Day 11

Dick & Kathy took me over to their friends’ house in Willow Creek the night before. We spent the evening mingling with new people, enjoying some great food and beautiful nature. And I learnt the new best game: throwing stones on the bank on the other side of the river (I failed). The morning come, there is still so much to talk about and do that we only leave at around noon. Chris and Mike (the hosts) sent me off with a $20 which, obviously, goes into my fundraiser. We also have the time to have some of the neighbours’ daughter’s soda after which off we go. Back by the Ocean, with the sky covered anew by fog, Dick takes time to sit down with me and help fine-tune my bicycle. Turns out that s

Day 10

After a good day of rest, I am excited to be hopping back in the saddle. The Avenue of the Giants that has been waiting for me is simply stunning: full of ancient, older-than-Christ giant sequoias (thanks Robert!), taller than the eye can see. The manager of the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree site allows me to go in for free (see, it never hurts to ask!). Like any self-respecting tourist, I ride through the said tree and stop for some Kodak time. The couple I solicit for this spontaneously offers me food and send me off with 19 dollars (people, STOP giving me money, lol!). The cash, obviously, goes into my fundraiser. Other than that, the road moves rather swiftly under my tires. Before I realise, I

Day 9

The Avenue of the Giants is calling! It’s the world famous scenic ride with an outstanding display of huge Christ-old trees. I am a little bit tired but the thought of cycling through it imparts me with renewed energy. I get my caffeine from a lovely local coffee shop and with that in my blood, I am ready to go. I enter the Avenue in just some 30 minutes and see the road sign which reads: “bike can use FULL line.” Yeah, bicycle playground, here we come! I stop at the first shop in sight for some water refill and food. Before I get to ask the question a lady who followed me inside inquires with a smile on her face about my whereabouts. I start explaining but before I get to the core, I can al

Day 8

I wake up to the sound of a car at 6.00 am. Is this the patrolling the “Members Only” signs warned about? Am I going to get arrested now? I freeze and stop breathing. The car stops. Oh my god, THEY ARE COMING FOR ME!!! The vehicle starts again and leaves. Phew! They must have decided I was not worth the bother. Good for me! Off I go into the morning forest. And it’s uphill all the time and without a break. For 15 kilometres. My gears are not up to the challenge so I spend the four hours pushing my bike at a snail’s pace. After the 13th kilometre I start to get tired of this and, namely, my back is complaining. I have been warned though that these are one of the most challenging roads in the

Day 7

Robert, my lovely CouchSurfing host who fixed me up with some dinner, amazing wine and great conversation the previous night, has prepared some ass-kicking frittata for breakfast. Let me tell you, Robert is a serious serial cook – it’s the best breakfast I have ever had!!! On my way out, slow as I am, I meet another CouchSurfer coming in, for Robert doing some good in the lives of random travellers. Did I mention that he also gave me, as a farewell gift, a bike helmet and a headband, for I had lost mine the day before? THANK YOU! Before leaving the town, I hit a store and get some magnificent organic produce to go. Half of which I actually end up giving to a nearby homeless person, for I sim

Day 6

I get woken up by Judy, who’s enthusiastically getting some coffee ready for the two of us. I love her coffee zeal. Before she leaves for work she saves my cold unprepared ass by providing me with a comforter and two warm shirts for the road: yes, I have not prepared my gear well enough. I’m ready to go but my rear wheel needs mending. I have been putting it off for days as bike maintenance stresses me out but I finally get down to it and, surprisingly, I get the thing fixed without anyone’s help (thank you Bike Kitchen for the field training!). The road is less challenging today. Have I already gotten stronger or has the land gotten flatter? Probably the latter, combined with some good rest

Rest days

Judy and her family let me stay at their beautiful family farm for two days, so I take the opportunity to rest, sleep, chill out, write the blog, eat and hang out with the happy crew. There is also a couple of Colombian cycling brothers staying at the same time so it’s a full house. And since it’s my rest days, I am taking a leave from writing.

Day 5

After a good night’s rest thanks to Becky and Mark who had not only fed me but had also given me an extension cord for my breathing machine for the night, I am really sad to be leaving. This couple has been so wonderful to me and they truly are a bundle of joy and warmth. Off I set at noon, in the direction of Manchester. This is where my next host Judy works as the post office master. She has kindly offered to take all my luggage so that I can ride the remaining 20 km lightweight. I am sooo thrilled at the idea for it is every touring cyclist’s dream to be able to ride luggage-free. Just in front of Judy’s post office – the closest one to Hawaii! – I get hailed by a couple of female bikers.

