Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ryan: Second Breakfast

In my last post, I walked you through the beginning of a "typical day." The post consisted mainly of falsehoods and gross hyperbole, but that is beside the point. Now that the trip is over (yes, we ran into Mexico today, and are currently on a train back to Santa Barbara), I have time to continue the story, with the same high standards of journalism. In this installment: second breakfast.

Second breakfast, as the name suggests, is typically our fifth or sixth meal of the day, following midnight snack, pre-dawn boost, second pre-dawn boost (optional), wake-up meal, and breakfast (covered in my last post). Yes, we eat a lot, and for good reason: we've both become bulemic. It's really the way to go for true food lovers. And second breakfast is a critical part of our daily meal plan. We now take it for granted to the same degree that we do midnight snack and pre-dawn boost. But what is second breakfast, really? It's hard to say, because second breakfast cannot be defined. Like birds. What are birds? Ding!

We typically stop for second breakfast at the first market that we encounter on the day's ride. This can be anything from zero to 15 miles down the road. Counties in which the first market is more than 15 miles down the road are cited and their courthouses peed upon (*echem* Mendocino). Counties with two citations (very rare, as the courthouse peeing typically gets the message across) receive a faintly audible verbal warning and two bad cases of malnourishment at the county hospital. Anyway this is a rare occurrence, and we usually obtain second breakfast without a hitch.

Depending on what is available at the market, which could be anywhere in size from Ron's Pickup-truck-on-the-side-of-the-road Market and Tchotchky to Safeway Deluxe, we eat anything from cinnamon shoe laces and Ron's special wood chips (don't spring for the footlong redwood carving of an eagle, even if Ron insists it was made by a real "engine"... as hungry as I was, it was too much food) to milk, orange juice, six donuts, pita chips, a whole live rabbit, and Safeway's special 86,000 Calorie muffin. You may find that last sentence hard to swallow (ha ha pun), hyperbole gone out of control, but I'm not joking: Safeway really does have a 7,645,001 Calorie muffin. It's quite incredible, and it really gets us from point A to point B without fail. Unfortunately, a typical day's ride goes all the way to point J, which is why lunches one through 140 (covered individually in future installments) are so important.

Before I wrap this up (again with the puns! Just kidding, there wasn't a pun there), I just want to thank all of the readers out there in readerville: thanks readers. Threaders.

That's second breakfast. An excellent tradition, though I'm not sure how to adapt it to normal life without requiring liposuction every other day. My next post, if I find the time, will describe a typical day on the road.

See you then!

Monday, July 23, 2007

San Clemente State Beach

We're almost done! It's only about 90 miles to the border, so we should be able to reach the border and then catch a train back to Santa Barbara on Wednesday.

Big Sur was awesome---we took it pretty slowly, but the hills weren't actually very steep, at least compared to the hills in northern California. On our second night in Big Sur, we stayed at Kirk Creek Campground, where we had an amazing campsite on the edge of a cliff right above the ocean. We had a great view of the sunset, and then we slept out under the stars, which were just awesome since it was so dark and clear out.

The next day, we randomly saw the King of Jordan---he and a some of his friends were apparently taking a tour of Big Sur on their Harleys, escorted by the CHP and a bunch of Secret Service agents. We were pretty confused when his motorcade passed us on the highway (and of course the police wouldn't tell us who it was), but the internet is really, really great (for... never mind), and we were able to piece it together after the fact.

Today started bizarrely, though. When we woke up (in Manhattan Beach) we found that it was raining! In July! We certainly didn't expect that... But the rain stopped before we left the house, so it wasn't a problem.

We stayed with our friend Daina last night, and she joined us for the first 27 miles of our ride today, until we reached her office. Unfortunately, that meant that we had to get up at 6:30, which is really early for us. (On a typical day, we probably wake up around 8:30 and then leave camp around 11.) It worked out pretty well, though, and once we reached the office, Ryan and I grabbed an early lunch (or second breakfast, depending on how you look at it) at the nearby In-N-Out. (Amazingly enough, this was the first In-N-Out that we had seen on the trip.)

We took the rest of the day pretty slowly, but we still reached camp around 5pm, which was great because it gave us plenty of time to go swimming. The ocean was quite warm today, so it was really comfortable, and the waves were even pretty good for bodysurfing. We spent a good hour or so in the water before cooking dinner. The only downside to this campground is that it's right next to the freeway (interstate 5), but it actually hasn't bothered me at all.

