Greetings from San Francisco! I’m sad to announce that my bicycle tour has come to an unexpected ending in the Golden City 😦 I barely made it here and just scraped by the finish line last evening with fairly empty pockets, a heavy heart and a broken bike…
Last time we spoke, I was just arriving in Fort Bragg and what a stay that was! I set up a stealthy camp in the woods right near the ocean and took four days off to rest and look for work. I got a job down on the harbor with a fishing company specializing in sea urchins (which they process and export to Japan).
The employees (all Hispanic) arrived at 4 a.m. and set the fiesta music on party volume and we got to it. Some were cracking open the pokey urchins, some pulled out the insides and some cleaned the intestines and others preformed the final checks. What a weird assembly line. I knew the job wasn’t for me fifteen minutes into it but I stayed on and worked, donating a day of labor for the kindness that I’ve received on the road. Definitely a strange glimpse of freedom in America..
After work, I met a woman praying in the park, immersed in the celebration of silence and although she didn’t speak to me, we had a deep exchange. She cried as I shared my philosophy on speech. Words can be confusing and often times the labels that we put on things are unnecessary and inaccurate but the languages of the world have such a rich history and what a way to share complex ideas and emotions. She inspired me though and for two days I fasted and spoke not. It rained for 24 hours straight and I stayed in the tent and read three books and wrote tenaciously.
Back on the road, the route took me over some serious climbs and gorgeous views of California’s rugged coast.
50 miles north of San Francisco, I began a long climb and switched into granny gear but my chain locked up and the shear force bent the steel on my frame and snapped off my rear derailleur.
What now? Hitchhike? I was able to shorten my chain and MacGyver a single speed ride which I pedaled 20 miles to the next bike shop just to find out it was irreparable. What a bummer! Wanting to finish in San Francisco, I decided to complete the last 30 miles of the adventure with my one gear, stuck in 2-3. Not an easy task and a huge test of patience but I made it, barely.
My old Raleigh will find her resting place here in the bay area. Maybe I’ll ghost ride it off the Golden Gate? One way or another, we’ve had some wonderful adventures together (almost 4,000 miles this summer alone) and she deserves a proper burial. On our journey into the west, I personally replaced 11 tubes, two tires, one rear rack, two sets of brake pads, one pedal, one crank arm, and even a seat that broke in half. I rode her hard and we did it like no one before. And so the sun sets upon The Fox Trails…
I have very little money left and I’ll be here in Frisco, riding around on my crippled lady while I work and put together the cash for my return. It was a helluva ride. A dream ride…and now I have two books to write!