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Fair Oaks to Golden Gate Bridge, CA

This is being sent to you from the home of our good friends, Susan Miller and Wes Schulze of Pacifica, CA.

July 30, Wednesday
Clay rode with us on the American River Trail into Sacramento. We got off by Sacramento State and then stopped in for a quick tour of the capitol building. We had to take our tours separately while the other one stayed with the bikes, as we were hesitant to leave them unattended with all our gear on them. Next we rode to Old Town Sacramento where the city first started. Its streets are cobblestone and the old buildings have a wooden boardwalk with various shops. The Delta King, an historic paddleboat is docked in the river.

Many of the streets in Sacramento have marked bike lanes making the city travel decidedly safer. While eating lunch in a Mexican restaurant, Pete Escalante walked in. He had seen our loaded bikes outside and sought us out. When he found out about our trip, he remarked, "That puts you in the top 3% of humanity!" We're not sure exactly what criteria he was using, but it had a nice ring to it. Pete is a member of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates who are the impetus behind all the bike lanes in the city, so we thanked him profusely. Leaving Sacramento, we rode the paved levee roads down the Sacramento River. A strong headwind impeded our progress but kept the day cooler. On our side we could see the fertile Sacramento Valley filled with vineyards, orchards, and fields of fruits and vegetables, making the area appear as a real cornucopia.

We stopped in the town of Locke for the night. The town sign showed an elevation of 13 feet although we are still at least 50 miles for the bay. Locke is a small old rural Chinese community. The buildings looked like they were built in the 1920's and haven't been painted since. Inquiring about a room, we were directed to a B&B although the manager informed us they didn't serve breakfast. Our room was unusual to say the least. It was more of an upstairs apartment with a complete kitchen and several bedrooms off of it. We had to negotiate our bikes up the narrow staircase with two L-shaped landings. The bathroom had two showers, and two toilets, partitioned off. The showers were tinned lined walls and cement floors with wooden slats on top. The showerhead was definitely 1920's era with a broad head and lots of water. Most of the apartment had beaded wooden walls painted a pale institutional green but there were plenty of old time pictures and framed local photographs with poetry. In short, we loved it. For dinner we had a choice of the local restaurants — "Al, the Wop's," "Wimpy's," or Chinese. We chose Chinese.

July 31, Thursday
Ah, another milestone! Today marks the completion of our fifth month on the ADT. William Least Heat Moon, in his classic chronicle of his travels through rural America, "Blue Highways," observed that the more calendars a cafe or diner had posted; the better the food. If Least Heat's analysis is correct, Alma's Walnut Grove Cafe is world class with no less than 15 calendars posted on one wall alone. We can't speak for their entire menu, but the oatmeal, hash brown potatoes, and coffee made for a great breakfast.

We continued our ride down the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and levee system. Several times we crossed over waterways to find the road less traveled. It still seems amazing to us that we see so few cars and that we are in fertile farmland, most of it at or perhaps below sea level, as we ride the levees. It's a far cry from the California we have all been shown on TV and at the movies.

The ADT route actually climbs 3800 foot Mount Diablo which we have been seeing on the horizon since Sacramento. Unable to deal with the logistics of switching back to hiking for a short 30 mile segment and since there are no roads up Mt. Diablo on the north or east sides, we will bypass it on roads on our bicycles. We rode over the huge bridge into Antioch and then on over Kirker Pass to Concord and a convenient Holiday Inn.

47 miles, 10.2 mph, 4 hours 35 min 3,433 total miles biked

August 1, Friday
Today was filled with variety and excitement. Leaving Concord, we were able to pick up bike lanes and trails to weave our way easily through a very populated area. But, then we had a number of ridges to climb. We were surprised by how remote we were so close to a large city. Finally coming out of Wildcat Canyon, we coasted into Berkeley or Berzerkeley as it's referred to by locals. Lots of people, action, and variety. We ran into one man in a donut shop with a chartreuse mohawk haircut, a tattoo on the side of his head, about 10 earrings in each ear, and various other pieces of metal in his nose, eyelashes, and face. He was fascinating, and Laurie finally went up to him telling him that he personified Berkeley, and asked if she could snap his picture. He agreed.

From there we traveled down Telegraph and Broadway Streets to Jack London Square and we caught the ferry to San Francisco. The ferry provides wonderful panoramas of the San Francisco skyline. Getting off at Pier 39, we saw a number of docks totally covered with sleeping sea lions. These guys know how to relax, except for the occasional fights and tossing their fellow lions off into the water.

San Francisco is filled with people, diversity, street musicians, restaurants, and historic sites. It was fun weaving our bikes through all of this and getting the looks of people wondering what we were doing with all of this junk on our bikes. Then on to the Golden Gate Bridge which we first rode over going north and then back south just for fun. There is a nice wide sidewalk on each side of the bridge. The sidewalk on the bay side is for pedestrians and the seaside one is just for bicycles. The wind was so strong as we went around one pillar that it stopped us dead in our tracks. Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge has to be on anyone's "must ride" list. It is totally awesome. After dinner at an Italian restaurant, we were picked up by Wes Schulze, our friend from Pacifica. He took us back to he and Susan's house.

48.3 miles, 8.3 mph, 5 hours 45 minutes, 3,481 miles biked

This completes the bicycle portion of our ADT trip through California. We will take August 3rd, Bill's birthday, off and then begin our three day hike to Limantour Beach on August 4th. Thus, we should finish our ADT adventure, except for Utah and Nevada, at 12 noon on Wednesday, August 6th. If anyone on-line is in the Bay Area, we would be pleased if you could join us. We can be reached at 650-355-5647.

53,3 miles 11.1 mph 4 hours 47 minutes total biked 3386 miles

© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1997, Lynchburg, VA.
The Happy Feet

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