Ride more. Think less

It was 2015 the last time I went bike camping (minus that tandem trip. Hoping ferries and islands!). A time when I couldn’t go 2 days without riding. Life was handle bars and tires. Saddles and gears. I was addicted pedaling…

Fast forward to 2017. I felt unrooted. Rushing down the river of life. Sadly focused on small unfortunate events. Not knowing what would happen next. I felt lost. I felt heavy. I’d go weeks without riding. Trying and trying to get back “into” bikes. But it seemed no use. The waters around me were moving too fast and I couldn’t grab hold. People like to give names to things these days. Being overwhelmed, stressed, anxiety, depression. All of the above I’ve felt. And sadly more then I’ve felt the joy of riding.  

But this past weekend a major change has happened. I felt it! The wind in the face. The weightlessness. The ease of travel. The community! Mind you I was in Marin county, bike capital of California. But nonetheless. Strangers ignoring what you look like, and acknowledging a fellow cyclist. Even people who weren’t on a bike smiled ( I’m thinking I should always ride with bags and a tent strapped to the back!). It’s like how it was, again. Life behind bars is good.  And for some, it’s like medicine. 

Ride more. Think less. 

Time n life

Stress and complications. I think it’s safe to say, is something we have experienced. Sadly I feel I’ve had more of it recently then anyone should have to deal with. But, such is life at times. If we can learn from those times, we become more knowledgeable and stronger. 

So keep your dreams on the forefront of your mind, and don’t let your troubles derail you. But. If they do. Remember, with a little help, you can get right back on those tracks!

Traveling to Mexico City?

Today I met Pablo Pichardo.when we rented some bikes for the Sunday street closures. He runs *Poráy bike tours and rentals in Mexico City. A Cyclist himself, Told me how he become car-free, Back when he lived in Washington DC. He also has more then a few 1st places in some local Alley Cats In DF! 

He was proud to show us his new location. It’s in the lobby of Fontán Reforma hotel. Which, allows bicyclists to bringing their bikes up into their rooms with them! Pablo also gladly shares bike routes all over the city. 

If you’re going to spend a night or more in DF, I recommend you stay at Fontán Reforma! …and bring your bike in 😉

*http://poray.bike/


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Los Padres….again :)

  A quick weekend. Lots of driving, because of traffic. But a great trade off. Me and the Kid-O. Beautiful pacific, scenic Nacimiento-Fergusson winding up above the fog. Camping on top off the world (so it seemed), watching the stars in a moonless sky. The Milky Way was awesome!Some light off-roading. Playing in the Nacimiento river, and seeing lots and lots of motorcycles this weekend!!!






Memorial Day weekend 

 Sometimes life’s crazy, and one would say, how am I going to have time for that?!  This Memorial Day weekend consisted of Major freeways,Two lane blacktops, dirt roads, pulling over at 2am to sleep (in the snow), driving after 3 hours sleep and having no control over my emotions as the sun rose over some of the most beautiful scenery I can remember! More dirt roads, walking paths, river crossing (where pants and boots are carried!), car (truck) camping, watching the high mountain weather change from clear skies, to light rain back to a beautiful sunset. Freezing river morning face washes, scenic roads with epic backdrops, snow, rushing rivers, the PCT (only for half a mile), and beauty, beauty, and more beauty!

Get outside! It’s worth it!











Spring Break 

  
  Spring break 2016. It will definitely go down in the books as a great one! Los Padres National Forest, camping with my son and friends, snakes, river jumping, beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, off roading…well, let me back up.
  With about 5 weeks till spring break. My good friend Eli shared interest in camping in Los Padres NF. With it still on my exploration list, I jumped at the opportunity. It would be his family, and my son and I. Our sons are good friends too, which is great! Knowing we couldn’t get to any of the “off road” spots. I looked at what was available to book…Arroyo Secco. The only place I could find. I’ve been seeing it on the map for months. But never checked it out. So I booked it and we were set. 
The next challenge I set for my self was to get a 4×4 so we could go explore all the roads out there. This proved to be not so easy. A neighbor was selling a K30 (CUCV m1031) for a price I couldn’t pass up. The only real challenge was getting it running and safe for travel. Which is really another story in it self. With help from a friend we tried up in till the last day, but couldn’t finish in time. 

