The Cycling Siren: Colorado to California

Outside, the surf pounds like an impatient chef on a cutting board. But with more finesse — sandpipers run in between each crashing wave, a breeze jostles the palms, nasturtiums observe the tiny white crabs scuttling the beach and the black sands. Beyond, Morro Rock glistens, beckoning Judy (my new adopted mother and friend) and I out into the world…

I can hear you out there: Morro what? Where? Weren’t you just in Colorado? Utah? Good point. I’ve been too busy riding, eating and meeting people to sit down and catch up on this tremendous adventure, which began in early September back in Colorado. So it’s there we’ll pick up the trail — in Denver chillin’ (and day drinkin’) with my fabulous uncles. Then Fort Collins (aka Fort Fun) for some hobnobbing with old friends, biking on trails definitely classified as old haunts and sating my craving for Mexican food after five months in Italy (woe is me). A brief respite in Dillon for a last fond goodbye then… Onward!

  1. Colorado (Arvada-Fort Collins-Morrison-Dillon)
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Fall colors in my old stomping grounds of Dillon, Co.

 

 

2. Utah (Arizona Strip-Grand Canyon-Pine Valley Mountains-Gunlock-Snow Canyon State Park-St.George-Dammeron Valley)

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Checking out historic Mount Trumbull one room schoolhouse with Dado.

Trips to my parents’ house have it all: wine drinking, time with the awesome parentals, breakfast at our favorite spots (Xetava! Red Mountain Spa!), play watching (mom and I anyway, we couldn’t resist Mamma Mia!)…20170927_192748…wine and beer drinking on the patio. Add a little hiking and biking steeped in both desert beauty (think cactuses, dry, red sand washes and sandstone cliffs) and high alpine glory (think falling yellow aspen leaves, high meadows and mountain lakes) and I’m happy as a clam. Sorry, too early for ocean jokes… happy as a desert turtle. They both have shells, right?

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Biking past Gunlock Reservoir with me, myself and I.

Dado also took me on an all-day tour of his favorite stomping grounds, the Arizona Strip, one side of which ends at the infamous North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I finally made it there to see it with my own green eyes, after years of not quite but almost accomplishing just that feat. Dado and I spent 10 hours or so happily jostling around on dirt roads from Mt. Logan to Mt. Trumbull, from the gorge-eous Grand Canyon to the intriguing Mt. Trumbull schoolhouse.

Arizona Strip Tour

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Hiking to an(other) breathtaking viewpoint at the top of Mt. Logan, at almost 8,000 feet.

 

 

Fall Colors hike near Bryant Head, UT

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Nature working its harsh magic.

 

 

Park Valley Mountain hike (near Central, UT)

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Trees need love, too.

 

 

Red Mountain Wilderness hike

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What a crappy spot for lunch…

 

 

3. California Dreamin’ (Berkely-Oakland-San Francisco)

 

Rousing my half-alive self at the delicate hour of 4 a.m. in order to throw myself, bike and heavy-as-a-dead-body duffel bag on the shuttle, I wondered what exactly I was doing up (thanks for the ride, Dado!). When brother Kyle and girlfriend-sister Kathy picked me up from the airport — and as I happily waited with the California sun draped across my bare shoulders — I had no more reservations.

Mosaic offices, picking out succulent plants or driving around checking off errands (and ending up on the 1100 block, parked by 1111) with Kathy. It was simply a great period to catch up on each other’s lives and for me to get mine in order before embarking on a tour down the Cali coast and on to Florida. I even managed to get a ride in once I got Penny put back together!

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Riding from Berkeley to Richmond, along the Bay.

In San Fran, I stayed one night with my uncles Nico and Brian, stuffing my face with tacos and getting updated on their lives and upcoming trip to Spain.  The uncles were getting pre-vacation massages (solid move), so while Nico was relaxing, Brian and I popped over to the Castro district for their annual parade. Watch as I teach disrespect and stereotypes who’s boss!

 

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Quality time with the fam bam (left to right): moi, brother Kyle, Kyle’s girlfriend Kathy and our Uncle Brian.

 

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Quality time with the fam bam (left to right): moi, brother Kyle, Kyle’s girlfriend Kathy and our Uncle Brian.Rousing my half-alive self at the delicate hour of 4 a.m. in order to throw myself, bike and heavy-as-a-dead-body duffel bag on the shuttle, I wondered what exactly I was doing up (thanks for the ride, Dado!). When brother Kyle and girlfriend-sister Kathy picked me up from the airport — and as I happily waited with the California sun draped across my bare shoulders — I had no more reservations.
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I’m at the airport, sport.

I spent ample time in Berkeley with my brother and Kathy, watching movies, drinking Boba and Hong Kong milk tea, making dinners or going out, checking out Kyle’s new and old Mosaic offices, picking out succulent plants or driving around checking off errands (and ending up on the 1100 block, parked by 1111) with Kathy. It was simply a great period to catch up on each other’s lives and for me to get mine in order before embarking on a tour down the Cali coast and on to Florida. I even managed to get a ride in once I got Penny put back together!

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Riding from Berkeley to Richmond, along the Bay.

In San Fran, I stayed one night with my uncles Nico and Brian, stuffing my face with tacos and getting updated on their lives and upcoming trip to Spain.  The uncles were getting pre-vacation massages (solid move), so while Nico was relaxing, Brian and I popped over to the Castro district for their annual parade. Watch as I teach disrespect and stereotypes who da boss!

Berkeley & Oakland, Ca.

 

 

San Francisco (round one)

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Freedom of expression, Castro style 😉

 

 

San Francisco (round two — day one of the bike tour!)

After I parted ways with my bro and Kathy, Brian and Nico extended their hospitality again (even though they were enjoying Spain). I made their cozy apartment home base after short but sweet day one of my tour! I happened to catch Fleet week and a performance of the Blue Angels (starting on the ferry over from Oakland)…

 

On the ferry, as the cool air played with my hair and freedom seeped into every inch of my body, I was joined at the rail by two sisters, Sherry and Collette. They were having sister day in San Francisco. As we chatted, I discovered Collette was a biker and she told me to send her a text when I was in Pismo Beach and I could stay with her if she was around. Tomorrow night, in fact, I’ll be doing just that!

After settling into the apartment, I also managed to make the tail end of an immense, amazing free concert in Golden Gate park: Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass (think Gillian Welch and Robert Earle Keen). No harm in the fact the park and concert are in stumbling distance from Brian and Nico’s. And so began a lovely current of energy that I am still afloat on, which brings me here and there as needed, with the best of timing and positive energy. More on that in the next installments!

 

 

Next time: Goodbye San Francisco, hello Santa Cruz (and beyond!)20171007_181622

 

 

 

 

2 Replies to “The Cycling Siren: Colorado to California”

  1. Wow girl you are rocking it. As always be safe and have fun.

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