A journey from San Francisco to San Diego, 710 miles, 42,000 ft of climbing: that was my goal. I did not just want to make it a direct shot, I wanted to explore California, including a full tour of the city of San Francisco.
There are so many sites to see in this great city, that I decided to do them all: the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, the Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, Coit Tower, Chinatown, the Embarcardero, Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Park. I weaved a 45 mile tour of the City by the Bay as part of day one’s 90 mile trek.
The starting line – I decided needed to be dynamic. I chose the view area overlookng the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito.
There was a short ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito and up two miles to this starting point. Weather can be a strange thing in San Francisco, cold in some parts, clear and warm in others. I was exploring all of San Francisco so I experienced them all. The Golden Gate Bridge was socked in with clouds on this day and remained so all day. Only the tips of the famous structure were visible.
One thing you can say about San Francisco: steep, steep hills are abundant. I knew that they were steep, but I didn’t know they were that steep! Several revisions to my route were in order as I literally could not ride up or down some of these hills without flipping my bicycle. Another consequence of such steep hills was that it slowed my pace, extremely. So much so that by the time I reach Twin Peaks (with its beautiful city view) a mere 30 miles into the ride, I found myself way behind time-wise where I thought I would be. I still had 60 miles to complete that day and needed to make a decision about how to proceed: do I continue on with my city tour or cut it short and make a direct path, due south?
I chose the former, the city tour continued; over to Golden Gate Park, back to the West side of the Presidio and out of town via Lake Merced and the San Francisco Zoo. However, this did have its consequences; I found that I was losing sunlight quickly. and… it started getting cold!
Leaving the city and heading down Highway 1, I was pressed for time and pushed hard to get to my stopping point for the day. By the time I finally reached the Pigeon Point light house and youth Hostel I was cold, tired, and the sun was in its final moments of setting; it was getting dark. I was never so happy to see the light of the lighthouse calling me as a beacon to the end of day one.
Day one complete, I had traveled 90 miles, climbed 8412 ft and had only 620 miles to go.
It was a great start to my journey….