  So with my dirt road dreams swept clean, I did what any budget minded person would do. I called my mother and asked to barrow her car. 
  Picking it up the night prior to leaving. I planed to pack in the morning. I didn’t plan to sleep in! I had the whole (small) car packed in 45min! And mind you, that was from nothing, no list, no piles!…come on! I have to pat myself on the back for that one. I grabbed my gps for kicks. I hadn’t used it since my trip down to Big Sur on my KLR. If you have the patients to learn a digital lay out (gps app). I have to recommend OsmAnd maps. It’s by far the best gps app I’ve used. And it’s free!! Though it’s worth buying it, just to show thanks. It’s really that good! But I digress.

  

  We were just about a 10 minutes from our camp, after a non adventurous trip down and I missed my turn. No worries. I looked on the gps, and we could connect up with the right road, just up a head. So I need to fill you in on a couple of things. I forgot to de-select “dirt roads” on my gps. And my moms car is a Toyota Yaris which has gotten stuck in our drive way with 10mm of snow. 

So with in 2 minutes we’re on dirt and 30 more seconds we’ve gone past the point of turning around. It was all or nothing. And when I say, nothing. I mean, one of the many tractors that were working in the fields around us, pulling the one wheel drive Yaris out of the mud. But, we had a tail wind! We passed field workers, trucks, tractors, mud, sand…it was really quite amazing! I still don’t know how we made it back to the tarmac. But I will never speak negatively about that car again.  

 
We pulled in to camp covered in mud. 

Eli and family had been there for a bit already. Both our boys were very excited to finally play! The weather was great too. I couldn’t wait till the next day to go jump in the river. That night I slept outside and fell asleep staring up at the stars.  

    
  
 
The next day we hiked down to the Arroyo Secco river (yes there was water in it). It was amazing! Rolling green hills, gravel roads, beautiful blue green waters. Which were perfect for jumping in. 

  

  

  

  
   
 
 It was like groundhogs day. Every day was the same, but we were loving it! Camp fires at night. Cooking outside. I figured out that If you forget to pack a cheese grater, or don’t want to carry one. If you open a can, say of beans, With a one piece opener. You can grate cheese on the metal top! 

  

 We were told to watch out for rattle snakes, but we only saw a 4 ft long snake without a rattle. 😉 

 It was really good times. We meet cool people too. If you ever want a fun car camping spot, (summer will probably be too hot) Arroyo Secco might be the place for you! 

 

Change

 
The weekends Plans of solo 2 wheel travel, dirt and bivy camping. Changed to, 2 wheel travel with a small group, pavement, hot tubing, breweries, and tent camping. Which ended being non of the above. A day trip on 4 wheels to The Redwoods in lots of rain was what was had. 
I forget so quickly how much I love curvy roads. It’s not a speed thing. Just a smooth constant line is such a great feeling. And rain and wind and fog…only make it more of a rewarding feeling! 
Upon reaching the state park, I realized I had forgotten my rain pants. But with some encouragement, I accepted that I won’t stay wet forever. And it was beautiful out! Sometimes a little help from friends is all we need to get by when the unexpected shows up. 
Change is a given. The easier we can deal with this, the easier life is.

   

  
 

A Bike Camping gem

Traveling with kids is like playing the lottery, you know you’re not going to get exactly what you want, but you still try. And sometimes you win a little!

Saturday was scheduled to be a non rushed morning. Get up, eat breakfast, pack some food and shelter, and head to the bus stop. All was mostly accomplished. We just left in the afternoon…
   

A quick ride across the bay and we were at the San Rafael bus station. It felt quite hectic. Buses are coming and going, random people everywhere. Cars near by are racing to get on the freeway on ramp witch is across the street. Thankfully, with in 4 blocks it was calm. The bay water was right there. Kayak and boating places populated the next mile. Also, the first request for food was made. Yes, only 5 blocks in, but it had been over an hour since we ate. With some quick snacks, we stretch out “…just up here a little more” for a mile or so. A school with a field and a play structure is a perfect break spot when traveling with kids.  
   
  
After eating and a quick game of Wall Ball. We were off again. We made it another block and half, before we stopped. But it’s the last grocery store before we got to camp. I picked up a few breakfast items I had forgotten at home, and back on the saddle.

The parking lot of grocery store was like an impromptu classic car show! 

 
We finally got a rhythm going and pedaled for about 10 or 12 minutes before someone’s bladder was full.  

We found some eucalyptus trees off of the road…and then, back to biking. 

  
Riding into China Camp was beautiful. The afternoon sun illuminated the East Bay Hills and the waters that lay in front of them. There was little traffic to worry about, so we really could enjoy the views.  

   
  

Hudson was doing great. As Not an everyday rider, he was starting to feel some fatigue. But luckily our camp spot “…is just around this corner “. Or so I thought. Hey! It’s been like 3 years since I was there. 

