Bill and I said our goodbyes to Tim and Mark and his family, left San Francisco, and we are now on our way to Cameron Park where Bill lives. We go through the Golden Gate Bridge once again to catch I-80 to Sacramento.
It is a pleasant ride. We have the opportunity to get to know more about one another, our lives and our families.
When we get to Cameron Park, Bill shows me something very interesting that I have never seen before: a residential development where people bring their airplanes to their homes.
The streets connect directly to the airstrip and they are wide enough for the small airplanes to taxi to and from the homes. Pilots can commute from home to destination without ever leaving the plane.
Bill brought to my attention the height of the mailboxes explaining that they are kept low so they do not interfere with the wings of the planes. Amazing!
I read that some of the folks who live there commute to work each day by plane. Living in the airpark provides them the opportunity to work in the big cities while enjoying the peace and serenity of the country setting of Cameron Park.
We are in San Francisco now, heading to Mark’s home. He chooses the sightseeing route as a gift for me, and I am able to see a lot of beautiful places along the way. But the best is reserved for last. When we get to his place, Mark takes me to the rooftop.
I am in awe!
Once again I realize how lucky I am.
These are the best views of San Francisco and I wouldn’t have seen them if I had not relinquished control and believed, as Max Ehrmann told us in the Desiderata that “the universe is unfolding as it should.”
DESIDERATA by Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
The Golden Gate, the gateway to San Francisco… The Forces of the Universe brought me here… I made it!
Am I happy?
Am I ecstatic?
Am I elated?
I made it! From the northernmost city on the Oregon Coast all the way down to San Francisco… I made it, without obsessing with schedules or performance, but paying attention to life and remaining open to the winds of fate. Great lessons learned.
Well, this is a line from the song “Beautiful Boy,” written by John Lennon… “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
I met Bill, Tim and Mark in Myers Flat, as planned. I tell them about the broken spokes, how timely our reunion is, and how happy I am to see them.
They ask me about my travel plans. I tell them that I would appreciate if they can drop me closer to San Francisco, maybe in Santa Rosa, and that from there I will resume the biking. They want to know more… “Well, I have a wedding to attend in Lake Tahoe and I want to be there on the 24th,” I tell them.
“I live close to Lake Tahoe,” Bill tells me. “That’s where I am heading to today. Why don’t you come with me? You can stay at my place for as long as you want before heading to Tahoe. Actually, this would work out perfectly because instead of Tim having to come with me, he can stay in San Francisco with Mark. He was coming with me basically to help me with the driving, but if you come with me there’s no need for him to come.”
I think about my plan of staying for one or two days in San Francisco before heading to the wedding. I think about repaying a big favor with a small one. I think about the saying, “what goes around comes around.” I think about remaining open to whatever the Forces of the Universe throw at me. I think about guardian angels.
“Is there a bike shop were you live? ” I ask Bill, thinking about the need to pack and ship the bike back to Florida.
“Yes, there is a huge bike shop in Folsom, a few miles from Cameron Park where I live.”
“OK. We have a deal. Let’s go! I’ll go with you. This is actually great. Thank you, so much!”
I seal the deal giving Bill one of my hugs. Everyone smiles.
I have learned to say “Yes.”
Maybe I am being protected…
Maybe I am not meant to spend time in San Francisco during this trip…
Maybe I have to spend time with Bill and his family…
Maybe I have lessons to learn…
Maybe I have lessons to teach…
Again, I reflect on how fortunate I am, and I am reminded that life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
Tim asked me to meet him in Myers Flat which is only 4 miles south of the campground where I spent the night. They will be leaving Eureka this morning and Myers Flat is a convenient location along their way for them to pick me up.
It is a beautiful morning. I am happy that I will see Tim, Bill and Mark again, and grateful that they have agreed to take me with them. I say goodbye to Jane and Adam — after helping them decide what part of India they will visit after the wedding 🙂 — hop on the bike, and off I go.
When I am about to arrive in Myers Flat two rear wheel spokes break, one right after the other. The wheel loses its alignment and is now rubbing against the break pads, making it very hard to proceed. I have no way of fixing that; I am not carrying any extra spokes with me. I’ll have to stop at a bike shop.
I stop for a moment to reflect how fortunate I am. This is the perfect time for a mechanical problem. Not only I am miles away from the nearest bike shop — and it would be troublesome to get there — but the spokes broke right before I am getting a lift. I think to myself, “Isn’t that great? How lucky I am!”
