A day before San Francisco we took another detour, but we knew what we were doing this time. It took us inland to a friend of Chris in a very friendly house on a remote hill between some small villages. Only a few km inland from the rugged and foggy coast the scenery was warm and dry.
It remained warm and dry on the way to Mill Valley, the small town north of San Francisco where we had our 'base camp' from which we headed to San Francisco on unloaded (yeah) bikes the next day. This was one week ago from today.
First glimpse of San Francisco from near Mill Valley
Crossing the bridge
Having crossed the bridge
Approaching one of the steepest San Francisco streets. THIS is what I would call a wall.
On top of the wall. After this, I bought a bike map which shows the elevations for all streets in the city, and recommended bike routes. It is indeed possible to get through the city and avoiding these hills, you only need to know where the flat streets are.
The first day in San Francisco was an overload of impressions. Since Vancouver, it is the biggest city after a long period of empty coast and very small villages. It took me some time to learn how to cycle through San Francisco's traffic system. It seems that there are no rules, but everything works. It's really amazing. We rushed through different districts, Haight Ashbury (Hippies), Chinatown, downtown skyscrapers and tested some breweries, as it was really warm and we had to cool down somehow. Everything seemed really crowded and hectic. On our way back in the evening, we accidentally bumped into a group of cyclists who had apparently met, maybe regularly, to cycle together. We joined them, and it was like a small spontaneous critical mass that escorted us all the way to the bridge, where the routes diverged. Nice.
After a very warm and sunny first day in San Francisco, the second one was foggy and colder. We spent the day in the city, doing different things individually, bike repair shops, postal office, driving around, relaxing.
And then it was time to say goodbye to Ross, Chris and Christine the next day.
Our routes, plans and schedules diverge beyond San Francisco. Chris and Ross are heading on south and eventually east one day, Christine's bike trip ends in San Francisco, and I will spend some more time here and am also thinking about taking a side trip to Yosemite National Park since a long time, if time allows.
I had a great and fun time riding with them during the last two weeks. Learned a lot of new words and saw places, where I wouldn't have ended up alone.
We had a last coffee together before crossing the bridge again, this time loaded.
I switched to a Hostel downtown and am constantly extending my stay, because I like it here.