August 6 – 42 miles, 2,000 feet
We started the day with breakfast at the Marriott which was walking distance from our far less classy motel. That was reflected in the prices, such as $5.25 for a cup of coffee. The food was good, but we have had comparable for much more reasonable prices. That wasn’t helped by the slow service, not by the waitress but in the preparation of the meals.
The Raiders’ training camp is in Napa and people associated with the team were obviously staying there. Based on the number of Raider caps and other paraphernalia, so were a lot of fans. All with larger budgets than mine.
Most of the ride out of Napa was on Highway 29. The shoulders were adequate but with all of the traffic, I was looking forward to getting off of that road.
The ride crossed over the Carquinez Bridge. Although I have ridden over it a number of times with our riding group, I don’t think I had gone north to south before by bicycle.
After the bridge and a stint on San Pablo Ave., I was directed to the San Francisco Bay Trail that skirts the Bay for a while on a surface that is paved for all but maybe 100 yards. Then on to Pinole Valley Blvd. and finally to San Pablo Dam Road which we have ridden dozens of times. It was definitely feeling like home and that was good. Except that I was planning on riding all the way to my house, which meant going up El Toyonal. I have done that a few times before, but it is never easy. However, it was the fact that I have done it before, including not long before the start of this trip, that made me determined to do it this time. Although having Alejandra meet me at the bottom of the hill was very tempting.
San Pablo Dam Road got to El Toyonal and I turned right, which meant uphill. Again it wasn’t easy, but I did make it. It was the first time I have ridden home at the end of a long ride and it felt good. Though it wasn’t really the end of a long ride. Instead it was someplace in the middle of a long ride. In fact, that is the most difficult thing about coming here, knowing that I have to get back on the bike for another couple of weeks to complete this ride. To Complete The Journey.
However, seeing Sandi, Sky, family and friends has been reinvigorating. I know more than half the riding days are already done and that once I get to Cambria, the most difficult ride will also be behind me. That should be done in a very few days. I will keep reminding myself that I have done that ride 5 times before and that I should therefore be able to do it this time. Even though there are an increasing number of things that I used to be able to do that I can no longer do. I will just try to avoid thinking about that.
Tomorrow Santa Cruz. Then Carmel. Then Cambria..