November 5, 2010

Is this the end. Or, a new beginning


This is also the brand of our bike
It’s done, over, fin‘.

We are now in San Diego!

It’s hard to describe how it feels to be done after 3 months. It’s like, this rhythm, a beat that you develop, that has now been interrupted. I think that for the both of us we feel a little bit lost, and you cant help but feel a little melancholy.

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Touring is a great way to detox the mind and soul. In the course of a day, every day, you have only 3 things to deal with. Food, shelter, and getting from here to there. These are the basic instincts that have guided us and all other creatures for ------well, ever. At first it’s hard. It’s like you feel that you are supposed to be doing more. You are still guided by the clock. Got to get up and on the road in a timely manner. Get 20 miles in by noon. Camp by 3:00! Quick, set up camp, cook dinner, bed by 9:00 and be on the road by 9:00 the next morn. We live by the clock and the calendar, so we can stick to our schedules, be on time; Get er done!!!

The studios Mr hills
For me I’d say that it took at least a 4 to 6 weeks to let all that go. The first thing that went was the schedule, with the realization that you are getting there. But, the schedule kinda goes with the calendar, cause, before to long, you begin to loose track of what the date is. Then, what day of the week it is. It no longer matters. What time is it? It’s day time. Where you goin to day? Where ever we get to. Then……you begin to loose track of where you’ve been. Not so much where you’ve been cause that runs through your mind like a favorite movie. But, it’s the names of the places, and the time line of when you were there that becomes fuzzy. That’s when you know….. That’s when you know you’re in the rhythm. You’ve been overcome by the ebb and flow. The tide. Natures flow.
tele mon! made from the wires of a duvell beer top

Another aspect of the detox is the utter removal of all that is----Media! No radio, papers, t.v., No connection what so ever to what we now consider reality. Reality T.V. Are you kidin me! We live and die by this stuff. Our moods swing according to what the politics of the hour is. Two weeks later. It’s the same old thing, 3 months later it’s still the same old………..Same old,……..Same.!!!!!!!

As that goes, so does the noise. It seems were addicted to the noise. It’s like we use it to distract us from the noise in our heads. But, after not having the distraction, the noise, the noise in your head, it empties out. It becomes quiet. Meditation. Rolling meditation. The road.

Not just us. All the long haul riders that we spoke to seemed to be sharing the same experience. That disconnect to time.

What time is it?? Time to ride. Time to eat. Always time to eat. Time to sleep….A lot!!
The collage crew and hosts in SLO

Looking back, for me, the ride was over at San Simeon, the end of the Big Sur section of Highway one. From there north, all the way to Canada, the road and all of it’s towns, maintain a rural character. Because of the geology and the nature of the road it maintains a sense of adventure. But after San Simeon the hills are behind you. That winding, twisting, climbing,---------all that is fun on the one. Is gone. The road becomes flat, straight and easy, and with that; takes on an urban nature. Busier, more lanes. More people. More noise. The one joins the 101 and is no longer all that much fun.

For Mr. Flynn
We strolled into San Luis Obispo and really enjoyed that town. Had a Salida feel if you will. I played some Guitar on the street. Was well received, as Terri cruised the Thrifts and Consignment stores. Santa Barbara was cool too but had too much of that; Well, Ken and Barbie feel. If you will. Like really expensive sunglasses, if you catch my drift.

We’re over the campground scene now. Too many professional bums . So we’re riding from cheap motel to cheap motel.

reflections of the past
Now were in Ventura. We also like this town. A little more blue collar. More Real, for whatever that’s worth. There is a cool downtown to this place with a soul (we’re always looking for the soul!) and of course a brewery,they have one and we go! The Anacapa Brewery (this is for one of the islands off the coast that you can boat to). We decide to stay an extra day and enjoy. Some good folks invite us to their home We meet their Family (Tim, Carol, Paul and Rebecca). They cook us dinner and give us a bed. Super nice of them. Thanks. Thanks a lot. We really, really appreciate it. Thanks Carol for the extra snacks you stuck in our pack!

