Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco very quiet as usual. Normally because everybody takes the long weekend for trips out of town, and that might be the case again now that most parks reopened, though many parking areas are still closed. More quiet because most events of course COVID-cancelled and the city in COVID coma. Very few people came to our distribution of free organic vegetables farmed in volunteer urban farms in the city (FreeFarmStand.org). Not even the embarrassingly huge population of homeless people camping on our city streets and sidewalks, over 10'000. The city promised to rent 7'000 COVID-empty hotel rooms to house them during this crisis, but less than 1000 rooms have been rented so far ...
So I took some leftovers for a little bike tour. The fact that it spontaneously led to the airport could be interpreted as a subconscious wish to travel again, though actually I'm quite happy to take a long break from all the traveling. Interesting how deep you can bike into the airport from the backside along the bay. Then explored some wrinkles of the Bay Trail north of the airport, proudly presented as a "7.9 mile contiguous segment".
Talking about embarrassing: Regular followers might remember my disappointment with the slow progress of the Bay Trail. Still, only 290 miles of the 500 planned miles of the Bay Trail are finished, and it's embarrassing that this effort became official with a state senate resolution in 1985, with earlier local efforts even dating back even longer. Must be frustrating for all these people in that department that started their jobs with that small 500 mile goal and be retired before even 60% is completed, of course many people seem to be enjoying good salaries and benefits so might not be too much in a hurry ...
Given the heat wave (the radio forecasts all of this week will be 'a scorcher') it was pleasant to stay along the bay where the temperatures stayed in the 70s, while inlands it went over 100°F.
about an hour ago
The first tourists are back, only half wearing the mandatory face cover, so better to do some physical distancing and bike a nature loop.
Going in circles (like the cycle of mismanaged pandemics) being the operative word for the top three photos of the day ...
5 days ago
Maybe the best 10 mile urban nature loop anywhere (bias disclaimer ;-), about 50% gravel: strange that Komoot lists 30% as unknown — if we don't know the surface in this city with thousands of OSM contributers, including the people running OSM.org — what does that say for remote rural trails ... 🤔
But with these sights and weather it's hard not to keep stopping and taking too many photos even after years doing variations on this loop ...
May 16, 2020
Ride to Corona Heights, Corona being the theme of this spring ..., via 7 other peaks of the hills of San Francisco. Thanks to Corona, Twin peaks and Golden Gate Park are among the car free zones that are fun to own now on a bike.
Revisited the AIDS Memorial Grove: 40 years later still no vaccine for this virus. But at least we already always had a park named for Corona...
Note the OhloneLand graffiti, the original inhabitants of the Bay area: we killed them with viruses. Last year we had native American history months, this year the virus might jog everybody's memory ... Thinking of Corona and High (voices): Here something against your indoors blues. 3.5 million views meanwhile ...
May 7, 2020
Micro-loop after Corona foodbank volunteering. The weather is so amazing and you have all the touristy sites for yourself. The Cruiseship Dock was fenced off (one of our frequent cruisehips was involved in the Corona Virus disaster), but their free WiFi worked over surprising distances, so hung out and chatted with friends online around the world until the phone battery was empty, so I had to edit the track and add the last mile to the gpx file when I got home ...Interesting to see a Zurich Strassenbahn car reminding us that Zurich is a sister city of San Francisco. I had to look up the others: San Francisco's sister cities include Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; Amman, Jordan; Assisi, Italy; Bangalore, India; Barcelona, Spain; Cork, Ireland; Haifa, Israel; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Kiel, Germany; Krakow, Poland; Manila, Philippines; Osaka, Japan; Paris, France; Seoul, Korea; Shanghai, China; Sydney, Australia; Taipei, Taiwan; Thessaloniki, Greece; and Zürich, Switzerland. The distance signs are posted nearby at Hallidie Plaza (Powell/Market) oewd.org/san-francisco-sister-cities
May 1, 2020
A warm but only partly sunny day to return to SF along the 101 corridor. For the first time I passed Olompali State Historic Park during normal opening hours, but unfortunately it was completely closed, so I'll have to come back after the Corona crisis. Most sections south of there I already rode in the dark a couple of months ago and it's essentially a fast bike-highway, so after waking up under the San Antonio bridge I spent the morning exploring some off-pavement gravel trails in the open-space preserves along the Bay. The Rush Creek preserve north of Novato turned out to be a real gem, with long well maintained trails without much elevation change and great wildlife-viewing opportunities, and linking up with other Audubon-protected preserves and Day Island. Unfortunately the trails don't connect into the Bel Marin Keys, so one has to return through Novato downtown to continue south. There's definitively room to improve for the Bay Trail, which is a fragmented plan to create a 500 mile loop around the SF Bay since 1980, but apparently without much progress here in this area for decades.
