Sausalito to Half Moon Bay

San Francisco Travel Blog

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My chariot awaits...
Even on a grey, foggy day - or in the case of San Francisco, ESPECIALLY on a grey, foggy day - starting a journey at one end of the Golden Gate Bridge is pretty iconic. From my motel down to the waterfront was a simple gravity-assisted freewheel, dodging the commuter traffic and childishly excited about cycling the mean streets of San Francisco, before a pleasant arc took me past Fisherman's Wharf, through the Ferry Building and onto the boat to Sausalito. A spare day to explore this gorgeous looking upscale community would have been great, but I was on the clock, so kicked up the steep but mercifully short hill out of town to the North end of the bridge.
Bayside sculpture


Odometer on the cycle computer set to zero miles, big smile on my face as I watched the rust-red towers disappear above me into the fog, it was time to officially start spinning the pedals. Within an hour, I started to pick up on the Californian hospitality and friendliness which would be a theme of my trip - passing through yet another upscale suburb, a roofing contractor called down from his work, asking where I was headed; stopping to check my map, a passer-by paused to make sure I wasn't lost (I wasn't, yet) - lovely little vignettes of being made very, very welcome on the West Coast.

After a long drag up a hill and through the Daly City lo-rise 'burbs, I paused at a deli for a late lunch served by a very friendly Mexican guy. A Newcastle United fan, he happily chatted football as he assembled a massive foot-long pastrami on rye to go, of which I managed just a third sitting outside on the sidewalk - Americans must be sooo disappointed when they buy a sandwich in the UK.
Grey day
..

The stretch of road South of Pacifica had been preying on my mind for the past few days. Known as Devil's Slide, the road clings to the hillside, with occasional landslips cutting off the main route South along the coast for months at a time. Unlike most of Highway One, it has no shoulder, and a lot of traffic - the perfect storm for a touring cyclist. Reading cycling blogs online, I'd seen some terrible stories of how cyclists were treated in some parts of the US, but here some VERY patient drivers waited to overtake me one by one - whoever you are, thank you. I finished the climb mentally more than physically exhausted, knocked off a quick selfie so I remembered the true misery of the moment, then looked South along the coast.

The reward should have been my first big Pacific Vista, but thick fog was still happily shrouding the entire coastline.
Gray bridge
A shame, but Devil's Slide behind me so that was the big deal. Ahead lay 15 or so miles of strip communities and coastal bluffs, bad weather but perfect waves, watching kids in identikit Toyota pickups gravitate towards beachside car parks and cold surf.

Finally, right on schedule, I pulled into the California State Parks campsite at Half Moon Bay to check in with the improbably cheerful and impossibly beautiful park ranger (are there any ugly people in California?). Though I'd cycled a mere 35 miles, I was exhausted - a combination of the stress of Devil's Slide and because I now knew I was carrying far, far too much kit. Still, at least the journey has started successfully.

The State Parks run what they call 'hiker/biker' areas - if you can get there under your own steam, you won't be turned away and, rather than the $25+ you'll shell out for an RV space, a bed for the night (well, a patch of dirt anyway), goes for a cool $2.

Joining me at the campsite that night was Sebastien - on his way from Alaska to Chile and Ray, an artistic wanderer riding an old racing bike with plastic drums strapped to it as panniers, a genuine free spirit I'd catch up with and be overtaken by several times on the road South.
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My chariot awaits...
My chariot awaits...
Bayside sculpture
Bayside sculpture
Grey day
Grey day
Gray bridge
Gray bridge
The start
The start
Leaving the Ferry Building
Leaving the Ferry Building
Name that Island...
Name that Island...
0 miles, North end of the Bridge. …
0 miles, North end of the Bridge.…
Misty
Misty
Top of Devils Slide - I feel as b…
Top of Devil's Slide - I feel as …