I got a late start at the highway but it was a Monday and most of the rush died the night before. I had made the decision a day earlier to drive straight to San Francisco, instead of my original plan to go to Vancouver. The whole reason i was going to go up there was for a Hey Fixie ride up in Canada. Well I would of had to drive from Vancouver to Vegas in two days!! I want to enjoy my way back home and take it as slow as possible. Besides, despite only being 49 square miles, there is still way too many things I want to see in San Francisco. I wanted to fall asleep in the fog of the bay so i can pretend to wake up in the clouds.

The road back to Northern California was a long one, I knew. I had to drive straight through Oregon and a few hours deep into the middle of the Golden State. Bob Dylan lead the soundtrack to my frantic drive back to see the bay. I gave a quick smirk when he mentioned-"getting stuck on the five forever."  Dylan would roar at the frenzied cluster fuck of SUV-soccer-mom's playing taxi cab driver on the 5. The scenery changed slowly from plains evergreen labyrinths to dry, flat farmland. I passed the usual homemade signs advertising family farms growing cherries, blueberries, stawberries, and every other berry you could think of. I arrived to the house in the dead of night and passed out on my makeshift bed- in my Uncle's home.

I woke up to the faint sound of Mexican laborers working on the extensive renovation project outside. When I first arrived to the house my Uncle Jon gave me a tour of the house and explained all the remodeling and landscaping that was in progress. it's going to be a pretty fascinating house. The kind to grow old in, the kind to retire in, and the kind that makes you truely proud of your life's hardwork. Applaud Applaud. But for the moment I was trying to sleep off an eleven hour drive I had to endure the day before.

No matter, I was off for the bay. I drove through the bay town of Sausalito and parked as soon as possible. Assembled my bike, grabbed my bag from my trunk and crushed it up the windy hills to the Golden Gate Bridge...finally. It isn't the hills that give me a struggle; it's the cold and freezing constant wind. There was a point coming up one of the hills that I would see clouds billowing down the mountaintops. it was like watching the weather channel in fast forward. I had forgotten how massive that bridge actually was. It was hard to tell and take it all in from the safety of a car. The bridge lies 4,200 feet across and connects the Marin County to San Francisco. Not a bad bike ride but with the freezing and high winds it was a bit of a challenge. i was just in shock that it's still like this in the middle of July, but then again a lot of things fascinate me. Well that's one goal you can cross of my list of things to do. For my next adventure I'm going to need a rocket, two magnets, and whole lot of will power.

Shitty photo. 'twas windy.

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i awoke to the sounds of seagulls outside my hotel window. I had to regain composure and lay there for a second to remember where i am. i seem to be doing a lot of that as of late. I repack what little items i took out of my bag and proceeded to checkout. The complimentary breakfast was as expected: a few mini muffins, apple/orange juice dispenser, coffee, and cold cereal. I took what i could hold in my hands and gave the key card to the man behind the counter.

I left the hotel to HWY-101 with the shield of fog still present. i decided before I left that I would head to Eugene, OR to check out one of the American Apparel's. It's a simple enough drive and it is actually on the way. I follow my mapquest-given directions and, of course, it tries to send me down a one-way street. I park a few blocks away and assemble my bicycle; that has been in my back seat for about a day now. I was so ecstatic that there was a trail of bike lanes everywhere. The AA is in the epicenter of university district. While the summer-school crowd is very small, I can only imagine what this town is like in full-fall-bloom.

After assessing the store and buying a striped hoodie i get back on the 5. Driving through Portland I felt disappointed for not stopping in Hawthorne or Downtown to say, "hello." to some old friends. There is a piece of my heart still in the city. Grace, I later find out has been in the mountains for a few days, has her phone go straight to answer machine. Matthew Gilbert, as always, is impossible to get a hold of. I heard he moved up there for recording or living or something or another; phone goes straight to an automated," The number you are trying to reach is not in service or has been disconnected." Great. Oh Matthew, why must you persist on being immobile. By the time I tried to call Frank my phone lost signal. Next time guys.

After passing a few quaint beach towns and tourist charm spots I arrive in Astoria, OR. A town on the very edge of Oregon beauty. A small (Columbia) river separates the town from the Washington border. I feverishly dial Michelle and she was waiting outside. Michelle offered to take me in last spring when I almost didn't have a place to stay in Portland, luckily Frank pulled through then. A bright, smart, independent, cultured, and strong woman showed me around her home and later the town. She said I looked hungry-major understatement- so she cooked up some crazy seafood dishes. White Salmon, found only in a few remote parts of the coast, caught only the day before by her fisherman friend was unbelievable. Michelle talked to me a lot about her kids, and how they are slowly doing their own thing in life. it's expected and she knows that; it's just a little hard to get used to after being a mother for so many years. Daman, another vacationing friend of hers was also staying in the house for a bit. Another important character in this little adventure of mine. Always walking around with a smile on my face and always wanting to show me new card games. He works with disabled children in his hometown, (Albany,OR) so he knows and is taught a lot of activities to keep the kids entertained.

After a few days of just lounging around on Michelle's sofa, staring at the view of the Columbia, reading the subterraneans, daydreaming of adventures to come, watching the clouds roll in and out over the valley, and listening to world eclectic music; it was time for me to hit the road. I was feeling a bit restless and wanted to get back on the highway; strangely. After Daman and Michelle got back 'clam digging' we made french toast and had breakfast together; not our last meal together we assured ourselves. Companion, Michelle taught me, means to break bread together. It was apropriate that our last meal together held true to the definition.The world is too small and time is too short for us not to meet again. Egypt, we joked, was where we will meet again.