I managed to reach the familiar trails through San Rafael and Mill Valley before dark, and to see the SF skyline in the after-sunset glow before crossing the Golden Gate bridge.
April 28, 2020
After emerging from the deep foggy redwood forest communities of Monte Rio it was great to warm up in the sun on the hill in Occidental. Fascinating to learn more about the Northern Pacific Railway whose track I've mostly been following, except that unfortunately the land was sold after it closed in the 40s and except for Sam Taylor State Park no rail-to-trail right of way was preserved. Lost opportunities. A few hours later at Bay level in Petaluma the clouds were back, so I did more urban culture exploration than landscapes. With campgrounds closed for the evening I tried to explore and reach Neil island in the SF Bay wetlands, which was however closed off by a private farm, so I ended up camping next to a nice river but still protected from precipitation: under a bridge ;-)
April 27, 2020
Pure beach day, just explored, swam, saw many of the locations of Alfred Hitchcock's "Birds" movie around Bodega Bay, checked out all the closed beaches along Sonoma Coast State Park, essentially another beach every mile for 20 miles on the coastal highway. Sonoma County was way more serious about closing everything than Marin or Santa Clara county, which only closed parking lots. In Sonoma, it is illegal to even step 1 yard into a closed area, a policeman actually stopped and chatted with me for an hour when he saw me taking a photo on the other side of the roadside "closed" sign. Well, he mostly shared how dangerous his job is, even more now, which is true, don't want to be in his shoes, nor his face mask (which he didn't put on either ...).
As I had all this extra food I cooked three times and traveled a day further up the coast than originally planned, but finally turned east at the Russian River. As all campgrounds were not only closed but camera controlled I finally camped along the river behind the forest community park of the still rather hippie forest dwelling 'town' of Monte Rio.
April 27, 2020
Beautiful day along the Marin/Sonoma county coast. All the free organic food I received yesterday was delicious but so heavy that I ate three huge hot meals to reduce the weight, which made this a much shorter day than expected, given the crazy coastal hills to get to the remote Dillon Beach that I had never explored before, and out north to the Sonoma Coast. I could have left the bags at the (very cool) Elephant Rock before shooting down the steep canyon to the beach, as it was quite a slog to bring all that weight back up again. But hey, the legs needed exercise after a lazy week at home, and I still managed to reach the (again closed) beach campground on Bodega Bay. Luckily I camped at the day use wind shelters, as I noticed the next morning that a host was guarding the actual campground and would have probably kicked me out ... Luckily I had spent too much time enjoying the sunset and it got very dark, so I took the first protected opportunity to sleep and didn't roll further into the park at night ...
April 27, 2020
After enjoying the sunset last night it got extremely windy and cold, with the only wind protection on this rocky lighthouse cliff offered by the restrooms on the lawn behind the trailhead parking, which also provided protection from views in case tourists or park rangers would come here in the morning. The road was closed, so I was surprised to be woken up at 6:30am by a car and the shutter sound of a Nikon SLR camera. After packing up and getting ready to roll I noticed it luckily was not a park ranger, but a field biologist looking for nesting birds before giving the go-ahead for a road repavement project to start next week. He was sweet and didn't disturb or complain. Which encouraged me to explore the also-closed road to the life-boat station with the elephant seal colony, which was closed to visitors for protection of breeding seal moms and babies until end of March. So cool to be perhaps the first to see these cute 'babies' that already weigh a ton after a couple of months ...
In fact, apart from the ranchers that must live with these organic free-roaming cattle the only other humans I met on the entire 100 km long Point Reyes peninsula were two local surfers who sneaked into the closed South Beach for the extremely dangerous but exciting waves. Not recommended for amateurs like your's truly, but beautiful to behold.
The free food at San Geronimo had been just enough for one day, so I was lucky to find the overflowing excess pantry in Point Reyes Station; perhaps a little too lucky, as they gave me so much fresh and delicious food that I'm still eating of it two weeks later, but it added 20 pounds to my previously so wonderfully light bike bags ... I still managed to reach a (again closed) park on Tomales Bay for stealth beach camping ...
April 26, 2020
Inviting male or female biking buddies to join the continuation of the bike odyssey: heading for South America sometime in 2021.
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