Friday, September 14, 2012

Ride the West - Day 13, Petaluma California to San Francisco California

Today was the highlight day, the day most people look forward to, including me. This was the day that we would cycle into San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge. How we were to navigate through the massive amount of traffic was a complete mystery to us, however armed with our 4 pages (yes, count them – 4) of instructions, we managed to get to the hotel.

The day started out a bit on the cool side, so we all kept our jackets, and we would be happy later on when we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge that we did. The sights leaving Petaluma were not too exciting, although we did have a cheese factory along the way. It was a small one, but we looked inside anyways. A few samples were taken of pretty good cheese.

We left the factory and continued with the climbs and descents along the way. There were plenty of short climbs, some steep and some gradual. Along the way, we passed by a golf course nestled in a valley, from the bird's eye view that we had.

Golf course nestled in the valley

We made our way to a bike path that traveled within the marshes that approach the city. The route was bumpy, but I still managed to take some video.

The wetlands near the bridge

We passed through many towns and cities, all running into the adjacent one. After a long climb up Chapman Ave, Leo and I had to wait for the rest of the group. Several minutes went by, as we later determined that they got lost. While we were waiting, Leo tried his bike on a mountain bike path, heading down and then back up. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. He did make it okay, but I'd never take “The Mistress” on such a trek.

Leo trying out a mountain bike path

We all stopped for a lunch in Sausalito and ate by the park at the waterside.


After leaving lunch, we had a few more miles on winding roads and we were suddenly in view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an impressive sight, and we would shortly be taken in a back way, that allowed for some special views that most people never get to see.

Taking the back way to the bridge
As we approached the bridge, Leo and I made a wrong turn and ended up climbing a very long and relatively steep road that took us up into the hills on the northwest side of the area. We figured that we missed a turn and headed back. The road we should have taken was found and it took us the back way up to the parking area on the north side of the bridge.

Once we got to the parking area, we had to cross the bridge to get to the east side, for the best views. Normally, this would be very difficult, however there was a walkway, which most people don't know about, that actually took us under the bridge. The trucks and cars could be heard right above our heads as we traversed the lanes of the bridge, from the underside. It was quite novel.

The view from under the bridge

Leo and I looked at the bridge and San Francisco from the Sausalito side and then started our journey to get across the bridge. He went on ahead to try to cycle the walkway, where many people were either walking or riding other bikes. I elected to walk the 2 miles across the bridge, so I could get many pictures and video.

Golden Gate Bridge from the Sausalito side

After entering the San Francisco side, I rode along Marina Blvd, which was very picturesque and ran along the north shoreline. There are bike paths everywhere in San Francisco, so it was fairly easy to make my way through the traffic to the hotel. I was one of the last to arrive today, but it was very enjoyable.

View along Marina Blvd

For dinner, we all went down to Ghirardelli Square and ate at a 50's style restaurant.

Dinner at Lori's Diner

After dinner, many of us couldn't resist the temptation to have an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli's. I had a decadent dark chocolate one, that probably equaled the number of calories I burnt on the entire ride today.


Baltimore Mark, Joe and I then headed down to Fisherman's Wharf to take in some evening sights. It was the usual display at this location, but I'm sure they enjoyed it. Aila and I had been here just two weeks ago, enjoying the same sights.

Made it to the Wharf

Tomorrow is a rest day, so there won't be a blog entry.

Here are the statistics so far:
Riding days: 12
Miles ridden: 833
Feet climbed: 46,199
Calories burned: 49,226

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

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