2017 Blog

Days 28-36: Gualala to Salinas & everything in between

Today we are hoppin on a train and skipping over what is rumored to be the most beautiful part of the coast: Big Sur. Yes we are bummed and yes we are planning another trip in the near future to Big Sur just to ease the pain. This isn't anything new, we've known about this plan from the beginning. There are some pretty serious slides in California that are preventing us from riding this part of the route without a major detour, so a train to San Luis Obispo it is. After some much needed rest in San Francisco, we are ready to give you guys another update!!

Day 28: Gualala --> Bodega Bay

our last day with the Uhaul! 
our last day with the Uhaul!

Today was HOT. One of the hottest days we have had on the coast if not THE hottest. Grace and I just pedaled our hearts out so that we could get done as soon as possible. We stopped at a beautiful lookout and met a large group of motorcyclists. They asked us about our ride and encouraged us. They were all retired and were on a Sunday birthday ride for one of their pals. As they put their helmets on to ride away, one of them turned around and said with a big smile "See? There's a life after marriage and kids and retirement!!" I can only hope that I'll search for joy like these men do by cruisin down highway 1 on a Sunday afternoon. They also gave us stickers that read "2 stupid to stop". I'll take that to heart, friends.

Day 29: Bodega Bay --> San Francisco  

Today we pulled in to San Francisco and stopped at a light, we were way too excited to see my cousin who HAPPENED to get stuck behind us going down a hill and filmed the whole thing. We were ecstatic to see her at the stop light at the bottom of the hill as we were heading to her house!

The picture Lisa took when we were at the stoplight. Fancy seeing you here! 
The picture Lisa took when we were at the stoplight. Fancy seeing you here!

Lisa is unreal. Not only does her family grow every fruit and vegetable and spice that you can grow right in their back yard (pears, blackberries, apples, plums, THE LIST GOES ON!) but they are the most engaging, encouraging, and downright happiest people to be around. Their whole family encourages wonder and wander, so we did just that in Muir woods, the cool ocean beach, the majesty of the Redwoods. I tried to capture how beautiful the Redwoods are.... but really you HAVE to see one for yourself. Please. Do it for me.

San Francisco was big because we also said goodbye to the Uhaul. That's right: Sara's back. She is being cautious about when her knee hurts and when to not push too hard. If you think of it, send your good vibes and thoughts and prayers her way to finish the ride & that would be amazing.

Day 33: San Francisco --> Half Moon Bay

When we left Lisa's house after 3 days of rest, we finally biked over the golden gate bridge. It was as majestic as you would think. However, we had to dodge so many pedestrians and other cyclists that it was truly a balancing act. Also, the hills in San Francisco are laughably huge. Guys. They are unreal. We were ecstatic that our route took us around all of those that were completely vertical ha!


Our spirits were high on this day. And then Sara got her first flat that we successfully patched. Our flat tire count is now 2. Knock on wood, friends. We arrived at the campsite and were told that the tree under which the hiker/biker site was located was a home for raccoons. Very cool. We hid all of our food and hoped that raccoons wouldn't fall on our tents and eat our food. They didn't. We win. Half Moon Bay is beautiful, by the way. I watched a beautiful sunset on the beach which I enjoyed solo because my only 2 friends were showering. It was the best to fall asleep to the sound of the waves!


Day 34: Half Moon Bay --> Santa Cruz  


We started today feeling great. So great that when we passed a strawberry U-Pick farm, we rolled each of our two little wheels into the gate. We literally frolicked around hundreds of rows of fresh, juicy, red strawberries. It could have been a dream but no, this was real life. As we were checking out with a huge cardboard box filled with our better-than-ever strawberries, the man said "well there's a farm stand about 8 miles south that sells strawberry lemonade and cheesecake." Sold. We ate all of our strawberries on the way and then walked into the farm stand. We had a great conversation with the man behind the counter, Michael, who asked about our shirts. He was a high school teacher nearby and he did a teaching segment about human trafficking every year. He sat down with us and asked us how we did our ride so that he could tell his students that there's a way to get involved. He whispered the sweet words "take the cheesecake on me" and my stomach was never happier. Michael - thanks for asking questions and being an advocate to stop human trafficking. People like you are what make this ride worth it!

We were super close to Santa Cruz after this and thankfully, my couisin Paul found us a place to stay with his pals Brent and Sheila that he knew from college. We didn't have much dialogue with Brent and Shiela before heading over to their house, so we had no idea what to expect. As we were riding down the Highway 1, we see a big green van with a little girl peering out the window and a man standing outside. I thought "Uh oh do these people need help?!" And was extremely thrown off when he said "Savannah?!" It was Brent! And Sheila! And the entire family! They saw three girls riding and said "that HAS to be the girls staying at our house tonight... let's just pull over and see." They took pictures of us riding and were the most joyous, inviting people in the world.

Here are the two angels that go by the names of Brent and Sheila
Here are the two angels that go by the names of Brent and Sheila

Our 2 nights with them made their hospitality and love for others even more evident. We told stories, had a campfire, learned about banana boats (the greatest campfire desert ever), played twister with their incredibly hilarious daughter Juliet, and enjoyed meals and laughs. They put us up in their beautifully renovated little shed in the back where we all fit perfectly. Sheila hooked us up with some face masks and told us to go to this private hot tub/sauna room downtown. We won't argue with that. Yes, Pedal the Pacific practically had a spa night. Sue us.  

Sheila and Brent - You two are rock stars. Thanks for taking us in last minute and being out of the way generous. We loved your stories, your yearn for adventure, and we admire the way you live your life!

Day 36: Santa Cruz

--> Salinas  

Honestly, we wanted to stay with Brent and Shiela for at least another week. But I guess we HAVE to keep moving. We had the easiest day we've had in a while. We took the quiet  back roads and were able to ride 3 in a row. Welcome to John Steinbeck land. We booked a cheap motel, dyed Grace's hair purple, ordered pizza, and slept in beds. Amazing. Now here we are about to hop on the train.

With all of the incredible people we've stayed with in the past week or so, we've forgotten about ramen and freeze dried meals and the art of stuffing subway footlongs into our handlebar bags for later. We've learned that the food you put into your body truly fuels you for the day, so it better be the good stuff. And, most importantly, our desire to carry out the golden rule is exemplified. We want to do unto others as they have done unto us ten-fold!!! I think I say this at the end of all my blog updates, but being out-of-the-way kind is impactful. I truly believe that one act of kindness can be world-changing.

9 days until our 2 wheels cruise into San Diego. Unreal.  


P.S. If you're in LA, we're having a beach day on Sunday the 30th. Come one come all.  


December 1, 2023
Madilyn Warner

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