From Los Angeles to San Francisco

Michael's uncle gave him an old car. But, the said car is in a car storage near San Francisco. "You could bike there and bring it back", Michael tells me. Good idea, let's do it ! 400-450 miles, it's going to take me the weekend to get there... I get some maps, pack sleeping bag and sleeping pad, and off I go.

The plan was to get to the coast, then ride on the Pacific coast highway until Santa Barbara, take highway 154 to Santa Maria, then Highway 25 from Paso Robles to San Jose. And try to start early to avoid the wind. Well, easily said, but roads are built for cars, not for bikes, and it's not always easy to find a route that avoids the freeway. I got lost several times, asked my way at midnight to mexican people who were smoking strange stuff, got kicked out of the freeway by the police. I drank gallons of water, bottles and bottles of chocolate milk, chai tea and starbucks coffee cans. I got cold, sick, sunburnt and heat exhaustion... finally, when I was tired and depressed in the middle of nowhere, I found a ride with Ben who was going back home from a hunting week-end. Which left me some time for a lazy afternoon on the pier in San Francisco. Ride stats: 300 miles, with 12,500ft elevation gain.

The stuff I pack (I used almost all of it !)
Ready to go
In front of the house
I reach Hollywood
30 miles, I'm on the coast.
First stop at Mc Donald
Entering Ventura county
Chihiro would surely enjoy this !
Caffein pills, tylenol and ibuprofen.
I throw away the map of LA county
Healthy friday evening diet.
Santa Barbara's State street by night (2am)
time for pasta salad with tuna
I slept a few hours on the side of highway 154.
On my way to Cachuma pass.
Above the cloud layer
Only 2500ft, but it was hard !
The Santa Ynez valley
View on lake Cachuma
Solvang ? Not today.
Wine country here.
I meet a 90y old cyclist in Los Olivos...
... who gave me this.
The grocery store has a decent cheese selection
I can get rid of the Ventura county map
Firestone, a big wine producer.
Reaching Santa Maria...
wine, wine, wine
A big bbq ! Smells seriously good
I'm done with Santa Barbara county map
No, the ambulance is not coming for me
On the beach, close to San Luis Obispo
Prosciutto sandwich in San Luis Obispo
The sign I like the most on climbs
Only 1500ft, but it killed me after 220 miles
After getting lost, I arrive in Paso Robles
My sleeping setup on Indian Valley road
I'm away from light pollution...
... the night is very clear, I try a few shots
A tree on the side of the road
Damn, I seem to be lost again
No way this steep road is Indian Valley
aarghhh, my map is not precise enough...
Let's wait for the next car and ask.
Ben offers me a lift to the missed intersection.
Actually, I won't need the Monterey bay map...
... he's precisely going to Oakland !!
I was tired and late so I went with him.
Now I have time to spare, let's go to SF
Downtown Oakland
Oakland bridge from San Francisco
Classic views from the sea front
A guy with stolen bike parts
It's sunny and hot, everybody's outside
At the Boudin bakery...
... I buy, of course, clam chowder.
and eat it in front of Alcatraz
More biking ? No thanks, I've had enough
I take Jones st. to go to Chinatown.
I don't manage to stay on the bike all the way up
Going down the other side is scary as well
Crossing Nob Hill
The rim was killed by a grid on the freeway.
Back in Oakland, here is the dinner !
West Oakland is not a safe neighborhood
Difficult to find the "car storage" place
Hopefully I won't get killed...
... while I take pictures.
Back to Pasadena at 4am, I'm hungry.
The car I brought back, an old Nissan Maxima
Weekend mileage: 300 miles.