Yes, call me Pollyanna. I am an optimist and I like that. I believe that there is always an upside in every situation. We can always find good in the bad.
Let me sit here in this park, relax, enjoy this beautiful blue sky and the warmth of the morning sun on my face while I wait for them to arrive.
My plans? Well, Meg and Aaron’s wedding is scheduled for the 25th in Lake Tahoe. That’s where I have to be.
Ideally I would like to get to San Francisco on the 22nd, ship the bike back to Florida on the 23rd, and catch a bus to Lake Tahoe on the 24th.
Looking at the distance between where I am now and San Francisco, I realize that I will never get there on time if I keep on biking. I have to find a way of getting somewhere closer to San Francisco using faster transportation. Maybe I can go by bus to Santa Rosa, and bike from there to San Francisco, but I am not sure where to get the bus, how to ship the bike in the bus, or the bus schedule.
Tim, Bill and Mark will be leaving Eureka and heading to San Francisco tomorrow, and they are riding Bill’s pickup truck. I’m going to ask Tim if it would be possible for them to give me a ride to Santa Rosa. I’m quite sure that the bike will fit in the back of the truck. I send Tim a text and a few texts later he lets me know the good news: they have agreed to pick me up tomorrow morning and give me a ride south.
I met a lovely couple this evening at the campground in the Avenue of the Giants. Jane and Adam, currently living in New York City, are riding their tandem bike from Crescent City, in Northern California, all the way south to the border of Mexico, then back north again to Los Angeles.
After that, they are shipping their bike back to NYC, and heading to India for a wedding and some sightseeing, before returning to New York or Cambridge.
Quite a trip!
Jane and Adam are both actors and they perform on the streets… Shakespeare in the Park…ing Lot, they told me.
Besides being an actor, Adam is also a photographer and a visual artist. Check these sites to learn more about him
Jane, who has a graduate degree from Harvard, teaches actors how to properly speak with different regional accents, and also how to train and properly use their voices.
They invited me and we sat down by the campfire.
We talked about our lives and our bike journeys. We shared how people reacted when we announced what we were going to do. The reactions were kind of similar, except that, in their case, many people expressed a concern that, because they were going to ride tandem, they would be spending ‘too much time together.” They smiled and expressed how much they enjoy each other’s company and the wonderful conversations they are having along the way.
We had smores! Yeah! My camping experience is now complete!
The following morning, after packing, I went over to say goodbye and they asked me, “North or South?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Just choose one of the two… North or South?”
“South,” I said.
“OK, South it will be. Let us explain… We had to decide where we were going to go after the wedding… to the North or to the South of India. Both trips are interesting and we didn’t know how to choose. You just helped us with the decision. South it will be!”
We wished each other luck. We hugged each other, and I left.
6:48 AM – I am leaving Eureka hoping to get to the Avenue of the Giants this afternoon.
Steve – 6:51 AM – It’s supposed to be a beautiful place. They run a marathon thru the Avenue of the Giants. Pace yourself and take in the beauty. Remember you have all day to get to your destination.
6:55 AM – Thanks. I need to pace. The campground is 50 miles away.
Steve – 7:03 AM – That’s a good doable ride. It’s always easy when you are looking forward to the destination.
8:17 AM – 10 miles gone. 40 to go.
Steve – 8:20 AM – Excellent! The first are always the hardest. Good weather, I hope. I ran 10 miserable miles with your wife and Bob this morning. Much rather be with you, minus the singing and hugs. 🙂
9:41 AM – 20 miles done. 30 more to go. Stopped for croissant and hot chocolate.
Steve – 9:46 AM – You’re the man!
11:33 AM – 30 miles completed. 20 miles to go.
Steve – 11:37 AM – Great job! Not even noon yet! Grab a good lunch and finish strong. Tally Ho.
12:01 PM – Stopped for burger, fries, and blueberry milk shake at Rio Dell
12:09 PM – Actually it is a blackberry milkshake
Steve – 2:56 PM – How is it going?
3:49 PM – Beautiful road. Mostly flat for the last 4 miles. 6 miles to campground. Not sure about cell service in the middle of these woods.
Steve – 3:51 PM – Great. 50 miles. Personal best. Enjoy.
4:23 PM – Got to the Burlington Campground in the Avenue of the Giants. 52.8 Miles.
We give ourselves too much importance. We are not that important. Few human beings live for more than a century. These trees have been around for millennia.
John Steinbeck wrote, “The redwoods once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always… from them comes silence and awe. The most irreverent of men, in the presence of redwoods, goes under a spell of wonder and respect.”