This was the day! Likely the highlight of my trip so far. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge! I wanted to get an early start so I got up at 5:30. It wasn't very light out, but that was okay because alot of what I have to do is pack up everything in my tent. At this point, I could do it blindfolded! I had everything done, said my goodbyes to Christian, Joan and Werner and was on the road by 6:55. It was my earliest departure so far. The first bunch of miles were pretty easy. Then I started going through the small towns before the bridge. It was not bad because I was on quiet side streets all the way through to Sausalito. At Sausalito the road I was supposed to take was closed so I had to go on the busier road. When I came around close to the bridge and the Marin Headlands, I wasn't sure which way to go because the map was not clear. When in doubt, it's always good to ask worker guys. They always know. Anyway, I was directed to the correct way to get to the bridge. I went under Hwy 1 and came out on the southbound side of the bridge. The southbound sidewalk was not open. There was a set of very steep stairs with a sign saying, "Bicyclists and pedestrian route". It went under the bridge and came out on the northbound side. I stood there for awhile thinking about how I was going to get Stella and all the gear down those stairs and back up the other side. I thought to myself, "There MUST be an easier way!". Then I saw some riders coming from the other direction on the bridge (on the northbound side). Strangely, THEY did not appear from under the bridge carrying their bikes up the stairs! So I watched for awhile and figured out that I had to go back under Hwy 1 and get on the walkway that would take me to the bridge. Yea, problem solved! When I got to where I could go across the bridge, I spent some photo-op time. I was setting up the tripod to take a picture of Stella and I when a man offered to take the picture for me. I gratefully accepted. I took more pictures of Alcatraz and the bridge then headed across. The wind was blowing pretty good and there were a ton of walkers and rent-a-bike riders also going across the bridge so it was slow going. I stopped several times to take more pictures. On the other side I visited the gift shop. I switched to the next map and figured out how I was supposed to get out of there without going on the Hwy. I made one tiny wrong turn, but corrected it and was on my way through San Francisco. The route skirted most of the busy roads which was nice. I went past tons of row houses, went up and down a number of hills and finally ended up back at the beach. I rode along the "Great Highway" (that was actually the name of the road). I realized ther was a bike path alongside so I hopped on that and rode until I was supposed to get on Hwy 35. When I got to 35, I couldn't figure out what to do. I was supposed to turn onto it, but the southbound side of the road was closed. I went into the beach parking lot thinking there must be a path or something. The parking lot dead ended. I turned around and came back to where I had gone in. Again, I saw a worker guy and asked him how I was supposed to go on this road when it was closed. He said it was closed to cars on account of part of the road falling into the ocean. But, a bicycle could get through. So I went around the barricades and had the biggest bike lane ever! I did have to shimmy around some more barricades, but all in all, it was great (if not a little weird). Once I was back on the regular Hwy 35 (the part that hasn't fallen into the sea), I started a long climb. About halfway up, I could see some hang gliders flying. When I got to Fort Funston, I could see that was where they were taking off. I rode over to watch (I was actually hoping to have a ride but they seemed to be all personal gliders). I saw some take off as well as land. It was very cool!
Back on the road, I finished the climb and then turned off the hwy to another side street bike route. I was working my way to Daly City by going up another long steep climb. Super granny was definately getting a workout! On the otherside I started to come down an equally steep hill when I, stupidly, turned onto what I thought was the right road (I saw my error later). This time, I asked a friendly postman how to get to the street I needed. My error caused me to have to go up another heart-pounding hill to get back to the one I was supposed to go down. By this time it was about 2:00 and I was pretty hungry. I had only had some chocolate milk, a muffin and a Clif bar since breakfast. I decided I would stop at the next fast food place I came to. Just them I came over a hill and there was a McDonalds. I gave a little cheer and pulled into the parking lot. But wait! There across the street was a Subway! I wheeled over there and had a delicious sandwich! I thought from there (Daly City) I only had about 8-10 more miles. Actually, it was more like 15. And another long climb to boot! Anyway, made it up that and down the other side. At Miramar, I found another bike path that led me straight to Half Moon Bay where I am camping tonight! All together, I went on four different bike paths today. Only one was actually on my map.
It was not too bad milewise today, but some of it was knid of nerve-wracking (strangely, not cars--just trying to work my way through the city).
The wind is really blowing here. For the first time I have actually staked down my tent (not just the fly). Turns out they do have hot showers here (book said only cold outdoor showers). It felt good!