santa barbera mision

We decide that riding thru Los Angeles does not appeal to us in the least!!…it’s a madhouse of cars, people, noise that becomes mentally draining just thinking about it!…200 miles of it…..we come to the conclusion that renting a car and getting ourselves to our destination to relax at the beach sounds like a way better plan…..soooo 3 months and 2000 miles later here we are in San Diego!! it’s a sad/sweet ending to our $%^&ing awesome, spectacular, groovy trip! WooooHooooo!! Yeeeeeeeaaaahhhhh!!! Heres to my strong, amazing “captain of the MULE”, husband & best friend
santa barbera

And to the “MULE“ an extraordinary machine, a beast, a rocketship ! And heres to “simple”, “slow” & savoring the moments on a bike…. We would of course highly recommend this trip to everyone who loves to ride! If ever the chance don’t even hesitate…just jump on and go!

San Diego is a favorite place of ours….as we get to visit son Andy and family (wife Misty, grandkids Alicia, Lily and Drew)…and do a little sailing!

our hosts in ventura. thanks again!

We like to sail. Like cycling, it’s pure, simple, pleasure. With a little adrenaline thrown in for good measure. This place, Seaforth boat rentals sits at the mouth of Mission bay and they’ll rent you a small boat with out any kind of license. They ask if you know how and when the last time was you sailed. I lie. They give me a test. I probably fail it but they want my money so----We sailed! And once again Terri and I both have shit eat’in grins. She’s a natural. Sailor that is.

The adventure?? It’s not over. It never is. It begins with life and ends with death. Maybe??? So I think that I/we will continue to blog. We have lots to blog about. What it’s like and the adventure that comes with living off grid at the end of a road that leads to nowhere, making soap, building straw bale. So stay tuned. Will keep you informed. In the mean time it’s been fun and we’ve enjoyed your feedback and support.

Peace out, and Kirk out, And beam me up Scotty, and This does’nt look like Kansas any more. Now does it, and, thank god.


Grandson Drew and daddy
waz up

Grand Doughter Lilly

October 19, 2010

Wheels are made for rollin, mules are made to pack.

10/4 - 10/14/10

Terri and Gregs grooviness factor is a 4-5.…we are now up to 1,815 miles on the Mule!

Coming to you today from San Luis Obispo…Jim “Hills” pad with roomates Dave, Matt and Steve! Taking a few

Slide Ranch
 Rest days here. Seems like a pretty nice spot!

Back in San Francisco….Greg and I are dropped off at the ferry by Ashley to explore the city for a few days!!

Getting off the ferry at Market St in San Francisco is amazing in itself. We head down into the financial district on foot

To check into our hotel on 7th & Folsum streets. It is a borage of visual stimuli!! To say the least….old buildings with beautiful architecture, buses, old street cars, cable cars, people going every which way on foot and by bicycle…. we check into our hotel (which by the way we booked online for $58 a nite!) its very nice, clean and convenient! Then head over to Chinatown…for some dinner….and we get to listen to some Chinese folks playing instruments and singing! Chinese Buskers if you will!!

While in this fascinating city we also visit the Haight Street neighborhood which of course is like stepping back into the 1960’s….hippy grooviness abound! Very cool vintage shops, cafes, thrift stores, some very pretty old Victorian homes and youngsters floating around trying to capture their own 1960’s groove….we catch some very good street musicians playing their stuff,too…it’s a fun part of the city for sure!

Statue with bike messangers awaiting a job
 We jump on an old street car that takes us out to North Beach and Fishermans Wharf. North Beach is the Little Italy of San Francisco….yummy restaurants (we have dinner in one)….and visit the” City Lights” bookstore, an old beatnik haunt from the 50’s & 60’s ! We have a Belgian beer at “Jacks 85 Beers” in one of the old Cannery Row buildings….YUM! Jacks has been there since 1932.

