Video by Nick. Words by Jay.
It's interesting to see how many different climates we have managed to encounter with in bicycle riding distance. We went north into a valley after the island, and I'm wearing my hat for the first time tonight. It was brisk this morning, but right now it's about 45°.
The sky was beautifully clear when we left the tent this morning. Sunrise came to us early and even Nick was ready to move by 7.30. After all, there was still a big chunk of the island to explore. Down in this valley that used to be a parade ground, the soldiers’ housing is missing, but the officers quarters, largely derelict, remains. Another building crumbles alone in the woods. Crowning the field were the bakehouse and an officer's home, restored. Neither were officially open, though we could peek through all the first floor of the fancy housing. The bakehouse, however, someone had left a back door wide open and we took it as an invitation to step back in time. Nick read aloud the standard meal for Wednesday, 1838. After cod balls, I tuned him out, looking in nooks and crannies and pointing out all the period equipment I had cooked with in the past. This is a working bakehouse, fully stocked with ingredients for regular bake-offs and instructions for the commanding officer. This was the most interaction we'd had with the past yet.
Continuing on, we rolled the bikes back up a steep rocky path to investigate bunkers from a different era. We tread carefully, now knowing what poison oak looked like, and wanting to avoid it. Itching and riding sounds positively miserable. We broke camp, needing to be out by noon and headed back to the visitors center to look like perfect technology addicts, charging our devices in the middle of a beautiful park.
The ferry came shortly enough to carry us to Tiburon, our gateway to Marin. We lounged for an hour at the local fancy grocery store, sprawling our things on their deck in our thirst for electricity while eating lunch and planning the next moves. We were still debating camping at Mt Tamalpaìs or Samuel P Taylor, close to Pt Reyes. What were we here to see, anyway? But the elevation maps won out again, and despite Mt Tam being the closer by half, there was considerably less climbing to get to the Point, and we could see everything on the return trip.
Our optimism lasted just past the giant picnic table on the side of the 101. Who put it there? We have no idea. But as we pulled away, I heard an ominous twang and thought nothing of it until the other side of the bridge when I realized my rear brake was pulsing. That rear wheel we were warned about had blown a spoke. The closest shop was a 2 minute ride, but only services new electric bikes, so their longest spoke was still a bit too short for us. SCUL to the rescue. One of our fleet ships has an oversized unicycle wheel laced to a regular hub which chewed through spokes regularly and no one stocks jumbo lengths. We took a page from MoneyPenny, and frankenspoked the wheel back together.
Nick did all the work, while I was busy making friends with Kona, their shop dog. Everything put back together, we noticed a different wobble in the wheel, but not anything we could fix. We will try for a swap back in the city, and if I'm lucky, a different saddle, too. Back on the road, we cruised through stands of fennel, so the air was tinged with anise, then bike paths and bike lanes til we rounded a corner and came to the Marin Bicycle Museum. Changing the spoke had eaten a lot of time, so the museum wasn't open and we vowed to come back later if we could. Outside, they had a monster mountain bike replica with tractor wheels that look like it might actually move. While we were examining it, we noticed the first of several local shuttles with bike racks on the front and decided to keep them in mind.
The road that contained the bicycle museum was also the road to our camp site. We stopped again briefly to put on more layers. I claimed we would make camp before dark, someone else was still wearing sunglasses and thought I was crazy. Alas, we realized we had stopped at the bottom of the big climb in today’s journey, and we shifted into low gear and zigzagged up the shoulder. A passing motorist even stopped to shout encouragement! That was nice. But we made it and cruised downhill, around a corner and into farmland, hills full of horses and cows dotted both sides as the sun grew lower. Finally there appeared a tiny bicycle sign with “S P Taylor 2 miles” and began to relax, not long after, there was a marker for Lagunitas, the town. The last few miles of each day seem to go by the fastest. Redwoods sprang up around us and the sky and warmth became distant memories as we saw the park Welcome sign. But then there was the sign for the campground, and some other cyclists showed us the way to the hiker/biker. This one was all the way at the beginning and beside a very noisy brook, but it’s a peaceful home for the night. Dinner is a replay of last night, but at least we have cookies now! Those are the best morale boost a girl could hope for, and will come in handy tomorrow.
Also, I'm wearing all my warm layers. Where is this California heat everyone told us about?!
Total distance: 25-27 miles. Our phones disagree.