Josh let’s us crash at his place and we wake up late. We stayed out too late at a Blind Willies concert the night before in a nostalgic basement: very nice wood paneling and decorative window slats. Rachel used to play trombone for them.
We eat a mediocre breakfast down the street from his San Francisco high rise and realize we’ve probably brought too much, like we always do.
Life’s easy over the Golden Gate. I tape my camera to my helmet with sticky black electrical tape. My OG Go-Pro is a pound of lopsided media. Tourists take pictures of me. The helmet is unstable. Did you know it takes more than 17 minutes to cross the bridge? The video I try to capture is so jerky I’m nauseated watching it on the preview screen.
Our goal: make it to Lagunitas by nightfall. We don’t. But along the way, we meet Alexi, lead singer of the Blind Willies, at Arizmendi in San Rafael. He’s driving to the Russian River. It’s not really on our way. In fact it’s over a large and steep hill and we get lost in a suburb. Google has a way of making everything look flat and mono-directional. We’re really sweaty and really late. When we finally make it, the pastries crumble and melt in our mouths, worth every second of detour.
Once you’ve climbed and descended four or five or seven hills in 90 degree heat, it’s all the same and time disintegrates around you and the aching in your thighs standardizes. So I can’t really tell you about the road between San Rafael and Petaluma except that the hills were a real pretty yellow, all dried out like the rest of the state in the midst of exceptional drought.
We’re exhausted by the time we get to Petaluma, but I don’t think we’ve every been so happy to bumble over cobblestone.
The brewery, we’re told, is three miles outside of town. (Maybe less, maybe my exhaustion drags it out). We emailed them earlier to see if we could camp at the brewery but they politely declined. We’ll be staying with our first Warm Showers (like Couchsurfing, for cyclists, yep the name is a little uncomfortable, but we are really excited about the promise of showers. First, beer.)
We get beer and sliders. We should be hungrier. The bar closes like twenty minutes after we arrive so we only have time for one beer and they won’t let Rachel order a stout float. We watch a couple dance tenderly, drunkenly under the strung-up (strung-out?) white lights. The tables empty out. Getting back on our bikes isn’t as bad as you’d think.
Our Warm Showers host, Steve and Bridget, welcome us in after we’ve called them three times because I wrote the house number down wrong. They’re remodeling. They apologize. They let us sleep in the master bedroom on a camp bed. (“You can camp outside, but you’ll have to share it with the chickens.”)
The shower they let us use is, in fact, very hot. We turn the water black. Steve and Bridget invite us to watch the rest of The Zero Theorem, a candy-colored dystopian film directed by Terry Gilliam about searching for the meaning of life (or rather, trying to prove there isn’t any). Christoph Waltz plays an anxious, uncomfortable programmer. He moves like an adolescent or a robot. The math is really bad. I hope that was on purpose.
We fall asleep immediately afterwards. Our dreams are weird.
To be continued…