly pictures of miscellaneous hipsters. But they are pretty good, right?

Hipsters Number One, Two and Three: Messanger bag, check. Keys on cheapo not-rated-for-climbing carabiner, checker-roo. Mini U-lock stylishly tucked into belt, yup. Flashy rear wheel, you betcha. And of course, a fixed gear, the hipster can't leave home with out it.

Hipster Number Four: I love this shot. Equipt with iphone, krome bag and winter cycling cap this hipster dood has it all.

Hipster Number Five: Just had to make a statement with his outlandish bike. What's new.

Ok. We Never Have To Do That Again

While camping at Sunset Beach, in Watsonville, I had a brilliant idea to make instant pudding. In retrospect, it was actually a not-so-brilliant idea.

When we were shopping at Trader Joe's, I let my sweet tooth take over, slipped the box in the cart, thought to myself "THIS is going to be great."

Well, turns out... ar ar ar, the proof is in the pudding. And we are never doing that again. The picture of Acey is so wretched that I almost couldn't post it. But for your enjoyment, I had to.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Words of Encouragement

I don’t know why, but whenever we stay at someone’s house, leaving the next day is always a long drawn out process. Something about leaving the warmth and comfort of a friend’s home, getting back on the saddle and eating cream of wheat is a little hard, as much as we love it. And Davin always (slight exaggeration) forgets something, so that makes the process a little longer too.

Nicole and Jonathan, Davin’s cousins hosted us for three days. Their hospice care for animals was so love-filled and endearing. I found a little soft spot for their old dog Rudy and their three cats, especially Mary Kat, the only one that would actually let me pet her.

A little harder then leaving Nicole and Jonathan's was leaving Queen Malika's Crepes and Coffee. At least we got this picture to remember their crazy Algerian owner and hilarious employee forever.

Half Moon Bay, although it wasn’t fluffy and warm, was also challenging to leave. Opening the vestibule door to rain made me first reminisce of Patagonia, then shiver at the thought of getting wet and biking in it all day.

As we were leaving HMB, a guy from the camp site told us that we were in the home of GoPro and it would probably be worth it to stop there and see if they would sponsor us.

Sure enough, we did in fact stop. We went in there, after trying to compose ourselves a little bit, even though we were thoroughly soaked, we told them our story.

With ear to ear smiles, they loved what we were doing. Andie, one of the managers, just walked out of the office and came back with an armful of gear. She said, “Here’s a camera for you, here’s a camera for you. Here’s two helmet mounts, two bike mounts, a head strap, a chest harness, and two SD cards.”

No way!!! Christmas came early this year!! We said our thank yous and said we will stay in touch then walked out of there like three grinning idiots who just stumbled upon a giant mountain of donuts, or something awesome like that… insert whatever you’re into there, a giant mountain of gold, skittles, whatever. We were excited.

Since we took such a long time at GoPro, we got a late start on out 57 mile day. So with that, we spent a good portion on the day riding at night. For me, it was one of the harder days. Davin was hoofing it and I was giving it my all to keep up. I had to remind myself to smile a couple times when watching the rain fall in the head lights of each passing car. Bur. Ow. Burrr. Oww. Keep up. Oww. Glutes hurting. Oww.

But that’s when the words of encouragement flooded my brain. Not words from Susan B. Anthony. Not John Muir or Edward Abby… but the beautiful words of Lady Gaga. You have to love her.

Just dance, gonna be okay
Just dance, spin that record babe
Dance, dance, just, just dance

Yeah! Just dance. We danced our way to Santa Cruz. Arriving late in the eve, but arriving non the less.

I was a little delusional when we got there, but thanks to the Lady G, I made it. From here we're headed to Monterey and then Big Sur. Tiffany is even coming up and we are all going to hike to Sykes Hot Springs. I can't wait!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Grinning Idiot

We made it to Sausalito on Friday night. Climbing over Mt. Tam brought some sweat and tears, but we made it. I certainly am kicking myself a little bit for not investing in a better granny gear. While Acey and Davin are spinning away, making it look like light work, I’m chugging along like the little engine that could.

Having never been to San Francisco, I was overwhelmed by the cityscape and the amount of people. It’s beautiful here.

The Golden Gate Bridge. Originally planned to be painted yellow, but opted for red to hid the dirt. Good decision San Francisco.

We stayed at the Yuba Bike shop, a modest space tucked amongst industrial containers and ship building ports. Ben, the founder of Yuba Bikes, is a friend of Davin’s mom. He was gracious enough to offer us a place to sleep and took us out to the town’s finest Indian food. I can barley handle the spicy factor of fresh ground pepper at times, so while everyone was enjoying the conversation I was focusing a significant amount of energy on keeping my caboose in the chair and rationing my water supply.

Yuba Bikes

The next morning Yuba Bikes was competing in what I would call some kind of scavenger hunt, alley cat, benefit race. About 200 people entered and brought back 8,000 and some odd pounds of food to the food bank. I felt like we happened upon a little gem of the city, bumping into such a vibrant crowd of unusual suspects and hipsters alike. There were people were in Santa suits, v-necks and tall black boots. All the bases were covered.

