August 8th – Two Bays, One Day

We woke up around 7am as construction equipment made its way down the road next to our camp. I pulled on my jacket and pants, and stepped out of the tent to see the fog had really settled in overnight. I couldn’t even see the ocean 100 feet away. It was quite chilly out, but at least we’d gone the night without getting bothered for pitching a tent on the side of the road. We figured it best to just pack up camp quickly and leave, rather than sticking around to fix breakfast. It was just the shoulder of a highway after all. We did still make time for a morning bowl, though.

As we whipped back and forth through the serpentine path of highway 1, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed that I couldn’t even see the ocean through the fog. When the road would hug the base of a cliff wall, though, we would get to ride underneath a canopy of fog. The fog rolled off the sea, and was swept up the cliff to continue rolling out over the land, but this left a small gap underneath the fog where it was still clear. A remarkably vivid illustration of fluid dynamics.

The area we rode through this day is known as Big Sur, and it is absolutely stunning. Redwoods and other large conifers colonize the land right out to the cliff edges, and the Pacific Coast Highway weaves through it all. This is absolutely some of the most beautiful coastline you’ll find, and it’s highly worth a visit. I’m kind of sad that we didn’t get to stay and explore it more, but I was really set on making it to San Francisco that evening.

We stopped at a Denny’s for breakfast in Monterrey, and I was reminded why I never eat at Denny’s. What a strange establishment of very mediocre food that isn’t nearly as cheap as it seems like it will be. After breakfast, we headed to the legendary Monterrey Bay Aquarium to spend several hours learning about the bay’s native flora and fauna. They had otters, and a viewing platform for leopard seals. Still, I think watching the octopus ooze around it’s tank might have been the most interesting part. It’s a beautiful aquarium with huge display tanks modeled after local ecosystems. Definitely go here if you get the chance.

From Monterrey, we had two options for progressing to San Francisco. We could continue to ride along the coast, or take a more inland road. The coast was much colder, and too foggy to see the water anyways, so we opted for the inland road. Another couple hours, and we were entering San Francisco city limits. I had looked up an RV park in the city, and we headed there first. We arrived to discover that the RV park was actually just a parking lot, and their tent sites occupied the thin grassy medians throughout the parking lot. Additionally, they wanted $50 for this 10 square feet of grass. As if all this wasn’t bad enough, the guy at the front desk was a complete asshole, and we were chased off by security when I pulled out my iPhone to call some motels. It was the worst I’ve ever been treated at a hospitality establishment.

We ended up at a Motel 6 in South San Francisco near the airport. It was only about $10 more than the piece of shit RV park, so overall not a bad deal. We dropped our stuff in the room, grabbed a burger at the nearby Wendy’s, and then rode into downtown San Francisco to meet up with Russell at his hotel room. Russell had been working on coordinating the new SXSW Eco conference, and would be flying back to Austin the next afternoon. However, he would be moving the bay area more permanently before I returned from this trip. He’s one of my closest friends, and I was going to miss him.

We opened some beers he’d picked up when we got up to his room, and sat by the floor to ceiling window, drinking the brews and looking out over the city. San Francisco is probably my favorite big city, and it has quite a nice skyline. Gianna passed out about half an hour after we arrived, but Russell and I stayed up for a few hours talking. Sometime around 1 or 2, I decided it was time to wake Gianna and head back to our hotel. We smoked the last our weed and fell asleep. We’d have to pick up a bit more in Golden Gate Park the next day.

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