Quails are probably named as such because, man, they coo a racket in the morning. They were up collecting worms and running the kingdom long before the alarm (California, by The Kooks, set for an ambitious 7 am). We inched ourselves out of our warm sleeping bags and started packing. I’d hoped to leave camp by 8:30 – my dad had arranged to meet us at 9 to bike to Napa – but what with hardboiling eggs and the fog, not to mention the friends and the coffee and Rachel’s front rack falling off, we didn’t get out ‘til 9:30.
I was definitely feeling frustrated. Rachel and I have traveled before, and we’re close friends, but she hadn’t slept much in the days before we left, which made the leaving/organizing haphazard. So I was feeling a lot like a mom being taken for granted, neither of which are healthy for three-months of constant companionship. We’re in this for the long haul though, so we talked on the trail once we broke camp (Incidentally, the trail was beautiful when it wasn’t pitch black and uphill and at the end of a 3400 foot-elevation-gain day).
Because for the duration of these three months, we’re married, in it for the long haul, the good, the bad, the ugly, the stinky.
And there’s guaranteed to be lot of the first and the last (we oughta bottle the smell of our socks; like these are chemical weapons), so it’s just figuring out how to minimize the middle stuff and as with any partnership, it’ll take some work and getting used to.
Eventually, we made our way down to my pops in the Bear Valley Visitor Parking lot. Rach loaded her bike into the Prius – my mama was going to take her to Napa to get her rack mended or replaced, since it failed two separate times on Friday.
At the visitors center, the babies are confused. I think in the world they’re carefully learning, we fail to fit any object categories … we look like human buffalos.
For a hot minute, the bikes worked and the Prius failed, but a quick call to AAA scared the transmission into action and Rachel and my mom were on their way.
My dad and I took to the Pt. Reyes-Petaluma road, and it’s a gorgeous ride that’s chivalrous to mind and body. The hills roll with grass that’s somehow still green, the reservoir is somehow still full, the hawks circle by the dozens, their great big wings stretched out like a morning yawn.
But man man man my legs were on fire and just tired from the mountain before, and the hills were high and tall and each crest, that flat bit right as the parabola turns over, like the softest red carpet welcome.
Meanwhile in Racheland:
Jan, Liz's mom, was so sweet and offered to drive me to hunt for a new front rack. I figured it was worth it -- I had felt incredibly unstable on my bike yesterday with my cheap Racktime rack (what time is it? NOT Racktime, but rather it's time to invest in a hurdy gurdy front rack.) Or, as I joked about seven too many times, it was time to go get myself a "nice rack." I was also feeling really overwhelmed and unprepared from yesterday, and so it was nice to have some time to pick up some of the things I'd forgotten.
So we zipped car-speed to Petaluma to prowl the bike shops. First stop: Bruce Gordon's Cycles, a fancy custom bike shop known for their, well, nice racks. What followed was a fat slap in the face. We met Bruce in the parking lot of his shop. He told us it would take several days to get a rack ready, and painted, and that we had "no chance" of finding one anywhere else on this short notice. That's about when he poked his head into the car, took a look at my bike, and LAUGHED. CHORTLED even. "China, huh?" he said, and then something along the lines of "cheap shit." He then began the long list of things wrong with my bike and why it was too crappy to take me across the country. I told him I'm a scientist and fresh outta college and I don't make enough money for a custom carbon frame bike, and that this was going to have to do (sidenote: my Jamis Aurora is the best bike I've ever owned, I bought it new after my old one was stolen in Berkeley and it's probably the most expensive thing I've ever bought). The last thing he said, which he repeated several times, was cemented in my memory. "I feel sorry for you," shaking his head. Gee, thanks Bruce! I can't wait to send him a postcard from New York in three months.
We tried a few more shop, but nada. So I called ahead, and arranged to pick one up when we got to Sacramento. Problem solved!
And back to Lizland:
We made it to Petaluma by 3 and ravaged meaty sandwiches from the deli. Then we clown-car piled three bikes, 17 bags and 4 adults into the family Prius and booked it to Napa, where we were staying with our first couchsurfing host. She took us in, greasy hands and stained jerseys and all, and then drove us to meet my parents for dinner.
Josh and Jenn joined us for an Italian feast accompanied by an 80’s-covers rock-and-roll band, complete with a digital drumset. Helped make that goodbye good.