The last five days have been a whirlwind of visiting friends and exploring the Bay Area. A shift from the empty Northern California coast, and I was surprised by our reaction to the frenetic energy of the big city. I always am, but seem to forget! Portland doesn’t have that giant city feel that San Francisco, New York, and L.A. have, and I feel like a small-town Idaho kid wandering around gaping at horseless carriages!
One thing I noticed was that my focus to write was gone. Not sure why, but a few days in the city and the words just jumbled together. I have a few rough drafts sitting unfinished with threads leading everywhere, yet the ideas not quite coalescing into anything I feel good about publishing. Soon…
So for now, here’s a few snapshots from this week. Frenetic energy or not, it has been a fantastic time! Here are a few highlights:
- Enroute from the coast, a trip to Wild Flour bakery near Bodega Bay. Best. Cinnamon. Rolls. EVER. We grab four giant rolls, plus some scones, to share with buddies in the Bay Area. Nom nom nom nom nom.
- Meeting Dave O, aka Graphite Dave, of Sprinter-Source.com fame. When we first got our van, an accessories company said, “Read his stuff. All of it.” So we did. This guy knows everything about vans and has written an amazing amount of helpful information. He’s our Sprinter Hero. And a super nice guy in person too. Oh, and his van is badass.
- Feeling cooped up in Oakland. Best way to fix that: a run! Charging past graffiti in the park, up rip-your-lungs-out steep hills into a neighborhood where private security details eye me like I’m wearing an orange jumpsuit. Views of the Bay Area stretch out in the distance and I instantly feel better. I love running in cities that I visit – such a fun way to explore.
- Seeing old friends! Staying with friends Megan and Chris in their rad new home and hearing all about their adventures. Catching up with my friend Brian and checking out his awesome company, Makani Power, which makes big flying kites that operate as wind turbines with a lease tethered to the ground. So cool seeing what brilliant engineers can come up with. Dinner with Ryan and Kelly with their cmon-can-babies-be-that-cute new daughter. So great to see y’all!
- Back on the road bike! Haven’t been riding much lately with the cold weather and twisty Highway 1 as the option, so it’s fun to get out. Head out from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge, dodging both tourists and glaring Lycra-clad locals, then heading up into the Marin headlands for a fantastic loop with a view of the bay and the city. It must be amazing to have that kind of riding straight from downtown SF!
- After a night walk in the picturesque Mill Valley looking out at the valley sparkling below, listening to cars roaring by on a not-so-quiet road alllll niiiiight looong. Still figuring out this “where to sleep” thing. Van life isn’t always easy!
- Mountain biking! Hooooray. A coastal mountain bike shred looking out over the bay in China Camp State Park. Chelsea sees 19 turkeys along the way, and I scare about 16 bouncing deer. And drop my backpack down a 100 foot incline and do a little “hiking.”
It was a great city visit. That said, we’re on this trip for access to nature, so we decided to head south to get back to it! Writing this from Santa Cruz, with access to redwood-shaded singletrack for biking. We’ll be here for over two weeks! Seeing some great friends down here and then it’s our holiday location with Chelsea’s family.
I’m hoping for more room to write and relax, plus add a few adjustments to the van. I’ll be adding some LED lights, a muffler for the spaceship-loud heater, and another sliding drawer in the back. And perhaps learning to surf!
Cheers from Central California,
P.S. I added an Instagram feed to the right sidebar. Check it out, or follow along @traipsingabout. I’ll add quick snap shots in there between posts.