The cipo-caravan is still alive (barely) in California

We haven’t written since we left Arcata, and it’s been a LONG time since that happened! It’s not that we’ve been lazy, or that we’ve enjoyed being outside riding our bikes so much that we always put off writing for the next day, or that we’ve forgotten about all of you (we know you must wake up every morning and run to your computers to check if we posted something new to the blog :-)), it’s just that, um, well, life is tough!

So, this part one of a massive tale. Go grab your coffee, tea, beer, or hot chocolate and prepare to be thrown into magical lands and hear of awesome adventures!

We left Aracata on November 27, and embarked on a trek through the redwood forests of Humboldt National Park. We had already been through the redwoods just North, and this trek gave us such an eerie sensation as well. It’s as if, somehow, the air within these forests was “heavier”, as if we were riding into a headwind, but there was no wind whatsoever. I don’t know if we were too tired or what, but we’d like to believe it’s got to do with the awesomeness that are the forests.

We kept on riding and passed through a super tiny town called Loleta, where there is a famous cheese factory. You can go in and sample ALL their cheeses and see how they make it through a window into their huge mixing tubs. This is actually a semi-small shop that was started by a Mexican family years ago. They have a sign on their door about their family ranch originally down in Sinaloa or Durango (can’t remember now! haha).

This portion of the trek took us through lots of smaller towns and our battle against flat tires started to get intense. Jocelyn really is a flat tire magnet. Just before riding into Garberville he got a staple through his tire and even through a flat-protection strip he had installed (a strip of hardcore rubber you put inside the tire, between the tire and the tube; quite a worthless piece of rubber!). The next morning his front tire was flat too. Sigh….

Then we headed into Leggett, one of the highest climbs we’ve done. Since we’re superheroes by now, it was no big deal to climb 2,500 feet =) After almost dying from the climb (I mean, after taking it easy while we climbed) we bombed down to the coastline again. We saw amazing beaches and quickly realized why this stretch of highway is so popular. We couldn’t do much more than see it though, ‘cos we had been riding under rain most of the time.

Then we hit this tiny town called Westport, which is not quite a marvel to behold really, but we stopped at the local cafe, which also works as the town’s general store and post office as well. We had a blast seeing all the town’s people slowly make their way into the cafe, sit down on the porch, and chat the morning away. They all seemed to know each other really well and were pretty merry just hanging out together. Pretty neat.

Just past Fort Braggs we stayed at the place of a family we contacted on warmshowers.org. It was a crazy steep hill to climb, and a pretty funny place to camp ‘cos the family had a huge house, but they offered us a spot on their old barn instead. It was good to have a dry place to stay tho, so no complaints! The next morning we headed into Point Arena, a sunny touristy town where we had lunch at a fancy cafe. I even took time to read the local newspaper and relax for a bit.

We hit the road again and we stopped at Stewarts Point trying to find food for the night and breakfast for the next day. We had just stopped by a small grocery shop by the side of the highway so I suggested we should buy our stuff there. Jocelyn said “Maybe we should see in town if there’s something else” and I just told him “dude, this IS the town!” It turned out that this small shop was one of the nicest ones we’ve seen. It was really well stocked, had an amazing deli (we had the best breakfast burritos ever!) and even had one of Jocelyn’s favorite French cheeses in the middle of nowhere! wth?!

We then made it to Jenner. We had hoped to find a cheap motel to dry out after riding in the rain all day, but there was only one super fancy, crazy expensive Inn. We were screwed so we asked them if we could just pitch our tent somewhere. They allowed us to go into the back of the Inn, where we found a really pretentious, half-assed Zen garden. We decided to pitch our tents in their gazeebo where you were supposed to sit and contemplate life… pffft!
The next day we kept climbing into Point Reyes Station, which is pretty close to San Francisco. We hit town in the evening and caught Santa Clause coming into a community space built as an old barn. Santa arrived on top of a fire truck and all the kids were going nuts. We had more than enough of a xmas dose with that one, so we went into the bar and ordered some beers to wash it down =) We camped out in a super fancy and crazy expensive RV campground, but we left early and didn’t pay. Bwahaha!

Folks, this is where the story gets serious. You better read this while sitting down ‘cos you may fall down and cry.
We continued riding into San Francisco, and just as we passed a small golf-course town called Woodacre we started on a huge descent into Fairfax. The roads were ok at first, but they quickly turn shitty, with lots of cracks. Jocelyn had passed me and was way ahead when I started slowing down (even though I wasn’t really going that fast) because I thought the road was too shitty. Just then my front tire caught a crack on the road and slipped under me. I tried, oh lord I tried to regain control of my steed, but she would not come back to save me. I flew off the bike and landed on my left side, cracking my helmet as I kissed the beautiful pavement. I could only crawl out of the road and into the highway shoulder and then lay there, in a blissful moment of pain that rushed through my left arm.

It was quite a shit-show after that.

Jocelyn was WAY down there ahead of me when this happened, but thankfully a cyclist who was climbing up saw me do my little stunt and came to check if I was still alive. A bunch of cars stopped and asked if I was ok or needed help. The cyclist who helped me out said several times that he had a cellphone and he’d call an ambulance if it was needed, so most of the drivers left, except a woman who was in nursing school and helped out a bit too. We talked about my feelings, the state of the economy, and how about that Obama guy! When we noticed my helmet was split open we decided to have the paramedics come check me out. The cyclist called 911 but they told him some other eager driver had already called it in. And then the firetrucks came. 3 of them! And 2 cop cars. And the ambulance. I was just combing my hair in case the news helicopter came in but I guess they had some more boring news to cover 🙁
And so we rolled into Fairfax in an ambulance and then we had to catch a million buses and trains to make it into Oakland with a busted bike and a busted cyclist. It was just as I had imagined we’d enter into the promised land of San Francisco.

But don’t worry, I only suffered crazy bruises and road rash, and our adventures in the Bay Area were just about to begin. In part two we will thrill you even more with our explorations of the city! And don’t forget to check out our pictures and videos!

Woo! Here we go!

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