Creme de la (Organic, Locally Sourced) Creme: Best of the California Bike Tour, Part Four

Particularly punctual it is not. Terribly truant it may be. However, it’s also the craved culmination of the California quest (via bicycle). Now it’s time to wrap this thing up like a professionally rolled doobie stuffed with Humboldt and/or Mendocino chronic.

We pick up the story at the lovingly white-washed, slightly dilapidated Marin Headlands Hostel. Tyler and I prepare a feast with FREE organic maple syrup and pancake mix, happily not hitting the pavement until eleven…

Behold the glory of San Francisco, young bikers...
Behold the glory of San Francisco, young bike tourists…

Day 15: Marin Headlands Hostel – The Cusp of Inner & Outer Sunset, San Francisco, CA

10 miles, one notable climb

Day 16: The Cusp of Inner and Outer Sunset, San Fran, CA – Oakland, CA Sunnyside, San Francisco, CA

5 miles biking, a BART train to Oakland and lots of walking

Day 17: Sunnyside, CA – Brian’s house on the Cusp for dinner – Sunnyside, CA

Stone Cold Chillin’

Note: There are only four pictures, three of which are in the same locale (a quirky little Vietnamese sandwich shop with a quirky name: Dinosaur’s. Kyle and Kathy live on their wares :)). An explanation? Certainly. Every other minute of the day hailed to playing video games in Kyle and Kathy’s living room (or rather, everybody else succeeding and the game and/or letting me have the controls for a while so they could laugh while I spun the character around in circles while trying to go straight). The breakfast Stegosaurus, er Dinosaur’s adventure (coupled with a trip to Whole Foods for alcohol and dessert for the later dinner at Brian’s) started at 2 p.m. Sleeping burned away the earlier hours because we stayed up until 1 a.m. the night before playing video games.

Other note: Some of you might notice brother Kyle is wearing a shirt with curious purple fruit labeled “Purples.” Anybody get this? Don’t think too hard. I didn’t, but an exasperated Kyle soon explained that is what oranges would be called if they were purple… yep, it’s that simple šŸ˜‰

Day 18: Sunnyside, CA – Emeryville, CA – the fine state of Nevada – Somewhere in the Utah desert

Thank you Brian, for the early morning (to us) Emeryville shuffle; and thank you Amtrak, for the rest.

Some things I learned riding the Amtrak:

  1. At dinner, community seating WILL be enforced, which results in dinnertime being more odd than relaxed. But fun nonetheless because a sleeper car equals all meals included!!
  2. EVERYONE smokes.
  3. It is full of very interesting, quirky and occasionally irritating individuals such as:
    1. The Tweaker, who took over an entire table in the observation car with a suitcase (which he proceeded to unpack, loudly talking to himself and making strange squeaking noises) and a handwritten notebook paper sign that read, “COUGH!!!”
    2. The Rude Canadian Old Ladies, who haughtily made the conductor come “sanitize” the table after he escorted The Tweaker (who obviously had mental problems) from the observation car.
    3. Cowboy Beebop, who dressed somewhere in between Amish and Marlborough Man, didn’t say a single word and always wore sunglasses.
    4. Dan the Man, who sat with us at dinner the first night. He told us he’s ridden every Amtrak line at least once, has an Amtrak credit card and positively loves Amtrak. Poor fella had terrible teeth and laughed after everything he said (ie. “I need a new fork. HAHAHAHA.”)
    5. Bullet Point Bob, who was one of those gentlemen who always has a story about your story. Been to France? So has Bob — he flew his own plane there. Dreamed about seeing the Pyramids? Bob probably owns one.

Day 19: Somewhere in the Utah desert – Denver, CO – Dillon, CO

Some more things I learned riding the Amtrak:

  1. It is really, really hard to get to sleep in the upper deck in the upper floor of a train. And then it’s hard to stay asleep, too.
  2. There are also cool people on the train, like Jan (pronounced “yawn”) from Holland, who was our fun, friendly enforced dinner companion the night before. And the two little old ladies — one in her 80s, one in her 90s! — who were on a “road trip” to Washington, DC. They liked to sass Tyler, which made me like them even more.
  3. Apparently freight trains are pieces of sh*t. First, we paused in the middle of nowhere to pick up a crew from their broken down freight train (first delay). Then (second delay) we waited it out for an hour in the garden spot of Winnemucca, NV (population 7,936, whose name means “One Moccasin,” in case you were wondering). The culprit? Another freight train whose broken engine precluded it moving off the tracks.
  4. Which brings me to my next point… Amtrak tardiness as a regular thing really is a regular thing (in the end, we arrived in Denver only an hour and a half late).
  5. Did you know that Lovelock, NV is the “banana capital of the United States?” Anyway, according to the official Amtrak itinerary pamphlet in every seat it is. It’s actually the banana belt of the US, but who wants to nitpick?
  6. Rafters totally still moon the Amtrak — and they elicit the flabbergasted and/or overly titillated responses they want from all the elderly people in the observation car.

In the next edition of “There’s a Sylva Lining in Every Adventure,” will it be our last foray to Palisade, CO? Our very recent trip to Green River, UT/The San Rafael Swell? The arrival of an early, robust Colorado winter? Perhaps a Cali Bike Tour food blog? I’d tell you, but then I’d have to run you over with my (studded snow-tired) bicycle…

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