Day 4

I wake up to a lovely “GET THE FUCK OFF MY LAAAND!!!” outcry served by the grumpy grumpy grumpy. Yes, it is 8 am already but it’s not like I’m planning on staying where I’m not welcomed. I’m going… I’m going! I pack up and hit the road. The road crooks and twists and turns and the headwind has no mercy. It’s difficult, yes, but at least I’m suffering in beauty. And it’s totally worth it. I arrive at Gualala and decide it’s time to find a place to stay. I hang out in front of the local supermarket and ask whomever looks friendly enough whether they could help. Again, the town being a holiday destination, there are not many locals. I do come across a nice couple though who call the nearby camp

Day 3

I am tiiired. I slept like a log and my body is craving for more. But the wind will be picking up at around noon, so I must make a move. The route takes me along the coastline. It’s magnificent, it’s beautiful and it’s freaking cooold!!! On the one hand the sun is burning off my skin and on the other, the glacial wind makes me wish I had brought my winter clothes with me. When I pause for lunch by the rocky seaside, I basically try to hug as much of those huge stones as possible, for they have absorbed all the sunshine but none of the wind. Spreading over the rocks like a run-over pancake, I decide I’m too tired to cycle any further for today and 20km will have to do. I want a bed. I stop at

Day 2

I haven’t cycled in such a long time that the first “morning after” is quite painful. On the bright side, there’s a Bambi outside my window which is quite a sight for the sore eyes. Margit and James send me off with a hearty breakfast. What’s even more heart-warming is that some of that delicious food had been dumpster rescued: apparently, I should expect to be spoiled on my dives and so I can’t wait!!! Make food not bombs!!! I leave for the hills and the headwind. Having inspected my gear, James believes it might not have the capacity to take me over them. Very soon I find this to be more than true: I basically have to walk every frigging climb in sight. But at least the sun is out and it’s

Day 1

San Francisco – Forest Knolls @ 49km I start the day tired for I have been waking up all throughout the night due to excitement. I takes me almost until noon to get my stuff together, pack up, install the panniers, the bike computer and then redo everything when it turns out I got it all wrong. When I finally manage to drag myself out of Jeremy’s it turns out that my ride wiggles and wobbles into all possible directions. I knew it: it’s because it is too heavy due to all of the stuff I’ve taken. Impossible for me to get rid of anything for the moment, I carefully get into the saddle and try not to move. A muscle. Hopefully, by pretending I’m not even there, the bike will withhold all the wei

3... 2... 1...

I arrive at Eric's - my sweet pad upon landing from Europe - to a community of circus performers & visual arts artists. A perfect spot to get into the mood of Oakland and San Fran. After the first weekend spent in coma due to the time difference, I emerge on Monday ready to get myself a bike! I find one pretty easily at the local Bike Kitchen and spend the week fine-tuning it. On Wednesday, I move to Jeremy's, who's part of the WarmShowers community of touring cyclists. Roaming around the city is much easier from his centrally located flat and I get to explore the town with my newfound best-friend Mary. San Francisco is beautiful, unexpected, vibrant and colourful. Just like I had imagined i

Why am I doing this?

The Why, Where and How of it ALL. I was very sick & miserable for 2.5 years… blah blah blah… nobody cares... In January 2017 I decided I needed to do *something* if I was to go on with my life instead of throwing myself into the Seine. I resolved to follow my heart and materialise my long-lived dream of visiting the United States of A. By bike. On my own. Moneyless. I am now keeping this blog and collecting money for 3 charities that are dear to me in order to stay motivated and turn the nightmare of the past couple of years into something positive and bigger than me. Wanna know more but in a hurry? Here's the gist: Why – the longer answer: 1. For me: for after 2,5 years of being sick & mise

More on the WHY

Why cycle? Mainly, because I just looove those sexy cycling tan lines one gets when riding in the sun. Then, because as Ernest Hemingway once wrote: “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them.... Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” And last but not least, because evidence shows that prolonged low-intensity exercise treats depression as effectively as antidepressants – but without the side-effects, of course. In short, I’m doing t