California

Downtown San Francisco with cable cars. I enjoyed cycling in this city far better than I'd anticipated (apart from the steep slopes).
A view over the Golden Gate. The bridge is just to the right.
Cyclists in the Marin Headlands, right across Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. As it was a Saturday, hoards of cyclists were out on the road--I felt remarkably at ease.
After three days in San Francisco, I crossed over to Sacramento and on to Co. Amador in the lower Sierras. As it happened, I was riding in the midst of a heatwave which made crossing the arid inland and the smogged Sacramento suburbs pretty demanding. It took me two days to get to Plymouth, where I was to participate in the Sacramento wheelmen's annual century ride. I got a hearty welcome, plus free admission to the ride (thanks Neal!). What struck me about the event is that its food and drink supply along the road, as well as afterwards, was lavish--to say the least. Quite different from what I've seen in most places in cycle-fond Europe.
One of the century's rest stops in Ione. Afterwards, when I was offered a ride, and a place to stay for the night at a very welcoming couple's home near Sacramento, I didn't decline. Next day I took a train to San Jose, spent some time figuring out how to get out of that unpleasant city ASAP, and crossed over through the woods to the Pacific Coast (at Santa Cruz). A lot of holidaymakers in RV's made for some dangerous riding along the way.
I went down the coast only as far as Monterey, then made my way up again to be in time for the plane home. I spent a night at Pigeon point lighthouse hostel, which stands lonely between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. I was lucky to have the last availabe bed at the hostel, as there was really no place else to go for miles around.
A rough, volcanic region, Devil's Slide sure looks like it deserved that nasty nickname. With plenty of fog and the road getting narrower as I advanced, you can imagine this wasn't the nicest stretch of the journey.
After this spectacular scenery, I was glad to enter the suburbs of Half Moon Bay, which indicated my return to the "Civil World". I put up my tent next to this bizarre tree, only a few yards away from the brilliant seaside. It was hard to imagine then I'd be back in Belgium the next day.

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