Total distance so far: 2098.6 miles

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Carmel, CA

Whew! We just did our first century of the trip today! We started up in Half Moon Bay, and the conditions for most of the first 50 miles of the ride were just perfect---small rolling hills, perfectly clear, with a tailwind. We reached Santa Cruz much faster than expected, so we just decided to keep going, and we biked the entire 112 miles to Carmel today.

Ryan's dad joined us for almost 20 miles of the ride today, including the last few miles, where we biked along some of the golf cart roads at Pebble Beach.

Tomorrow, we're going to start attacking Big Sur---we're going to take it pretty easy tomorrow, but hopefully we won't regret biking so much today!

Total distance so far: 1646.7 miles

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ryan: the day begins at dawn, and other tales

I'm sitting in a cypress tree, looking out at the ocean. Some old dudes just walked by speaking German, discussing, as far as I can tell, shit. Or maybe my German vocabulary is just too limited. Regardless, I can hear a fog horn blowing in the distance, and I'm not lying, two little brown rabbits just hopped by. It's nice, it's tranquil. It's blogging time.

This is Ryan, by the way, the oft mentioned but seldom heard from member of the cycling duo. I've been trying to coax Ben into writing an action-packed I-hope-you-brought-your-Depends-,-grandma-,-because-this-is-so-damn-exciting-you-are-going-to-wet-yourself blog post, but alas, he has not been obliging. Have no fear, faithful and likely bored-by-the-slow-pace-of-this-page audience of Ben's. (Tired of hyphens? In German that whole sentence would have been one long word.) I am here to add some pizzaz, to tell, nay, show you what it is like on the inside.

A typical day on the road begins either at dawn or, if we have slept outside the tent and a dense fog rolls in and starts misting on our faces at 2:11AM, 2:13AM. At this time, we either notice that we are wet and promptly (and in retrospect, ill-advisedly) fall back asleep or notice that our fellow bicycle campers have already left the campsite to cycle in "daylight," an enigmatic substance of which they speak very highly and we see very little, and promptly fall back asleep. We wake a second time at around noon, and then a final time at approximately 11PM, at which time another set of campers has moved in and gone to sleep. Ben and I emerge for beakfast and light my jet engine powered stove, the sound from which causes several of our fellow campers to lose control of their bowels and a symphony of car alarms to fill the campground. Breakfast consists of outmeal: delicious, healthy, full carbs, just add water. The water, unfortunately, takes roughly six days to boil, as Ben has decided to boil 14,000 gallons of water, even though we only need two cups. Ben doesn't quite have an eye for these things yet.

After beakfast, we clean up camp, by which I mean Ben is somehow magically ready to go instantly, while I spend a year collecting my things from all corners of this and the three previous night's campsites. Once all is collected and mounted on the bike, we get on our bikes to depart. But we don't depart just yet, because we are clatsops*, and we forgot to fill our water bottles/my camelbak. Ok, let's go... wait. I have to pee. Ahhhhhhhh. Ok, let's... wait. Sunscreen/jacket. Finally, we depart.

Ten minutes later we stop for our second meal of the day, which we affectionately (but not too affectionately) call: "second beakfast."

More on that in my next post: "The 10,000 Calorie muffin, or, How I learned to stop worrying and mmmmphmmmmchomp."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Berkeley, CA

We're in Berkeley now, and we should be leaving for Half Moon Bay tomorrow. No time to write more at the moment, but I did put together a simple map to show where we are at different points in time. You can also find the link on the right-hand side.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Elk Prairie Campground (near Orick, CA)

Whoo! After 20 days on the road, we're now halfway done with our trip! We're currently aiming to reach Berkeley in a week, on July 11, and then it's just 11 days of cycling to reach the Mexican border.

We crossed into California today, and the ride turned out to be fantastic. The Oregon coast is quite beautiful, with its dramatic cliffs and rocks jutting up out of the sea---but the northern California coast has those, too, and it also has redwoods!

We had to climb a couple of 1000-foot hills today, but they were up into the redwoods, which made them completely worthwhile. The second climb was especially rewarding, since we climbed steeply for about 3 miles, then spent the next 6 or 7 miles cruising slowly downhill through countless redwood groves, with almost no traffic to distract us.

One thing that I noticed when we crossed the border today was the ice plant---I don't know if Oregon tries to eradicate it, but we didn't see any along the coast up there. As soon as we got to the coastline in California, though, there it was again! It doesn't seem to have taken over completely up here yet---there's still a lot of grass along the coast, unlike in southern California.

Total distance so far: 1104.7 miles