Hello West Coast Tourrible. It's been a long time waiting for you to get here, and I wish I were in a better mood to greet you.
Here are some things about my life. You have probably discovered this blog as a stranger: you don't know me and you might not care, so if you want to see pretty pictures and travel stories, then skip ahead.
I've been slowly cutting ties from my life over the past few months. I closed my business and lost a huge part of my identity now that I'm no longer a farmer. My best friends have moved away, and I have been making plans to move to Gainesville and live with Travis. My plan was to spend the next two years earning a graduate degree in Agricultural Education at the University of Florida, and get my hand on the paper that would make me more qualified to teach what I'm most passionate about. Well, bright and early on the first day of West Coast Tourrible, I found out I wasn't accepted to the program. So now here I am-- I just turned 30, I have no job, and I'm on tour with literally no idea what I'll be doing after these next six weeks are over. This is absolutely not where I thought I would be at this point in my life, and I'm not super stoked on it.
But at least I'm on bike tour, right? And at least my boyfriend is on bike tour with me. The big life picture is not looking that great right now, and I know it could be a lot worse. But keep all that in mind as you read about this journey. If anything it adds some perspective to the story- Heartbroken 30-Year-Old Woman Gives Up Livelihood, Is Rejected From Grad School, Rides Down Pacific Coast On Bicycle With Adoring Boyfriend.
Alright, here's the funner stuff. Travis and I left Gainesville 7am Wednesday morning, and landed in San Francisco a few hours later. Travel days are generally pretty stressful, and that stress is amplified when you're respsonible for lugging around two bicycle-sized cardboard boxes weighing 50 lbs each. After some strenuous lugging through public transportation and some very expensive cab rides to the wrong places, we ended up at Missing Link bike shop, putting our bikes back together in their community work space. Way to go big cities, with your long-standing, worker-owned, successful bicycle cooperatives. You really helped us in a major way at the start of our journey.
We stayed the night with Travis' buddy Dustin, a recent Oakland transplant hailing from Gainesville. Dustin has been into coffee for a few years now, and the Bay Area is allowing him to nerd out about it in a real way AND make money at it working at a local roaster.
We witnessed his afficionado the next day when he asked the barista at a rival roaster about their single source, dark roasted Ethiopian beans. She answered his dozen questions with enthusiasm. I will admit, the iced coffee from that place was unlike any coffee I've ever had before.
I've never been to San Francisco before, so Dustin pointed us in the directions of the prime tourist spots. We had to see the Golden Gate Bridge, obvi.
We rode along the bay and met a charming dog walker and his incredible menagerie of canines.
We also tooled around Golden Gate Park to check out the Flower Conservancy (voted as San Francisco's #1 First Date Spot).
Finally, we rode back into the heart of the city, where the real iconic San Francisco comes through: big ass hills, crazy colored Victorian houses, extremely well-dressed hipsters in zine shops. So far, the most notable feature of the West Coast is the nutso bike lanes.
It's like city government recognized bike commuting as a legitimate form of transportation, and then actually ENCOURAGED citizens to ride bikes by providing adequate infrastructure. CRAZY. I still have some sight seeing to do, but luckily our trip begins AND ends in San Francisco, so I'll still have some time to putz around.
I'm currently on a train to Seattle, and I have been on this train for the past 20 hours. Tomorrow I will give you my opinion of train people, my new homemade beef jerky recipe, and the state of Washington.