Tour guide Steve

Steve, one of the Yuba team members, took us on a nice hour and a half jaunt over the Golden Gate Bridge to the city. As soon as the bridge was in sight I became the biggest grinning idiot. I loved it. The fog, the people, the cars. I felt an overwhelming joy and love for the city. I loved the mass amounts of steel and cables. Watching the tide flush out from under the bridge. All the tourists on their townie bikes. Steve was the ultimate tour guide too. We stopping along the way and got mini history lessons about the town. I loved every minute of it.

The eagle has landed! We went straight from city sight seeing to alley cat racing. We just got wrapped up in the momentum, it wasn’t in our plan to ride in the race, but before we knew it we found ourselves zipping through China Town with the Yuba team. They were packing 50 pound bags of rice on the back of their Yuba bikes, it was madness. This one guy backed his bike into a car and I literally thought a fistfight was going to break out. Acey had the camera out and I was getting a little uneasy. Should we be filming this? In retrospect, I’m glad we did.

China Town

This is just outside of the AT&T Stadium, they were meeting up to discuss their game plan. And as per usual, we were documenting.

Check out this contraption. It bumped the tunes, all pedal powered. And the flight wings/stabilizers! Inconceivable!

Ben with Yuba bikes bringing the load back to the food bank. I think the total was 550 pounds.

After the race we went to the after party, AKA, hipster’s paradise. There was beer, vegan cookies, coffee, a taco truck and enough messenger bags to outfit the entire city.

The Yuba Team.

Yesterday was supposed to be our day off, but we logged about 20 miles just biking around the city. I love city riding. There is even a distinct city smell here. I love that too.

We are currently staying at Nicole and Jonathan’s house, Davin’s cousins. The house was built in 1901 and could be featured in one of the ghost hunter shows. It’s great. From here it looks like we will be headed down to Santa Cruz and arrive in Huntington Beach around Christmas.

Doing the tourist thing, but hey! It's my first time.

We're Doing it Harry!

We finally made it to Hwy 1. The going wasn't easy and it sure wasn't fun. Well, that second part is a lie. It was fun. And from here it's just gunna get funner. I mean, more fun.

This is the road we took from the valley over to the coast. I think it was called Point Stewarts Road. But next to the hills behind Davin's house, theses were horrendous. This photo doesn't quite show it, but I was pushing my bike a good amount. Which also isn't easy work.

Looks like we're on our way to Point Reyes, Sausilito, and San Francisco. We are finally getting our groove on. Davin and I now have about 300 miles behind us, it feels good to finally be doing it.

We left the campground early and made breakfast at this beautiful little nook. Acey and Davin are always thinking of the film, wanting to capture everything. This is my documentation on the documentation.

This was taken in Bolinas. A little town that keeps removing their sign so tourists won't make a pit stop there. Hilarious. It reminds me of CSU, how they finally painted "Weed Laboratory" when the sign kept disappearing.

Another long shot. We couldn't pass up this scenery.

This is at Stinson Beach. A lot of things oddly remind me of Fort Collins. I think it's mainly because I'm looking for it. But this reminds me of hanging out at Rotary in the winter time, watching people walk out of the ice in their big coats.

I'm here. But still thinking of you Fort Collins.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Calistoga Sweet Calistoga

We spent the day biking from Calusa to Clear Lake. Well just short of Clear Lake. There really arn't enough hours in the day to do as many miles as we would like. Really, I don't know of there are enough muscles in my legs to do as many miles as we would like.

We camped at a four wheelers paradise, lots of dirt bikers and off road trails. Thank you BLM. The flat spot we found to pitch the tent had a dirty old matress inhibiting the vacinity and Davin throuht it would be bad juju to disturb it... or camp any where near it for that matter.

The next day we were headed to Calistoga. To the home of the Sneddons. We packed up and got on the road at a decent hour. It wasn't before long that we were climbing some massive hills, but before we knew it we were on flat land and back in our peloton groove.

I was lost somewhere in the world of focuing on Acey's rear wheel and recapping my dreams from the previous night when this truck rolls up next to us with a guy sticking his head out the window, and he's video taping us. Laughs were exchanged but then it was back to cranking along. Back to looking at Acey's wheel and thinking about what my dream ment.

Was that Nate? It took a good minute to realize, recap and analyze what just happened. Was that Nate video taping us just now? I asked.

Sure enough Nate and his dad Steve had come go the rescue. From there, We spent three glorious days in Calistoga with the Sneddons, Steve, Sue, Sharon, and Nate.

Steve and Sue were impecable hosts. They treated us like royal guests of honor, I have never experienced such genuine, welcoming hospitality. Steve and Sue are amazing. Like second parents. They showed us around town, took us hiking and served us wine and cheese.

Sue and Sharon are master thrifters. We hit up the mother of all thrifting paradises. However, Acey, Davin, and Nate don't look so into it here..

But this place had a piano and kept them a little more amused.

Good healthy family fun.

When I'm stationary again I want to have more dinner parties. I was taking notes from the Sneddon's. They known how to do it. Thank you again for showing us a great time and welcoming us into your home.