Next day we visit the Mission District….full of cool murals…the Dolores Mission (very pretty) which is suppose to be the oldest bldg in the city! And have lunch at the Dolores Park Café….then hop on a cable car (these things are Too fun!…Rice a Roni…the San Francisco treat!) a popular song/commerical from childhood!! Heehee…and a bus to head over to the marina and back to the North Beach section….the marina sports a boardwalk…and some fishing/pleasure craft to drool over…..

last known place my father was alive
The beautiful thing about these big cities is the different neighborhoods with completely different flavors, foods, people! And how small family businesses still flourish and are supported. San Francisco was a treat! We didn’t even come close to seeing everything…..were glad we got to experience what we did and hope to be back again some day!

Next morning we say goodbye to Ashley (she drives us to the park n ride lot) and Slide Ranch…thanks to everyone there for sharing their space in such a beautiful spot! We hop on the Mule for a scenic ride over the Golden Gate….it’s a gorgeous morning….

The ride through San Fran went quite smoothly, much easier than expected. The route winds and wends its way through the beautiful and expensive west shore neighbor hoods. Not much traffic and good riding untill….Eventually we got spit out onto the One. And the One coming out of San Fran is more like a highway. Good shoulders but busy. In fact the One doesn’t really take on its coastal [fun on the one] personality untill you approach half moon bay. From that point forward to San Luis Obispo the One becomes fun..Again.-----cause after all it’s all about Fun on the One. Cruising with the top down, hair to the wind, your baby right next to you. Oh yea, California dreamin baby, with the waves crashing the shore and a north west wind pushin you on down the road. Oh yea baby, fun on the one. Climb a hill to a vista, take a picture, race down the hill. Youre in the big gear now, hair pin turns, 20 miles per hour , you take it at 30. Commit to the turn and the bike pops out of the turn like a well arched ski. Into the the next turn. You’ve taken over the whole road now cause even the sports cars can’t corner like this weighted down groove machine. Youre approaching sea leval, last corner. Take it hard and fast. Bang a right with all the speed you can carry cause ------you got another hill to climb, with another view and a pullout with a picture. That’s what I’m talkin about. That is fun on the One Baby!!!!

Monteray----Cute, cool, it had a nice serene feel to it. The first of the mission towns. Kinda feel s like Fante Se’ cept on the ocean. That day was a short day. Time to linger on the Presidio, and board walk. Find some high octane Belgian brews. Aw, but now its time to go to camp. The sun is getting low! Camp…..Vet memorial park. Right in what seems to be , according to the map and directions, right in the heart of Monteray. Not!! At least not without riding up a super steep. I mean sustained %10 at least, for 2 miles, grade. Possibly the steepest of the entire ride; From here forward to be known as Buzz Kill Hill!!! And that’s exactly what it did!!

The hiker biker sights are getting crowded now. The campsites are fewer and farther between and the hiker bikers are beginning to bunch up. The hikers, by the way, tend to be transients. Startin to get a little seedy! You’re sharing the pikinic table boo boo, with a guy: So what do you do? Well, I used to own property round here, but now I’m sort of try’in to simplify. Later------Well actually I just got out of prison on a gun runnin charge. So I just sort of move from campsight to camp sight……Oh. that’s nice!???!

From Montery to San Luis Obispo [ SLO] Has some of the vintage fun on the one riding through the region known as Big Sur. Cut out of the cliffs, Overlooking and Constantly giving into the sea. Steep climbs, fast Descents, great corners, no shoulder, moderate traffic due to the time of year. Invigorating. It takes three days to ride through this section. On the first day the weather is fine. Inspirational views. The next day; The marine layer hugs to the water like a down blanket and we are like an airplane flying over and looking down on the clouds. Its as if the ocean is frozen in time. The rollers suspended in slow motion as far as you can see. The waves breaking on the rocks below are not breaking at all. They are crawling up the side of the cliffs . Fingers of mist reaching for the road. Reaching for you. As if to grab you by the ankles and pull you in. Surreal; to say the least.

The Ocean and San Andreas Fault both conspire to eat the one, to swallow it, to turn it into what it once was. A steep cliff diving into the ocean. It doesn’t really belong there and doesn’t really want to be there. As a result it is constantly under construction. Road Construction is a Cyclists friend. Holding the traffic back. Allowing us to have the road to ourselves in 20 minute intervals.