We finally made it. Really the perfect distance. A holiday with kids wouldn’t be complete without a few “are we there yet?”

  
At our site, we quickly assembled the tent and got to making dinner. Hot food is so enjoyable when your outside!  

 
After dinner I was very much looking forward to making a fire. I had bought some wood from the camp host.  

 But after about 45 minutes of blowing embers, stove fuel, random fire place “blocks” the was graciously given to us by our neighbors, we had no fire. It seems not all people know that wood is not waterproof. And you can’t keep it out in the weather. Only slightly frustrated, I gave up and went to bed. After we read Soup, I felt mech better and soon drifted off to sleep. 
I glanced at my gps over a hot breakfast 🙂 and decided we should take dirt trails out of the park. Some single track for brunch? So what I’m on a folding bike full of gear.   

  
It was great! Hudson did excellent navigating the switchbacks and the on coming cyclists through out the trail. Which was the only thing one could complain about, which never even happened! It was just fun and scenic. A true win!

    
   
 
We finally got back to the Tarmac, with an appetite. Pizza was on our itinerary! A short walk up a hill, a nice down hill, cruised the flat, up one more hill and we were there. Pizza and rest.

  
  We stopped off at the school yard again to have one more slice of pizza and some monkey bars. 

The ride back to downtown was dominated by talk of Strawberry ice cream and a suger cone. 

   
I hope all parents get to enjoy adventures such as this. I feel it’s a true treasure to be around your kids doing something that makes you happy. And the same goes for them. Being able to be around your child when they are truly happy…and when you are both doing the same thing, well hot damn, who need to play the lottery?!

Sundays are for rest…

A good friend and co worker was taking off on an adventure from Canada to the Bay Area,

via hwy 1 the following week. The plan was to meet up and ride out to Martinez in honor of this. We’d lunch and some pints, then take Amtrak back home. 

It was a beautiful morning, with deep blue skys, scattered clouds, and a fairly “chilly” wind from the north. 
5 of us meet up at 10AM and got to pedaling. A good, non eventfully ride to Crockett. We took a break at the look out of the Carquinez bridge.

    

   

There was a group of sport bike riders( out for their Sunday ride ), parked there. It reminded me of years past. 

Once back on the road, we had a small ride into Martinez. Winding on old roads, through grasslands that were green with fresh rain, Animals grassing…a good time! 

   
  
 Lunch was at a cool little spot in downtown Martinez. Their sweat potato fries were so good!
After lunch, the plan was still to hop on the train. But I decided to ride home. Full of food and drinks, and up for some adventure, I headed west. Definitely tired, my pace was on the slow side. Once out of downtown, the quasi country roads were a pleasure. I hadn’t been out there in a few years. It seemed a lot of homes were up for sale. And some “track” homes were being erected too. It seems nothing can stay the same near a big city.  
 I was really tired at this point. But I realized going slow, you see so much more. A cool pair of cowboys cut out of brass, nail to someone’s mail box. Lots of birds soaring around taking advantage of the wind. Mind you, the same wind that was slowing me down!  

 There was a small creek next to the road. Cars were even polite. The head wind I spoke of, seemed to have brought hail to downtown Martinez. I could see the dark cloud looming in the east. 

  I pedaled on, munching on dark chocolate and enjoying the slow views. Not thinking about the wind…at least trying not too!   

  
Once on San Pablo Dam rd. It was a gravely, dusty mess. Clark rd was a welcomed turn off. I climbed up to Wild Cat park entrance. My plan was to catch the sun set from the hills. The park was a sight for sore eyes. I hadn’t been there for a few months, and oh how I missed it! Rolling hills, eucalyptus trees rustling in the blowing wind. A small hawk surfed the sky just overhead, looking for dinner. 

  The the evening sun illuminating the tops of its wings. A dry trail mixed with muddy patches led to the top of the hill. I passed more cows and their young, then other people. The wind was extremely strong at the top of the hill. I put on my windbreaker and pedal down to a bench to watch the sunset. 

  

 The Bay Area lay out in front of me. The setting sun going in and out of rain clouds, the grass dancing in the wind, cows grazing near by, I don’t think it could have been much better.  
As the light started to dwindle, I mounted up and battled the cow hoofed muddy path home. There was a good 30′ section of deep mud, well deep when you are on a folding bike! And I managed to make a clean pass ;)A great day. Good friends, decent food, a great ride, and an excellent reminder of how enjoyable nature is.