We finally made it San Francisco! The Bay is about 600 miles from San Diego so as sad as it is to say, we only have about 3 weeks left, Which is totally insane. It just feels like yesterday that we were carving through the white mountains in New Hampshire, which was about 2 months ago!
Let me preface this blog post by giving you a little description of where we are. I’m currently sitting on my Uncle Lees porch in Santa Cruz looking over the ocean, drinking an ice cold beer, so needless to say, I’m loving life right now.
This past week has been one for the books, it’s been both exhilarating and relaxing. A time where we have been able to catch up with friends and family and enjoy the beautiful amenities the Bay has to offer.
Tuesday: Marin County
After arriving to Leah’s house on Monday, we soon realized we couldn’t just spend one night there, so we decided to spend Tuesday with them as well and leave to my uncles house in Portola Valley on Wednesday. Joe and I are both adrenaline junkies so any opportunity we have to experience an action sport, we are all about it. So Satchel and Leah took us mountain biking throughout their local trails.
The motto of the day was “send it” meaning you can’t hold back. Needless to say, I fell a good amount “sending it” on the trails. We rode up this massive mountain leading us to a flow track with burms and jumps down the mountain. The adrenaline you get pumping down that is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.
After a long day of riding and falling, they took us to this local bar where it is centered around biking. They said the place is packed on weekends with mountain bikes and road bikes.
We heading home after lunch a chilled in the pool for a while. Leah also has horses, so it’s a really cool scene in her yard.
After hanging out for a little, we headed up to Mount Tam for the sunset and dinner. It was an incredible sight on the top because we were above the clouds, looking over the coast and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Wednesday: Nicasio to Portola Valley
Unfortunately we had to depart from Leah’s beautiful house to Portola valley, but luckily Leah rode with us to the Golden Gate Bridge, about 20 miles from their house.
Only about 5 minutes after leaving Leah’s house, she got a flat tire, but that is okay because while repairing it, a woman who camped next to us about a week earlier pedaled up to us. Sue, who is a retired school teacher from New Zealand is riding down the coast as well, she’s just taking her time, usually riding around 40 miles a day.
After Leah fixed her flat, we continued to the bridge riding through all these cool Marin County towns. I was shocked, we probably passed 10 bike shops, just in a matter of a couple hours. It’s so cool seeing such a strong and vibrant cycling community.
After climbing some huge hills, We finally arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge. It was covered in fog, which was actually a really cool sight to see. We said by to Leah and started riding on the bridge. There were hordes and hordes of tourists. Luckily since our rigs are so big, people got out of the way. I felt like I was in a semi truck rolling down the street.
After we got off the bridge, to get to my uncle’s house, which was south of the city, we had to ride through downtown San Francisco. The night before, Leah’s parents told us a couple scenic ways on how to navigate the city, but somehow we got way sidetracked from the route. We ended up going through some very low socioeconomic areas, much different than the routes we are accustomed too. But it was great, we saw some parts of the city that we would of never seen. And it ended up in our favor.
After getting a little lost, we asked this random guy outside of a construction zone on how to get to a road called Skyline. We said, “well I’m actually heading that way now if you boys want to put your bikes in the truck and hitch a ride?” Without hesitation we both said yes. The guy’s name was Richard, he was the head of an asphalt facility. Very down to earth guy, worked hard for every buck he made. He dropped us off about 15 miles from our destination. Those 15 minutes we spent with Richard hitching a ride were probably some of the most educational and inspiring minutes of our trip.
Once Richard dropped us off we headed up this extremely scenic path towards Portola valley. After finally getting to the top, we looked over the bay and the coast, seeing mountains far in the distance. when we got the top, we were on one side of the road and huge bike group was on the other. They were fascinated by our setup and all came over to chat. They were cool dudes. After carting for a little, one guy was splitting from the group and was heading our way. David led us down this insane 4 mile down hill, hitting speeds of 40+ MPH. All along the way, David was telling us all the famous people that lived in these homes. It was pretty coooool. We said bye to David and after a couple more miles ended up at my uncle Lee and aunt Kim’s house.
That night we had a great dinner at the house.
Both my uncle and aunt are two of the most hospitable and gracious people I have ever met. They filled our stay with laughter and relaxation.
