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?!

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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.