On Monday morning I leave Groveland just outside Yosemite National Park and head west towards San Francisco. The past two days have been an incredible flood of scenic rides – Death Valley and Yosemite. A rare mixture of sand dunes, dessert, lakes, forests, beaches, cacti and snow – all within 48 hours. I ride slowly through the scenery of route 120 and try to take it all in, but something seems to be on my mind that distracts me. When I pull over to get gas it suddenly hits me – even though the trip is not over yet, today I will get to the Pacific ocean, completing a a full coast to coast ride. In one hour the sights (and smells) of Oakdale’s cows and horses will change into the glorious California freeway system and in two hours I will be climbing the Bay Bridge entering the city. I have been so occupied with the rides, interviews, and writing, that I have not realized that I am already THERE, on the other coast.
And indeed, in less than an hour I was gliding through the 4 lane interstates. Riding these highways reminds me of walking in New York: a river of people, and each and everyone of them rushing off. As if they all know exactly where they are going but you. I go onto I-80, see the Pacific waters to my right, and starting to realize the magnitude of this moment for me, and then minutes later I am on the Bay Bridge. It’s a beautiful sunny day and San Francisco opens up like a postcard with the Golden Gate Bridge, the Coit Tower, Transamerica Pyramid, and Alcatraz, all in the same frame. I get on The Embarcadero, and stop in the first small parking lot I see. The parking attendant is excited to hear about my trip and offers to take pictures from different angles, making sure he is getting all the important landmarks.
I made it. I’m here. There are almost two more weeks to go, but that major experience of riding the back roads and the small towns is behind me on the east.