41.4 mi / 10.5 mph / 270 ft. climbing
Home: Sequoia Inn
Sometimes mornings just suck. Nothing to do with Jayaram, Aparna, and Dharma, who were just as gracious as always seeing us on our way in the morning, similar to how they left the same front door for their epic adventure 20 months ago (maybe we’ll also return to their door in 10 months time like they did? ?)
For Rett, it began with the missing underwear. It’s always a bit of chaos packing everything up, though because we were in someone else’s space (rather than our own motel room) we’d done a decent job of keeping our standard “pannier explosion” under control. So that just deepened the mystery and frustration of how a pair of underwear, in her hand as one of the last things to be packed, disappeared. With everything else packed up, we checked the room several times, I checked my own panniers, Rett made sure she’d actually changed into her bike shorts and not just imagined it. Nothing. Oh well, best guess was that we’d find them somewhere days later, or never at all, so we started riding, still frustrated by the inexplicable loss.
Next, a mile down the road on super-busy morning-commute + school-dropoff streets in Alameda, a bump flings her phone off her handlebar mount, clattering onto the asphalt, settling directly in the path of a monster pickup’s right front tire bearing down on it with a mean-looking driver at the wheel.
Last (we hoped), while pulling onto a sidewalk for a break before another busy-road section, an unexpected gap caught her wheel and wrenched her whole bike 90-degrees back to the curb, with her right pedal gashing the back of her calf.
Definitely a no-fun morning.
But. The underwear was found, at a mid-morning toilet break, jammed between her pants and her bike shorts, secretly and hilariously (to me, at least!) stowing away for a free ride the whole way.
The tough-guy F-350 driver heading straight for her phone stopped completely, maybe due to my frantic waving, but really I think because he was paying enough attention to see the phone himself. He gave me plenty of time and space to turn back and collect it, blocking other traffic behind him, and was very good-natured about the brief delay. And the phone was otherwise unscathed.
And the near-crash on the sidewalk was avoided with some excellent non-ingrained bike-handling skills (and remembering to brake), and while the leg-gash was still a gash, it was at least on opportunity to use the first-aid kit we’ve been carrying, and we got things cleaned and patched in a hurry.
So, already by the afternoon, we both could look back and, if not quite laugh, at least have the bad stuff diminished in memory, and the good stuff on the flip-side continuing to resonate. Which seems to be the pattern frequently: the bad stuff shrinks with time, and the good stuff expands to fill the gaps.
Other good stuff we remember is the flattest ride we’ve had so far. And 6-lane no-bike-lane Hesperian Blvd., whose outer lane ended up letting us ride more safely than in most bike lanes. And the separate bike path getting us across the southernmost of the Bay bridges, the Dumbarton.
Wait, no, that was still dumb(arton). We had to ride at least a mile past the car entrance to the bridge to get to the bike path, along a terrible road surface, then climb straight into the oncoming-traffic-caused headwind, then, get off our bikes at the top to barely squeeze them past the maintenance golf cart blocking the path, and finally push hard into the continuing headwind to get back down. Did I mention it was dumb?
But at least it dropped us into Menlo Park right at Facebook, my old employer. Er, apparently in the time it took for us to get from their Redmond office to their headquarters, they’ve changed their name to “Meta”. Still worth getting a picture with the bike in front of the sign though, which I never got around to doing as an employee!
Our arrival gave a few of my ex-colleagues an excuse to see even each other in person for the first time in forever, all coming to meet near the old office for lunch. It was good to see them, and hear that I haven’t missed too much in my time away
Then it was a run to REI, Trader Joe’s, and a stay at one of the 60s-era motels on El Camino Real that’d I’d always found attractively incongruous in my visits to Silicon Valley.