I live in San Francisco, a place that many people consider desirable to live in. To visiting friends I usually describe it as a dirty filthy city in a beautiful setting. I suppose it is better than where I have lived in the past but familiarity has caused me to overlook the desirable traits and instead I focus on the dread of living here.  I alternately refer to SF as Shittown or Tweakerville, and California in general as Autopia.

Shittown is pretty obvious moniker for anyone who tries to walk around any of the neighborhoods that have an average household income of less than $250,000 a year. I am a reluctant expert on shit from all forms of low life and irresponsible dog owners that populate this fine city. Tweakerville is also an obvious descriptor for this place to anyone who has attempted to walk or bike around here. Nevada and probably the whole nation fills greyhound busses with their troubled and troubling dross and send them to the streets and parks of SF so they can beg and shit in the streets. During the fabled days of the gold rush miners would give their compatriots a nick name and in that tradition I call most street vagabonds ‘Nevada’ – as in ‘Hey Nevada, don’t shit there; you’ll track it around like last time,’

Autopia is another apt name, where like most other US locales, automobilists blow stop signs, speed like demons, block crosswalks and kill pedestrians with impunity, and then do the same thing when they hop on a bicycle. If these fine US citizens aren’t driving or cycling they are strolling down the middle of the cramped sidewalk blocking my way and tracking around all that shit because they are trying to read a text from one of their friends who is late and is circling for a parking spot. Just please get in line outside the foodie spot and talk loud or something, and stop tracking that crap around. Sheesh.

Perhaps getting out of town will help me think well of others and exercise some mature patience, perhaps not. I probably should have done an informal mixed terrain down the coast toward pescadero, but girlfriend Juliayn needs to work on her R12 and did not want to do any of the available 200’s and wanted to do the Sonomarin 300 perm. This perm is a copy of the Russian River 300 and if you want to do a 300 in a lot of traffic that is the one. It does have a very nice stretch along the coast but the rest is shared with every unemployed monster truck redneck in Sonoma from Petaluma to Monte Rio. Not a good choice for a ‘fun’ ride, although acceptable for putting in some miles so I can qualify for a 1200.  I suggested the Old Caz 300 perm to Juliayn as a worth wile ride.

The Old Caz is tough, but what a ride! Why, this ride is so nice I don’t even mind wearing a helmet. We decided to do this ride on a weekday and start at 5am. We took 20 hours, three more than my usual. Temperatures were much colder during the riding in the dark and I wish I had some gloves.

A weekday ride has us in commute traffic on Point Reyes Petaluma Road, but we are going in the wrong direction for the commute and are spared all the speeders that are absent on a Saturday.

Burnside is totally spectacular, with views of Mounts Tam, Diablo and Saint Helena and the ocean all in one. I saw the same dude in a white car on the side of the road, so I can only guess he lives there.

On Cazadero I stop to wait for Juliayn and take from her a few pounds of liquid refreshment so she can have a little relief from her over-preparation for the ride.  Caz offers up several still unexpected vistas and I cross Austin Creek with the aid of a foot dab.

I take my shoe and sock off to wring it out and watch Juliayn slowly approach the creek, offer a few kibitzing comments and let her do her thing to get across. When we get to the house on the other side of Austin Creek and cross their front yard nothing has changed, nobody home. Fort Ross is punctuated for Juliayn with more hike-a-biking, but we are still moving along just fine. I am sad that the three legged Chihuahua (his name is Fidel) is not present to attack me. Myers Grade is clear and open and we can see the entire coast from the Russian river all the way to Point Reyes, all in miniature, all even more spectacular than normal. I wish I had a nice camera for that moment like Theresa, but Juliayn has simple one and it will have to do in a low res, low fi way. When she shares the pictures I will add them to this post.

Jenner and Willow creek are sweet and familiar and things approach a low point with the approaching darkness at Dillon Beach. We are tired and cold.

At Point Reyes we make it before the Palace Market closes, and we get to chat with the owner outside while we were sitting on the bench munching. The owner wanted us to know that she was installing bike racks in front of the store and that the deli has soft serve Strauss Ice Cream.  She also wants to encourage our club to visit her store more than we do. I said we go there all the time anyway, but certainly free beer attracts cyclists. She said she would see what she can do.

From Point Reyes to Five Brooks the temperatures were very cold, but once we ascend a bit out of the big Olema cold pocket everything was pleasant and quiet. All the cars that passed us in the night moved completely into the opposite lane to go by. The locals are good to cyclists; tourists can plunge off the cliffs or smack into the nearest eucalyptus thank you.

Safeway serves up our own finish venue fare, where I purchase shrimp cup-a-noodles for us and Juliayn supplies the chips with her purchase. We repair to my apartment where we swaddle in blankets and eat our noodles, munch chips and sip our beers after a warm shower. I fall asleep in my chair, satisfied.

The Old Caz perm has lightened my negative attitude slightly! I wonder if the King Ridge perm can do even more so? Juliayn, what do you have planned for November’s R12 installment?