Pictures from today are here.
So let's cut to the chase: I made it. 1,118 miles. 90:45 saddle time. 55,800 feet of climbing.
Memories, impressions, experiences, friendships ... priceless.
The campground last night was full of cyclists, which made it kind of fun. It was also really sandy, and drizzled most of the night, which made things messy this morning when I had to break everything down and pack it all up. Somehow, I still managed to warm up a couple of muffins, fix some coffee, stay half-way clean, and get out of there by 9 am.
I had carefully packed things so that I could just zip into Bodega Bay and drop the rear panniers and my tent at the shipping store. It was 33 pounds of stuff that I had sent back home, since I wouldn't need it again. It was also 33 pounds and a little less windage for me to bother with today.
You wouldn't think that it would make that much difference, but it did. All day, the bike climbed just a little better. Plus, I was able to ride hands-free whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted, unlike the "just take hands off the bars for a second and then -- uh-oh, grab 'em quick" stuff I had to do for the last three weeks.
As I was heading down California 1 I saw a yellow arrow suggesting that I turn left and go to Bodega. So I did. It was less than a mile, and it's where the church that they used in the Alfred Hitchcock classic, "The Birds" is. There's also a store there with a bunch of memorabilia from the movie. They make a good cinnamon roll, too.
I then had a long climb up towards Valley Ford, where I intercepted Val and Jude. They were the only riders who had left the campground before me, and had stopped in that town for a big breakfast. Weighted down by all of the food, I was able to attack and drop them on the hills past town ... bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!
I quickly cruised through Tomales down to the bay, on through Marshall and Point Reyes Station before stopping on Point Reyes Petaluma Road to eat a candy bar, put on some sunscreen, and get the last of the sand from the campground out of my socks and sandals. The route then turned on to a multi-use trail that went along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard before getting on that road to pass through Lagunitas, Forest Knolls, and Woodacre.
There was one last long climb, and then a sweet descent into Fairfax. It was 2 pm, so when I saw a burger joint in that town I turned and had a big lunch. Back on the route, I took a series of quieter roads and multi-use trails through the suburbs north of Sauslito before finally getting on the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was kind of cool riding over this bridge into the city, except for the mixture of speedy commuters trying to get in their training rides and/or take the Strava segment, and a bunch of folks riding rented "Blazing Saddles" hybrids who didn't look like they'd been on anything with two wheels since fourth grade. I just tried to stay out of everybody's way and get it done.
The route had been good in the GPS until this point, and then it flaked out. I knew which way that I needed to go, however, and was able to get far enough that way until the GPS chirped "Course Found" and directed me the rest of the way to Big Swingin' Cycles near the Pacific Heights neighborhood.
The shop knew I was coming, and soon had everything sorted out with Sparkletini. The shop owner even called a small locally-owned hotel a few blocks away and got me the "friend rate" for tonight and tomorrow.
It was a great trip, and everything really went surprisingly well. There were a few things that I might have done differently, and I sure wish that the wind that supposedly normally blows out of the north had been blowing out of the north for the past three weeks, but all in all it was a blast.
But I can't wait to get home to RandoGirl, the RandoDaughter, all of my friends, and the same old roads that I've ridden dozens of times. I've had enough novel experiences for a while.