We toasted to new friendships and to safe travels.

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I drove for seven hours straight just to wake up in Oregon. I left with the intentions of seeing the Golden Gate before I left. With a combination of bad directions and frustration from California traffic I took a left at the fork in the road that read: HWY-101 South (San Francisco) or HWY-101 North (Santa Rosa). I decided to venture up Northern California.

I'm not sure it gets much better listening to Pedro the Lion and being completely surrounded by trees the size of sky scrappers. There were some points going through the Redwood Forest that I was engulfed in an evergreen tunnel. i passed town after town with names all alike, soon to be forgotten, and all with their own heathen humans who take suspicious look at the red Chevy Lumina with the 'Ketel 1' license plate.

I crossed the Oregon border and my body and car had had enough. The road wears me out and it's taking it's toll on my mind. I turned into the first hotel i saw and spent more money on a hotel room than I had spend on any single item my whole trip. While the coffee is weak, and the internet goes on and off every two seconds, and the view of the trailer park across the street is not completely attractive; I am just happy to make it to another state. When the going gets tough, the tough go driving.

I'm too tired to write anymore. Tomorrow morning I will attack the complimentary breakfast because of the hotel's room ridiculous prices, it's what you get.



250.74 miles and roughly four hours later I arrived in Vallejo to greet my Uncle Jon. I hadn't seen him in a year and his daughter in eighteen: family right. But they couldn't of been better to me. Jon insisted that he show me everywhere inside, around, in between, about, and underneath the great city of San Francisco. He drove me through countless back roads and gave me minute history lessons on each town and area. i got to hand it to him, he sure does know his history and I was simply dumbfounded with all the trivia he knew on the area.

We all had dinner downtown where I finally got to see the rest of my cousins that I havent seen in years. Brenden and I talked as if we saw each other a week ago, when in reality it had been four years. It was good to talk to someone on my level, someone who knew what I came here for, someone who was sure to show me how, just someone. We ate more that evening than I had eaten all trip. Afterwards it was dark and the city turned on their lights. For a second I forgot where I was and had to back track a bit. Jon wanted me to see all of SF so I can go off by myself and see what I wanted to see without being completely lost.

Despite what you have heard walking around and getting lost in San Francisco IS the thing to do. Brenden gave me a map which came in handy quite often but I let my shoes lead the way. I didn't take in the magnitude of these hills from inside a passenger seat, but who in their right minds would build on something that steep. I saw a messenger slowly climb up one of the hills and I just stood in awe. After a few heavy down strokes, he was on top of that hill; quickly looking back for a quick marvel and self assurance.

What could be said of this place: the people, the cultures, the cycling, the fashion, the history, the weather, the food; all top-notch. It never exceeded 80 degrees and my hoodie never became too much of a burden. I could go on forever on each street i walked, which shops I visited, how many miles I walked, how many more I saw from the trolley, but it wouldn't do any justice.

I'm at a bit of a crossroads in my trip. The days are being pulled away and Vancouver is so far. Do I press on towards the 101 immediately and continue my trek through the coast? Or do I stay another day and ride my bike along the Golden Gate Bridge and visit Haight/Ashubry again? I've got to find the balance between time and space: Such is life.

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450.09 miles and roughly six hours later I arrived in Reno,NV from Las Vegas, NV.
I can't really say that it has hit me, as of how far and how long I will be gone from home. Reno is a regular stop for myself. I come here on a spontaneous outbursts. I didn't even have to look at my map. Well, I made a wrong turn by not going on I-80 but quickly realized I had made the mistake earlier, only a few miles and minutes lost. God damn you Fallon, NV: you mess me up every time.

I grabbed some Cliff Bars, Chips, Vitamin, and Smart Water from Whole Foods before I left Vegas. My iPod is working perfectly and I just made a much-needed roadtrippin playlist. Full of Grandaddy, Pedro the Lion, Justice, Air, the Promise Ring, and m83: just to name a few. Shortly after my arrival to Ashley's house I passed out cold. Highway fatigue had been building up since the 95. I hadn't slept that hard in weeks.

9 am: bike ride down S. Virgina to go visit Amay at her new job. She recognized me this time. Which is hard to believe on accounts of my extreme hair cut. (pictures soon). I proceeded down the road looking for Court Street. A man in a SUV assured me I was going the right direction. I found Dharma Books like a possessed refugee, finding comfort and relishing in the pillars of classic and current novels. I purchased a book of Selected Poems from Leonard Cohen and the subterraneans by Jack Kerouac, appropriately. I later visited Never Ender and the Pnuematic Diner, which was too full for me to sit and eat a vegan panini: it's not like I'm never coming back. While leaving the Peppermill I recieved a phone call from Matt Della Salla, i had completely forgotten that he moved up state so soon. We meet by the river and I showed Matt and Amber around as if I was a local to the city. We walked back to their apartment, that's a mear walking distance from UNR. I admire their convictions and happiness, it's a rare thing to find two people so in love and focused; not quite envious but certainly eye opening. Rode back through suburbs of antique homes and shitty roads, quite sure I popped my tire at least three times.

Tomorrow morning I will burst onto the I-80 Westbound for three hors. Destination Redwood, CA; one-hour shy of the Golden Gate. Phone, iPod, Camera, feet, and car well rested and charged.