On our way, on the road and on our bike.

The Red Barn at Olema Campground.

We finally left Foster City and the RV on Wed 4 Aug 2021. We had spent a couple of days in the RV parked outside our friends house. We went to see the seals near Fisherman’s wharf and walked around some of the city to see a couple of bike shops. We did consider using the ride sharing Lime scooters but in the end we just walked and enjoyed the city at walking pace. We discovered San Francisco is a very hilly place to live!

Seals on a beautiful day at Fisherman’s Wharf.
One bike shop
Another Bike Shop
Hilly, Hilly San Francisco.
Bike shops didn’t have what we wanted but this restaurant did! Mussels and fried chicken.

We also went out for a bike ride up to the San Andreas Lake and visited SFO airport along the way. We are using the Komoot app for much of our route planning. It’s pretty useful for us and it will plan a route that is off the main busy streets if it can and make use of bike paths and roads with bike lanes. On one such quiet street we were riding along a residential street up a very steep hill and we came across a garage sale. Their wares were laid out on the driveway and we decided to take a look and see what treasures we might find.

Vietnamese Pho noodles. Very tasty. And the fried banana with ice cream is excellent.
Clam Chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf.

We met a funny pair of guys. One from UK and his brother-in-law from Canada. Such nice people. Gale wanted to get something to fix to the back of the bike to make a handle so that the bike is easier for us to park by lifting the back wheel and all the gear on it. They kindly found an old broomstick from the trash that they said we could have for free. And another person viewing what was for sale found an old saw for sale and promptly helped us cut it to the right length! Other useful things we picked up there were a length of electrical cable for tieing the “parking assist handle” to the rack, a brand new pair of toe clip straps for securing the front wheel from turning and finally the only thing that we actually paid for – a little model car clip Gale picked up as a gift for me. Total $1.00

We do like a garage sale. It’s fun to look through the things on sale and see what might be a treasure for us. I really remember once in Western Australia we were riding a rental tandem and we passed through a town where we saw several garage sale signs. Finally we stopped at one to take a look. We picked up some goodies there including a Cathay Pacific inflight kit from the 1980’s and a tea set with some nice tea cups and a pretty teapot. Finding the garage sale half way up a lung busting hill was a great place to take a rest and pick through for some useful items.

A nice cycle path next to San Andreas Lake.

On another day we went to the local REI and spent a lot of time (and money) there getting some essential supplies for our trip. Two major items were a Revelate Frame bag and a BV Bear Canister. We reckon the bear can is useful for carrying food at any time as we can put food in without worrying about it getting crushed, squashed or attacked by rats, raccoons and bears. So even when we aren’t in bear country it will be a useful albeit rather bulky addition to our setup. After REI we headed over to Belmont to the bike shop there. Unfortunately they didn’t have in stock what we wanted to get but happily there was a nice restaurant next door and we could park the bike safely and securely so we had a nice lunch there.

But after touring around the City and living in the parked up RV for a few days it’s time to leave the creature comforts behind, say goodbye to Roadie and head off on Jonny Blessing.

Our plan was to ride North, cross the Golden Gate Bridge and then stay the night at Sausalito. However we ran into some difficulties.

First off we have so much gear with us and simply fixing it all securely to the bike is not easy and it takes quite some time to get it sorted. A few days later and we are much faster at it but it still takes time to make sure the straps and ties are all secured and nothing is going to fall off.

Lincoln Boulevard bus stop. Puncture repair in progress.
Definitely flat.

Secondly we had a puncture. Fully loaded we had only made it a few miles and were up near SFO airport when we got a flat on the back tyre. This was not supposed to happen! We have Schwalbe Mondial 2.15 inch tyres. Very highly regarded as great touring tyres with some off road capability. We aren’t supposed to be getting punctures. But puncture we did so we had to off load everything, replace the inner tube and then load everything up again. With our late start and the puncture there was no way we could get across the bridge that day so we ended up staying at a TravelLodge near the airport. Happily we could take the bike into the room with us which is always the best option if it’s possible.

Travelodge has room for Jonny Blessing.
And room for all our gear.

Next day, packing up again and we headed out. The Golden Gate Bridge beckons and we are a few miles closer now. Almost at the bridge we got ANOTHER puncture!

We take it in our stride, experienced now but I take time this time to take some pictures of the problem and post to some bike touring groups on Facebook to get some advice.. The hole is in the same place as the day before but on a brand new tube. So it’s definitely something wrong in the rim. The advice from Facebook was that the rim tape was not suitable and to replace it. Not having any rim tape in our spares kit we used T-Rex tape (similar to duct tape but strong enough to bind a dinosaur). That seems to have fixed the problem and to now we have ridden some 30 miles with no problem. 

So finally we could cross the Golden Gate Bridge. That for me was a special thing and I wrote a small post just to share that special moment.

After the puncture and the delay for that we could again not get as far as we wanted to so we searched for a place to set up camp just off the bridge near Fort Baker. With our low budget travel and no campsites nearby we had to look for a stealth camping spot. We found a nice one in a glade of trees just off the road. We were down below and out of sight even though we were quite close. It was perfect and we had a nice evening dinner in the wind sheltered spot we found.

Stealth Camping near Fort Baker.

The next day we had an important task. Find a bike shop to replenish our store of spare inner tubes. We found one in Sausalito called Mike’s Bikes. Very helpful and knowledgeable staff, they approved our T-Rex tape solution. When we get a chance we might consider doing the same treatment to the front wheel. Even though it’s got less weight on it we don’t want it going flat on us.

Mike’s Bikes in Sausalito.

After another short ride we stopped at Muir Beach.. The ride over the hill from Sausalito in the east to Muir Beach on the west is hard work. The road is narrow, winding, steep and very busy with traffic. It was a hard climb but I’m happy that we have managed it and done more hill climbs since. We take the hills very slow. At this early stage of our journey we just don’t have the power to climb the hills in any other way. We stop often, very often, taking short breaks before slowly continuing the ride up. Thankful that the California drivers here for the most part are considerate and will give us a lot of space when they pass us. In fact many drivers have given us the thumbs up as they pass, or friendly wave or shouts of encouragement as we grind up slowly. One particular couple today in a van stopped next to us as we were resting and said it was a great pleasure for them to see us and left with a “God Bless You” That was nice and things like this really do help. Climbing these hills with a fully loaded touring tandem is not easy at all and we need all the help we can get!

At Muir Beach we found another quiet stealth camping spot. Up a small lane with a gate at the end to an overgrown field it’s a nice little place to stay and little chance of either disturbing anyone or being disturbed ourselves. We camp cleanly making sure to leave no trace behind of our brief stay.

Preparing to set up camp near Muir Beach.

The ride up the coast from Muir Beach takes us to Stinson Beach and finally where we are tonight at Olema Camp Ground.

We met a couple of like minded and very welcoming people in Stinson Beach. They live in Sacramento and we have already secured a place in their home for when we finally return this way and they have very kindly offered a place to stay, a tour around the capitol and most importantly they have a newly installed hot tub. I think the promise of a soak in the hot tub at the end of our trip is just what we need to motivate us during the long ride ahead! Thank you to these two kind, open, welcoming and generous souls. 

We will meet MJ & Q when we are coming back around to Sacramento.

Our angels as we like to call the lovely people that we are meeting on this journey. 

We are not religious people even though we were both brought up with Christianity belief. We trust in the universe and have a faith, and hope that we will be provided for and have what we need. We are content with what we have and feel it is a blessing when good things happen. And when bad things happen we try to stay positive and look for the good in all things.

Lots and lots of lovely colourful mailboxes.