Day one! It began at 2:30 a.m. eastern time when I woke after about 5 hours of sleep. My mother in law took the three of us to the airport along with my parents who have been visiting. After the 5.5 hour flight, we arrived in San Francisco and caught a cab to Everybody Bikes, where our gear was waiting. I have never taken a cab and it was the quintessential taxi experience! The driver spoke very limited English but knew exactly where we needed to go. He floored it at every intersection and weaved in and out of traffic, soliciting honks from other drivers. We made it there in one piece and waited about 30 minutes for the shop to open. Josh arrived in the meantime and we got lunch at a cafe mearby.
It was great to see my bike again (everything arrived on time and without incident)! We hastily packed our gear on the sidewalk and then headed downhill to the Pacific Ocean! My bike felt great even though I haven't ridden for three weeks...although my excitement probably played a big factor! I was nervous about riding through the city (especially after experiencing the cab driving) and we definitely were cautious as we picked our way through the traffic.
I was surprised at how wide the beach was, but we didn't come all the way to California to not dip our tires in the ocean, so we hauled our bicycles about a quarter mile through the sand to the water. A very unpleasant experience but it was great to touch the Pacific! I still have sand in my shoes; it will probably take a few days to work its way out!
We then began our navigation through the maze that is San Francisco. Our official route began at the Golden Gate Bridge park so we had to find our way there from the beach. After some mis-directions and misunderstood directions from a few locals, including a tunnel on a 4-lane divided highway that forced us to turn around and ride against traffic with no shoulder (very not fun), we made it to the bay and found our way to the San Francisco Bay Ferry building. Again we sought advice from the locals and were able to make it on the 3:30 ferry to Valejo. There are so many bikers here that the ferry actually has bike racks on the stern! The ride lasted about an hour and then it was up and down through Vallejo and into Cordelia where we are staying for the night. We reserved a hotel for this first night as we knew we would have a hectic day!
I was able to repack my panniers since I had done such a quick job at the bike shop, and now we are all about to crash from our long day! We only rode about 25 miles but we traveled for 17 hours!