Saturday, September 24, 2011

Northern California: 5 Things I Hate and Love About You

We’ve spent the last two weeks in Northern California. This has taken us from Crescent City, CA to San Francisco. California is a little more intense than the other states we’ve travelled through. Here are a few of the good and bad things that we have noticed so far.

1. Prius’ and Their Hippies
Love: California is more environmentally conscious than the places we’ve seen so far. There are more parks, less litter, and more wildlife.
Hate: When going slowly up a steep hill, it’s easy for a cyclist to wobble around on the side of the road. Contrary to the “speed wobble”, this might be called the “slow wobble”. When you hear a car, you concentrate on containing the wobble and staying on the side of the road. However, when a Prius comes along, we don’t hear it. So we are still doing our wobble as the Prius drives by. To top it off, we’ve found many Prius drivers are more trendy yuppie than cyclist loving hippie and pass you too close going way too fast!

2. Redwoods

Northern California is home to the Coastal Redwood tree, the largest tree species in the world. There are many groves near the roads we travelled on, so we did a lot of Redwood touring.
Love: These trees can be more than 6m across at the base, and up to 1800 years old! When some of these trees started growing, the Romans were still near the peak of their empire!
Hate: No hate here, these trees are wonderful.

3. Highway 1

Love: We’ve been following Highway 1 along the coast since Leggett, CA. This has taken us through some beautiful coastal areas where we’ve seen whales, seals, and dolphins. Also, there have been some really neat towns like Fort Bragg, Mendocino, and Westport.
Hate: No shoulders! C’mon California, even your Governor has designated this road a “State Bicycle Route”. Couple this with a few Prius’ (Prii?) and you’ve got a recipe for disaster!

4. San Francisco

For almost a week we’ve been staying in San Francisco with our good friend Ashley. She lives right in the action in North Beach, and we’ve been stuffing ourselves with delicious food for the entire week. Also, this city is full of interesting things to do and places to see. Ashley has been showing us all the best of the city. Highlights include swimming in Bass Lake, frisbee at Fort Mason, eating, and hanging out with her wonderful and welcoming friends.

Ashley showing us how the rope swing is done at Bass Lake.

Love: This might be the most cyclist friendly city around. Bike lanes, bike shops, and cyclists are everywhere. And when you’re not riding your bike, you can be riding the historical cable cars!

Hanging off the side of the Mason Powell cable car line.

At the cable car museum you can see the motors which pull the cables through the streets of San Francisco.
Hate: Cable car tracks. These are almost exactly the same size as a bicycle tire, meaning that your tire can easily get stuck if you aren’t being careful. We’ve heard multiple stories of people riding into trolley tracks and breaking their wrists. I got stuck once while doing the slow wobble up a steep street, but thankfully I was going so slowly that it wasn’t a problem.

5. Places like Bolinas

Jenn and Ashley near Bolinas

Love: California has many beautiful hidden spots. For example, Ashley took us surfing in Bolinas, which has a beautiful beach surrounded by eucalyptus groves.
Hate: The locals have taken it upon themselves to keep tourists out of their paradise. They go out of their way to be extra unfriendly to tourists, and have even removed the road signs so it’s harder to find your way there!

All in all, we’ve loved California so far. Now it’s time to begin our journey East. Next stops: Yosemite, Bishop, and Red Rocks!


  1. Looking good ... and love / hate relationships do make the best stories. Take Care .... JPP

  2. I missed this post before! SOOO beautiful!! and entertaining to read as always!! meanwhile, I am becoming a better person through your posts as I overcome my seething jealously of being there with you guys! :) loadsa love! :)