Thursday: Palo Alto
Joe and I were on rest and relaxation mode, we new we had a couple days ahead of us just to take a step back from the bikes and enjoy ourselves.
We took the car and drove to Stanford. Let me preface this by saying, neither of us had driven a car in 2 months so it was quite exhilarating getting back behind the wheel.
We explored downtown Palo Alto and Stanford, a school that Joe is considering applying to Ph.D programs at.
That evening Joe and I decided to make dinner for my uncle and aunt. We made stuffed bell peppers, they weren’t our best dish we’ve made but everyone enjoyed them.
Friday: the city
We left early that morning and departed to spend the day in the city. We went over to Verblings office, a start up company that Joe has been working for that allows people to learn languages online.
We wondered around the city more, grabbed a good bite to eat then headed home. On the way home, we stopped at this small hole in the wall joint near my uncles house called Rissottis. One would never know, but the internet was actually founded at this place.
That evening my aunt has been planning a surprise party for my uncle, he had NO idea it was going to happen. My sister and her friend Miranda also just arrived because they were doing the San Francisco Half Marathon.
So around 6, we blindfolded my Uncle, and my cousin Todd threw him in his car and we drove to the house, putting him in different cars along the way. Needless to say, he didn’t like that.
Once we got to this house, everyone was waiting and yelled “surprise”! Everything went so smoothly! That evening was filled with meeting new and amazing people along with seeing family that me and my sister hadn’t seen for years.
Saturday: Portola valley
We started off the day going up to this super cool, local breakfast joint called Alice’s up in the mountains. All the motorcyclists and cyclists go to this place along their route. There must had been over 50 motorcycles outside, along with gnarly sports cars.
After breakfast my uncle and aunt left for their house in Santa Cruz and we headed back to Portola valley. That day Joe and I just relaxed and explored the mountains. I think we went to bed around 8 that night haha.
Sunday: Portola Valley
We woke up ready and excited to get a full day of hiking in. On the way up to the mountain, Joe said, “why don’t we hand beers out to cyclists at the top of the hill”? The reason Joe came up with this is because, about a week earlier as we climbed this massive mountain pass, a gentleman offered us a beer at the top. It could not have been better timing.
So we turned around, grabbed a 30 pack and headed up the hill. This hill is iconic for people living in the bay, it’s Called old la Honda road, about 3 miles of a 10% grade.
We drove to the top, put up some chairs and had our cooler of beer. We had some AWESOME conversations with people from then on. They thought it was awesome that we were “paying it forward”. A couple people we met worked for Google and Twitter along with other tech companies. One lady spoke with us for about 20min and thought what we were doing was so rad and said she would donate to Outdoor Outreach when she got home. We later learned she donated a significant amount. This has to be one of the coolest experiences we’ve had in the trip.
I’m also fortunate to have my grandma in Palo Alto, not to far from where we’re staying. I rarely get to see her, but I made sure to head over there. She’s 85 and doesn’t look a day over 60.
Once we were home my sister Jessica and her friend Miranda were done with their half marathon. Miranda finished first out of every single women who raced, INSANE!
We all had a great dinner that evening outside. We even had a guest come over. A long time friend of Joe and mine, Morgan Waldrom who we’ve known since kindergarten.
Monday: Portola valley to Santa Cruz
Back on the road! Luckily, one of my uncle and aunts longtime friends, Jamie, started off the ride with us. We went up the iconic old la Honda road, and then took back roads all the way to highway one, stopping in a little town called Pescadero. He munched on a great sandwich and met a guy named Norm while eating. Monday was Norms first day of retirement, and he spent it doing what he loves, cycling. Norm had also toured a little while he was younger, he shared some funny stories with us. We chatted for a while, and went our separate ways.
Once we got back on highway one, we realized we are going to be on this for the rest of our trip, a crazy thought.
We ended up at my uncles Santa Cruz house and have been there since. We had dinner that night with Sydney, a friend of Joe’s who he met in Thailand, she’s now getting her Ph.D at UC Santa Cruz.
Well that about does it for last week. We can not thank my uncle and aunt anymore for allowing us to stay with them and providing us with such a welcoming and enjoyable past couple days. Crazy to think we only have 18 days left before we hit San Diego. Cheers
Written by Jordan Mishlove