We are back home, and it’s been more than a week since our last day riding into San Francisco. I had thought it might take me some time to want to get on a bike again, but already I am keen for tomorrow (Saturday) so we can reassemble the bike, and take it out for a spin and a bit of show and tell with our local tandem buddies. [Edit: apart from said buddies being otherwise occupied this long-weekend, we appear to have broken a month-long drought today (Monday)]
Backtracking: Having pretty much completed the bag/bike packing on Friday, we had a leisurely start to our last day. We stashed the bags in the hire car, and then headed south and then over to the coast to Half Moon Bay, with me only half as nervous with being a passenger in a car being driven on the Other Side of the Road as I was on our second day in the country. We encountered a traffic jam on that link road, but it was at least made interesting with the (Halloween style) pumpkin farms that we passed. So many pumpkins!!
We had some lunch at Half Moon Bay, and then headed a few blocks over to check out the ocean views – and to pay for the parking privilege of doing so. We had noticed a fair bit of this throughout our trip. While there are some national parks in Australia that charge for day entry, it definitely doesn’t happen to the same extent as what we encountered in the parts of Oregon and California that we encountered.
As our flight wasn’t till 11.30pm, we decided we had time to drive down the coast as far as Santa Cruz. It was a strange feeling checking out the coastline from a vehicle as compared to what we’d just experienced on the bike for 17 days. With our Border2Border friends only a few days ahead on their bikes on this very route, it felt so wrong to be in a car! We stopped a couple of times for photos, but it just wasn’t the same. I guess, if nothing else, it really highlighted to us all the reasons why we’ve chosen to bike tour. Only a few days since we rode into San Francisco, with my leg muscles all but audibly cheering, and here we were already hankering to be back in the saddle.
With no previous concept of Santa Cruz, I thought the ‘boardwalk’ sounds nice (imagining something like our hometown Coffs Harbour jetty), and navigated us into a traffic jam along this promenade! Yeah, nah. We got the heck out of there and found ‘downtown’. Bought an ice cream (the biggest ice cream cone I’ve ever had in my life), and then, to my delight, came across a #resist fest in the local square.
An hour and a half or so back to the outskirts of San Francisco. Killed some time at a bar (one last Shock Top beer for me).
Not a bad flight home (not as bad as the flight over for me – ie. not sitting next to someone who couldn’t fit in their own seat space, and the person in front, although reclining their seat, didn’t slam it back to full reclining capacity all but into my face, with no notice, within seconds of technically being allowed to do so).
A bit of a wait for bags to come through, a taxi queue, then a taxi ride to our friends’ place where our car had been car-sat for the month. Headed to Parramatta (where we’d booked a hotel room), but stopped en route where I slammed back two McCafe skinny caps (and yes, Maccas McCafe coffee tasted better to me than anything I’d had for a month – with the notable exception of Shotz Coffee House in little ol’ Rio Dell!)
We zombie-wandered around Parramatta till we could get into our room at 2pm, again killing time in a pub, and then a cafe (where I had tea! Made in a teapot!!). Basically, I’m back in my own little tea/coffee nirvana/comfort zone, but coming back to beer choice (and prices) is a bit of a downer for Marc. And, y’all… The Americans sure know how to do pizza base! We opted for pizza in some upmarket Italian-style restaurant chain, and while the pizza was tasty enough, we sat there being extremely judgemental about the way it flopped.
About a six-hour drive home on Tuesday. Everything is all ok with the house. It hasn’t rained here in the whole time we’ve been away, so everything is really dry – but at least the grass stayed short, so mowing is not on the priority to-do list.
On Wednesday afternoon our youngest daughter arrived home for a few days of her mid-semester uni break, which is awesome. Apart from the delight of seeing her after a few months, we also had a captive audience for much regaling of anecdotes about our trip!
We’ve spent a bit of time experimenting with an app that stitches together multiple rides, so we could have a mapped route of the whole ride – just because! But that is probably worthy of a separate, final post.
While perhaps not in the spirit of pure blogging, I do want to get back to each day’s account, to edit and add detail, as well as Marc’s photos – as well as more practical tips for any potential bike tourers – so that we have a more complete record of our trip.
This may take some time!