Holy Cross to Saint Francis

Pre-PostWell, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on April 28. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now

Waking from our comfortable church campsite was far from easy. With only 27 miles ahead of us motivation was a little slow to come but eventually we got ourselves together and hit the road. The ride into Santa Cruz was pleasant with roadside fruit vendors (where we bought oranges) and the first view of the ocean we had had in almost two weeks. We arrived at my friend’s (Maria) house with a lot of daylight yet and plans to explore a bit but we just couldn’t motivate ourselves. Instead we smoked a little weed, caught up on some emails, took showers, and let our bodies rest.

Hanging out with Maria and her partner, Michael, was an incredibly positive experience. Meeting up with an ex after many years can often be a stressful experience but it was obvious that everyone involved was happy and healthy, and I felt great compersion for what they had going on. Maria and I had not seen each other in 3-4 years and our last interaction wasn’t particularly positive, but that was all under the bridge. We spent hours reminiscing about time in college, Michael and the Anna’s (who are all from St. Louis) discussed their home town, and we finished off a fair amount of beer. Adult relationships, friendships, and everything are fucking amazing. Maria and I influenced each other a lot in college and shaped how we view society and relationships today, it was great to reignite that friendship.

We left Maria’s house pretty early and planned on grabbing food and coffee in Santa Cruz before hitting the road. We had breakfast at Saturn Cafe and had our first real vegan restaurant stop of the trip, and it was amazing. The food, service, and atmosphere was wonderful and we highly recommend it. If I lived in Santa Cruz it would probably be the hangover diner of choice, much like Swingers in LA was for us.

With food in our stomach we went to grab coffee and internet to plan the day. During this time we had our first experience with the tension in Santa Cruz that can be felt in the air. There was a clear distrust going on in that city between the three groups we saw, the older local residents who probably had a lot of money, the houseless people who seem to live in a lot of California beach communities, and the younger post-college crowd of hippie surfer types. The older residents seemed to resent and stick their noses in the air at the rest of the groups, there seemed to be a sense of entitlement and superiority these locals felt towards others. To these older residents we were part of “the other” and were often scoffed at or looked at oddly.

The houseless residents, on the other hand, were nothing but friendly with us. They often provided us with tips about where we can store our bikes safely, how to navigate the city without getting harassed by law enforcement, and such. The younger crowd also seemed to see us as part of their group, in fact two surfer types overheard us talking about needing a place to camp because of the windstorm and immediately offered us a place to sleep at their home.

Our plans to leave were stopped twice. The first day after leaving Maria’s we didn’t even get out of town. The wind was unmanageable and we had to bunker down in the city at a local cheap hotel. The next day we got 8 miles out of town when the wind and rain convinced us to return to Santa Cruz to stock up on cold weather and wet weather gear. We were obviously unprepared. It turns out turning around was not necessary, the sun came out in the afternoon and it was a beautiful day, but we decided to be prepared instead of risking an unneccesarily cold, wet night in the woods. We finally left Santa Cruz after three nights.

We wanted to love Santa Cruz. Badly. It was a beautiful city but it clearly had problems. The division between groups was very obvious, even to outsiders like us. It really was so thick you could practically feel it in the air. There were certain neighborhoods on the west side that seemed much calmer and peaceful but the downtown area was uncomfortable for us. I’m not sure who the older, wealthier group is… long-time locals who resent a younger crowd or snowbirds who moved to their favorite vacation spot and now want it to lose the appeal it had when they were younger or something else entirely. Overall, I don’t think I could live in that city. The idea of feeling unwelcome or looked down upon based on my age or bank account is not a place I could call home.

Finally leaving Santa Cruz behind was a relief. The day we left was sunny, though windy. The headwinds we faced were no joke but we were in a good mood. We had not put many miles down the last few days and our bodies were feeling good. With 90 miles in front of us spread over two days we hoped to divide it evenly… of course that didn’t happen. Our first day we got about 38 miles in but that included a pleseant stop at the Highway 1 Brewery to get a few beers, our first brewery stop of the trip. We love beer… we really love beer… and there will be lots of stops like this on the trail. Even with a deadline we will stop for beer.

We left the brewery with only a little sunlight left. We rode through some forests and a few hills before finding an open field on the side of the road. It may have been private property but it wasn’t labeled so we just claimed it as our own and we slept surprisingly well. Our bodies and minds are getting used to sleeping in random places without permission. It feels good… an adult life being lived doesn’t involve permission. Asking permission is for servents, not free people.

The next morning was more foggy grossness and hills. We pushed, we rode, we pushed, we rode, we pushed, we rode… but we made it back to the PCH where life got a little easier. We got our first tailwind of the trip and it was god damn amazing. It was incredible. It was like getting your ass licked while on ecstasy. I want it every day of my life.

That slight tailwind pushed us into Half Moon Bay where we stopped for coffee. Sometimes the only reason you need to stop in a town is because the name sounds like something out of an old RPG like ChronoTrigger, Final Fantasy III, or Dragon Warrior IV. We pushed on and finally found ourselves mentally close to San Francisco. There were beautiful sights that can’t be properly shown in pictures.

Taking pictures on a journey like this is an interesting task. We want to capture what we see but photos don’t do things a damn bit of justice. Maybe it is our lack of skill or the lack of quality of equipment but anytime we review the pictures we remember but they really don’t show what we saw. There is something to be said for just enjoying the moment and the memory. Afterall, we are sharing this journey with many friends and strangers but the audience is really ourselves. Sometimes when we rush to capture a moment we actually miss it. We are surrounded by nature porn all the time… mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, forests, badlands, swamps, and a thousand other environments but it serves as more of a trigger than actually showing what we see. These photos remind us of what we saw, they help the smells, feelings, sounds, and taste return to us, but they don’t really convey that to other people. I hope others will get out there, I hope maybe these photos show the beauty that our world has to offer, but unless you see it and experience it yourself all we are is a tv show. It is fiction in a way. Our reality is little more than a show for others… and that is kind of cool. Our reality belongs to us and no other.

Eventually the hills and burning legs ended and we drifted into that incredible city on the bay, a city that we felt we earned. The people we are staying with are friends of friends, but they are cool as hell. They live in two warehouses that remind me of places I lived in Los Angeles. There are over a dozen people living in this artistic community and it feels a lot like Burning Man. They are clearly used to nomads travelling through and have a guest room with four beds and keep track of guests with an excel document. It was so good to get a hot shower and to sleep in a bed. Anna and I even got some sexy time in the shower… intercourse wasn’t happening due to the layout but some assisted hand jibbers put a smile on each of our faces.

Note: We are driving back to LA to tie up some loose ends so there probably won’t be much to report for about a week. I will try to type up a summary of our days exploring San Francisco on Friday or Saturday but our itinerary is really fluid so that may not happen.

Post-Post 1: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us out here

Post-Post 2: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/10legswilltravel.

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