Another dry day, after a night of racoon infiltrations and intra-racoon fights, two of them stealing a yogurt from John’s backpack that he left on the table thinking everything was out. He got up and shooed them away but his yogurt was gone. We all had restless nights with all the racooning going on. To assuage his yogurt craving and mine for coffee, we rode out together to the Sea Ranch Lodge and John had an Avacado Toast which was quite good looking: two large slices of toast, each with a half an avacado on it. “That will get you through the afternoon for sure,” I said.

John left before me as I knew he would be setting a pace I couldn’t keep. It was a 47 mile day with 3500 feet of climbing and the CA 1 lived up to it’s wind-y and up and down rep. There were some serpentine sections that were long to get up, but fast and fun going down – especially since I now have working brakes!

Tomorrow I’m leaving the group to do a one day push to San Francisco. Aaron is going there to visit friends and we’ll be staying in the SF area. I was on the fence about going ahead, but both Luke and John said they’d be going on if they had that chance: a bed, a working shower that doesn’t need tokens and no wet tent to pack up. However, I’m going to ride back out to the Golden Gate on Sunday and meet them for the group ride and photo op on the bridge. After that, Luke, John, and Harald are continuing on to Half Moon Bay. Hendrika will be staying with her daughter in San Fran, taking a few rest days. I’ll be resting, too. The group is already connected on WhatsApp and we will be keeping track of each other’s progress on the tours and in life. It’s not unusual to connect with other cyclists on a tour, but this has been a very special connection indeed. I’ll miss the nightly reconnoiters and the “Safe Travels” every morning.

At the camp in Bodega Bay tonight, there was a large group of cyclists, all heading south. Some of them we’ve met before, but there were some new additions. Harry and Haley are Australians who are doing a tour of the US and Canada. They rubbed Harald the wrong way and he set up his camp as far away as possible. I wasn’t much of a fan because they were so loud and incessant talkers. He’d ask a question, but only to get an answer that would elicit a long, loud, opinionated story from him. Hendrika, Luke and I also set up in the same section as Harald. I wasn’t far enough away as I was trying to get to sleep early but the talkers went on and on just as loudly until they finally went to bed at 10:30.

The good part of them being there was that Haley had a guitar with her. A small one, and hard to play, but she and Luke jammed together with her playing blues riffs and Luke playing the harmonica. Luke had been aching for someone to jam with and he sounded great. She was a pretty good guitar player, too. Later in the evening Luke asked her if I could play and we did Dylan’s “Don’t think twice, it’s alright.” We picked the key to match the harmonica and I was straining to hit the notes on that one. I did much better on Bill Staine’s “Roseville Fair” and “River” and John Prine’s “Paradise” and Luke’s harmonica playing fit perfectly. I did notice that I forgot the lyrics and chords of so many songs I’ve played since I was young. Hmmm. Need some reinforcement time I guess. Hoping that Luke comes to visit PA someday and we can have a proper jam. (and I can have cheat sheets!)

A second couple was also in the campground. They were from England near Lukes home in the Lake District. The woman had worked at the same company as Luke. Half a world away and they end up in the same campground. The fortuity of the universe!

Tomorrow — San Francisco!