Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 18......we made it!

A big day today. We are inching ever so close to the Golden Gate Bridge. Today was our last opportunity to go game day and Greg wanted to make it clear he was proud to be a Deav so he finally turned sideways to show the world he was no longer going to be a closet Deav. After this start to the day there was no stopping us now. 
As for the ride itself, I wanted to keep the ending under wraps for a while but what the hell, I'll spill the beans (i guess the title already did that). We made it to the Golden Gate Bridge!!!!

As you can see, it was NOT an easy ride. 70 miles and over 7000 ft of climb. 

As expected, the ride along the HWY 1 was spectacular. There was a mixture of trees, small fishing towns and rugged beaches. There were many climbs along the way and the beautiful scenery gave me the perfect excuse to stop and take a picture when I was actually dead tired. 
Leaving Stinson Beach there was a pretty good climb and though the fog limits the beauty of the shot, I definitely got a great rest in though. 
Riding around the bay heading towards Stinson Beach. 
Shortly into the ride, we hit the first of the major goals of this trip and that was to ride 1000 miles (remember Sec 4 of the rules states we need to also cross the Golden Gate Bridge). As the odometer "clicked" (not sure the correct adjective for a digital odometer) over to 1000 we had to stop and capture the moment. 
We were feeling the Village People (hint for those that went to UW: they sang YMCA) which worked pretty well considering we were in our jerseys, tights and going to San Francisco. 

The original plan starting today was to only ride about 50 miles and spend the night, then finish tomorrow (of course the simple fact that we planned something doomed it to failure). The only campsite that came up on Google in the area was Mt Tamalpais State Park. Since we were within the 72 hour on-line reservation limit, it was a first come first served situation. Of course the camp hosts NEVER answer the phone so you have to actually drive there to verify if there is a spot. So Cheryl and Krissie drove ahead to check it out. As it turned out, the "stress-o-meter" of yesterdays parking lot incident pales in comparison to what happened on the road to Mt Tamalpais State Park. The road was 3 miles of severe vertical incline and switch backs that would make a HUMVEE cringe let a lone a 35 ft Class A motor home, but she came through like she always does and brought the big Intruder in safely. Cheryl even had the mountain bikers asking her for an autograph and Billy Goats nodding their approval. Needless to say, there was no space at the campsite so we decided to make the push for the famous Golden Gate Bridge and phase 2 of our goal!

Of course the last 19 miles couldn't just be like the final stage of the Tour de France and include a flat route and sipping champaign. Nope we had one more monster climb as we came inland from the coast. You can't see from this shot but Greg isn't even sweating and was looking for his glass of champaign. 
But it was all worth it as we road up Bridge Way to the golden landmark of San Francisco (its color is actually industrial orange - PMS 173, 175 and Pantone 180 for you interior designers). But I digress, the point is we finally made it!!!!!

What a tremendous feeling as we approached the bridge.  There were thousands of people on the bridge with us at that moment, all with their unique reason for being there, but for Greg, Cheryl and I it was the culmination of an 18 day journey we will always remember. 
As if simply getting to the bridge was not enough, my friend from high school (grade school is really more accurate) Mark works as a painter on the bridge (talk about job security!) and was able to get us all on the north tower!  Seriously.  Words can not describe how cool it was. I'm afraid of heights so I needed a tranquilizer and a pair of Depends before we went up there but it was truly amazing. 

Thank you so much Mark for the exclamation point to the journey and a memory that will last a lifetime. 
So there it is Day 18 and our completed journey from Kennewick WA in the book. What a ride!  

Before I close I want to thank Cheryl and Greg for joining me. I know 4 months ago a 1000 mile bike ride was the furthest thing from your mind but you made the commitment to join me and I am grateful because I could not have done this without you. Cheryl, you are the trips MVP. Always there when we needed you providing encouragement, with information on the road ahead and fantastic meals along the way. I love you!  
Greg, my road partner. I'll always remember the "little things" we shared on the open road along the way. The "picture moments," tight shoulders on 199 or "jackpot island." 
Krissie, thank you for minding the fort at home which allowed Greg to join us. You meeting us in Willits provided a needed boost to get across the goal line. What great friends you and Greg are. I love you both!

I hope you all had as much fun as I did.  Thank you!!!

So now the bikes are securely stored, ready for a much deserved rest as we travel back home (straight up I5 I might add).  Intruder, unfortunately you're not quite there yet so hang on baby!
Finally, thank you all for following this blog. It has been fun reflecting on the days events every evening and sharing the experience with you. 

See you all on my next sabbatical!


  1. Congratulations! Truly amazing to ride 1000 miles, especially considering having to peddle up and down endless mountains. Enjoy the rest of your sabbatical. You deserve it.

  2. Yay! CONGRATULATIONS!! Thank you for sharing your story, it's been super fun to read about your adventure(s)!