San Francisco

Raphael and I spent Saturday, the day after we arrived, exploring San Francisco. What a wonderful city, we thought. Warm breezes peeled off the bay all morning as a fleet of sailboats cut around Alcatraz Island.

We made our way to Berkeley to meet an old friend, Yrian, from New York. He offered to put us up for a few days. Dropping our gear off and dressing down to normal clothes allowed us to enjoy the city more fully. I’d sent my only pants (besides my spandex shorts) home weeks earlier, so we went to a thrift store and bought some “normal” clothes. Yrian and his friends then showed us Berkely and Oakland’s nightlife. On Monday, he sent us off to our next hosts, the Carlsons, with a delicious steak and eggs breakfast.

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Our friends Eric, Anne and Boothe Carlson hosted us warmly for three days and nights. They cooked us delicious meals, let us watch movies in their home theater, and let us soak our tired muscles in their hot tub. Boothe gave us a tour of UC Berkely as well.

On Tuesday, Raphael and I geared up one last time and rode off into the San Pablo hills. Following Anne’s suggestion, we cycled the 45-mile “three bears loop,” which pushed our total mileage past the 6,000-mile mark. The “5,955” on our odometers had been annoying us, and after what we had done, what was another 45 miles?

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Early on Wednesday, August 27th, we began disassembling our bikes and packing our things for the train-ride home. We’d chosen trains because flying just seemed too fast. Also, crossing the country by train was something neither of us had done before. Raphael booked a train to Salt Lake City to spend time with our uncle Andrew and aunt Susan. But I had to start the Fall semester at Columbia in a few days, so I booked the Southwestern Amtrak route home.

Eric helped us pack their car and drove us to the train station at 4:30 am.

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I left on a bus for LA via Santa Barbara at 6:00 am. Raphael left for Salt Lake City at 9:00 am.

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Raphael made it safely to Salt Lake City, where our uncle Andrew took him on a different, faster kind of bike.

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