On day three we wake up at a campground that sits right on a grassy knoll over looking the ocean, nestled between it and the road. The camp ground was closed. Gated shut. We and two other cyclist poach it. It is beutifull. Perhaps one of the nicest campgrounds on the whole ride. But; we are the only fodder for the coons. I spend the night warding them off. Trying to keep them from hauling our bags into the poison oak brush. Never to be seen again. The only thing a coon respects is having something thrown at them. I collect my rocks. I throw my rocks. But to no avail. We are the only campers there. There is no one else to raid. The battle carries on thru the night. No one wins!!

Verina, 61. and Helmut 73, Inspirations.
On day three the marine layer is now fog. There is no view. Just a windy road. Hard. Fast. Still fun. Just no pictures.

Big Sur is behind us now. The last of the winding, cliffy, classic coastal riding. We are now in southern Cal. Flatter roads, less climbing, More beaches, more transients. The ride is winding down. 7 days of riding before San Diego.

I will miss the coastal riding. I will miss----Fun on the One! It is hard riding. Every day up and down, up and down. Running through the gears. The climbs steep. The descents too short to get a break. 2-3000 Vert. a day. Every day. But---- It is----- FUN ON THE ONE!!!




elephant seals. 2 bulls are fighting center left.

I think we took a wrong turn.......Africa???

Hi Mom!!!!

October 3, 2010

Crescent City to Slide Ranch. A tale of Wow!

To Steve. Here you go. I’m glad we can help. And yes, the conversation we had about the derailer was right on, and with some good old fashion anglo engineering were up and runnin as smooth as a tandem could be. Knock on wood.

To anonymous y. Yea.

Hello café Dawn. Glad your enjoying the season. If you guys need an overnight escape. Our place is yours.

9/18-10/3/10 Terri and Gregs grooviness factor is a 5! Top mph on the Mule was 46! 1500 miles logged!


Today we are writing to you from Slide Ranch. Slide Ranch is located on the Marin Headlands about 15 miles north of San Francisco’s Golden gate Bridge. The ranch overlooks the pacific ocean and is right underneath Hiway one. The section that is cut right out of the cliffs and any wrong move could send you into the drink. It is called Slide ranch because like most of Northern California it is measurably sliding into the Ocean. This place once belonged to the Greatful Dead back in the 60’s and not much has changed as far as the buildings are concerned. Now and for the past 40 years this place functions as an educational retreat for youth and family’s focusing on farming goats and making milk. Yum.

We are here visiting Ashley, a friend from Salida who is working as an intern here.

This place is serene and very peaceful and has been an excellent stop over to rest our travel weary bones.

Thanks Slide Ranch for all the Hospitality!! It’s been more than Generous.

We left Crescent City after the Rains. It was a beautiful day and as we rode up into the Crescent hills the fog lifted and what was exposed was, well, …. To ride and walk and be amongst the old growth Red Woods was, for me, like goin to church. The Church.! It felt like to be amongst them was an honor but more importantly a privelidge! And not to be taken for granted, although they have been. Of what I’ve seen of the North Coast Red Woods I would say that the Crescent Hills grove was the most,….well, the most. And if you ever went to visit those woods I would highly recommend staying a few days at Elk Prarie Campground.!-----Spectacular!!

Leaving Elk Prarie , riding down the 101 we came across an elk herd. Probably 30 head of which half might have been young spike bulls. Another 3 or 4 were 3 to 4 point bulls. But, amongst them was “The Man” Obviously it is the season, and the Man was culling out the lesser bulls and trying to chase them out of the herd. Wow! What a sight. Totally Wild Kingdom. But then we realized that he might want to cull us out. So we waited till he was occupied and then quickly exited.

That day brought us into the “Triangle”, Humboldt County, The firewood Capitol of the world….Sic. Starting with the college town of Arcata, then Eureka, and ending about 60 miles south in the town of Garberville the prominent smell and vibe was “Skunk Weed” and it felt very Wild West and it seemed that the people in this region were “Tweaked” to say the least. Despite the very cool ride through the avenue of the giants we were quite relieved to be out of that part of the country and back on the coast. And finally on the 1. Highway 1 that is.

Highway 1 is of course nothing but beautiful!! Winding road that hugs the cliffs all along that big pacific coast!! SWEETNESS!!we wind our way first to Ft Bragg where we stop for a meal/beer at the North Coast Brewing Co…(a pretty big operation…..we’ve rated this place our favorite brewery so far!! Greg partook in the “Pranqster” and I the “Merle”….both Belgian brewed…and so yummy!!!very much a treat! From here we ride just past Mendocino (2 miles) to Van Damm Campground. We get here late in the nite after about 60 miles of riding! We decide the next morning to do a layover here and go into Mendocino….a quaint, small town (1000 pop) but in a gorgeous spot! WOW!! The Mendocino Headlands are amazing to say the least…these rocky heads jet out into the ocean along with big volcanic rocks that stick up with huge surf coming in crashing into the rocks!!! Quite the sight to behold!! Lots going on….sort of like watching a huge washing machine doing its thing! We eat fettucine w/clams at the Mendocino Café & enjoy visiting a very cool music store (which includes the envy of some jug bands I’m sure!!….a hollowed out guitar replaced with believe it or not a real “bed pan” for resonation AND a toilet plunger as part of the bridge….Greg happily plays and gets some good sound to come out of this homemade job! We also get to hear stories from some abalone fisherman back at the campground who are camped out right next to us!! This cute 75 year old guy tells of some interesting tales diving for these delectable treats!! And how an abalone fisherman can only dive with snorkles ….no diving equipment and they can only score 24 abalones in one season….he gives us 2 of his shells (they are beautiful!! ) we share one with Ashley our host at Slide Ranch and get to take the other one home…

Van damm Campground is where we meet up with a longtime friend of Gregs from Lake Tahoe…Roger….who comes to camp and ride with us for a few days!! He also cooks up some fancy breakfasts in the mornings…what a treat!….our visit with Roger is fun and fast…it was really good to see him!!! Thanks for the breakfasts, Rog and for sharing a few days of riding with us….these days of camping and riding from Van Damm to Gualala to Bodega Dunes…. takes us thru what looks like everything from wine country (different sort of vegetation) to big dry bluffs/cliffs that fall into the ocean with windy narrow fast descents thru switchbacks and then climbs up again! Wowser!

WE say good bye to Roger and hello to Ashley in Tomales, CA about 35 miles north of Slide Ranch (right near Muir Beach)…..we are trying to make it to the ranch by 9/30 to volunteer at a fundraising music festival there!! The music consists of David Grisman and his band!! And a few musician/singers that live at the ranch!! A small venue with about 200 people! What a fun time…great food….great music AND Greg actually gets to talk to David Grisman who he has been a fan of for about 30 years!!! Pretty special….

This weekend is actually the 10th anniversary of the Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco!! it’s a free 3 day event that we also got to go to all day on Saturday!! Geez….can it get any better than this!! Heehee!! Our first time to San Francisco ….and we’re hanging out at a music festival in Golden Gate Park…some of the music we got to listen to included Joan Baez, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, the Carolina Chocolate Drops (a very unique African/american string band!!…very cool sound) and the Magnolia Sisters!! A sweet cajun band from Louisiana! Hope you got our message Mark!!…those were just a few that were part of the happening!…Hanging out with Jim and Ashley has been great fun!….good to see them both again and in such a special place! Spending a few more days here (we must!) and heading into the city of San Francisco to see the sights….

Also I want to send out a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! To my BeAuTiFuL SISTER AIMEE (oct 4th) yeeeeeaaahhhh!!!! Wish I was there to blow out those candles and help you eat that CAKE!!! Mmmmmmm……grosses bises, sis

crescent city

dont mess with the man

tunin the mule

california coast

mendocino headlands. wow.

our feelings exactly!
couldnt say it any better

our man 'roge'

the david grisman quintet
very intimate.

those are whale bones!
Jim and Ashley.
nice to see ya.