Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To Muir Woods and back

S, V, and D went decide to bike to Muir Woods from SF Caltrain. I have a sore index finger, so this will be brief. This is the path we took in the going direction, and this is the elevation profile. On the way back we took a slightly longer route.

6:30am: Wake up.

7:55am: Leave for Caltrain Station

9:36am: Reach San Francisco Caltrain Station

9:40am: Purchase fruits and food items for the trip from Safeway

Here are our bikes:

10:00am: Start biking on The Embarcadero towards the Golden Gate Bridge

The Bay Bridge is on the way:

Some other exhibit. Looks like an arrow facing the ground:

10:05am: Arrive at The Bike Hut since V forgot their helmet at home The guy at the bike hut too a while to inflate his shop, but once he was done, offered V a helmet gratis. Very kind man.

Don't remember when, but reached the Golden Gate Bridge (south side) and then biked across to the north side of the bridge. This was fun. Didn't take any photos since there was quite a bit of uphill and we didn't think of taking photos at that time.

We reach the north side of the bride and rest for a while. Then take the road on to Sausalito. This road is marginally uphill but mostly downhill. I don't enjoy the downhill as much in fear of having to bike back up :-p

Reach Sausalito and can't believe the breathtaking views from the place.

Someone is flying a Quadcopter here as well. The battery life on these seems to be ~20 minutes. The owner prefers to use it just for 15. That's 25% energy wasted. Greenpeace, are you listening??

We keep biking along the coast (Bridgeway) and eventually cross 101 at some point in time. Then on to Mill Valley-Sausalito Path, and then left on to Sycamore Ave. Nothing particularly interesting between Sausalito and now.

We have to constantly consult our maps because the road is no longer just a straight road. We're afraid of taking a wrong turn and biking in the wrong direction. The constant checks make biking frustrating and makes us uneasy. V suggests investing in a phone holder for bikes. I provide a node of approval.

Our first reality check is at Molino Park where we wonder how far we want to go since the uphill slopes have been tiring. V's determination and unwillingness to give up inspires me. We turn on to Edgewood Avenue with renewed energy and determination.

1:30pm: We reach the tip top of Sequoia Valley Road, and the views are just breathtaking. S reaches shortly after. I've dismounted and crossed the road and am already taking photos.

The road ahead is ~700ft of pure downhill pleasure (which means uphill on our way back). S asks if we want to continue on and whether we'll be able to make it back in time. I make some quick approximate calculations and boldly suggest that we should be back by 5:30pm. Sounds like an estimate for delivery on a software project. Read on to find out what happens next.

V arrives and we unanimously decide to continue (against my better judgment, but hey, I did want to visit Muir Woods too :-p). The next ~7 minutes is just pure downhill orgasmic thrill.

Muir Woods Visitor Center is here. We decide to stay till 2:30pm. We have a Bartlett Pear each. V needs caffine in their blood, so we stop for a coffee break.

There's a tiny bridge over a stream and a lot of visitors!

And some #firstworldproblems:
2:45pm: And we're back on the road. This is an ~700ft ascent, and we do it fairly slowly.

3:15pm: The view at this time of the day on the tip top of Muir Woods Road is breathtaking.

V's bike:

3:30pm: There is a slight hiccup when we don't know which road we are on. We think that gmaps is showing us the right road, but the road sign seems to be wrong. We ask a tired runner, and he guides us. We later realize that the road name changes, and gmaps doesn't show where this transition happens. This can get confusing.

4:05pm: We stop at a place where we see a sea-plane and contemplate taking it :-p We also see a helicopter landing there. We all unanimously decide to take the ferry back from Sausalito to Pier39. S is the only one with power in their cell phone. The next ferry is at 5:35pm, and it will take us ~30 minutes to get there according to gmaps. We amble our way to the ferry terminal.

4:45pm: We;re almost at the ferry terminal when S spots R and family. We're pleasantly surprised by the meeting and exchange pleasantries and indulge in small talk.

5:00pm: We head to the ferry terminal and stand in line with the rest of the bikers. S determines the status of tickets and gets a Clipper Card. S tells V that tickets cost $4.25, but the clipper card needs $10.25 balance. I am unsure if I have that sort of cash, but I assume that I can refill my card. I ask S some more questions since I am confused about what is going on. S is searching for their Caltrain ticket. S and I need to communicate more. I have a hard time understanding things and S thinks I am smarter than I am.

5:20pm: The line moves forward, but the ferry is filling up fast. I see a ticket window and wonder why we aren't buying tickets. Everything seems bizarre to me. S then explains that we can clip on on the ferry and that $10.25 is the cost of the ferry and $4.25 is the minimum balance required. I really need to find a good way to communicate with S. We casually joke that we shouldn't be the first ones in line for the next ferry.

We are the first ones in line for the next ferry. Never has a STOP sign hurt so much.

5:45pm: We wait for the ferry to leave (since it isn't over till it's over), and start biking back. I am somewhat pleased that we aren't waiting for the next ferry, which is at 6:45pm.

Sausalito uphill seems easier than the one on Muir Woods Road. We are all pretty tired.

6:00pm: We've reached a point in the road where we need to decide whether we should turn right or go straight. I remember turning left after emerging from a tunnel on our way here, so I suggest turning right. I check the map for good measure, and it looks okay. The is my first blunder. We turn right into a tunnel that's longer than any other tunnel we've taken so far and find ourselves on Bunker Road. Phone doesn't have data, but the GPS is able to tell us where we are. We can't route back so we decide to retreat back into the tunnel we came from.

6:05pm: We;re back at the mouth of the tunnel, and we decide to route back to SF Caltrain. gmaps will suggest a path that doesn't exist. We don't know this, so we take the path. On the way down (which is a steep downhill), S suggests that they don't remember gaining so much altitude on the way up. We're halfway down. I completely agree with S, but don't have a better idea, so I don't stop. This is my second blunder. We find ourselves at the bottom of the Golden Gate Bridge. The view is majestic.

We crawl back up to the Golden Gate Bridge and realize that we have to cross since the west side of the pedestrian/bike path is now closed and we need to go over to the east side. My 5:30pm estimate has been blown to bits.

7:05pm: We take a short break to determine when we'll reach Cafe Chaat (dinner!!). I speculate another 20-25 minutes to reach Cafe Chaat.

7:55pm: We reach Cafe Chaat. Dinner is on the menu :-p

9:15pm: Take the last Caltrain back (it's Sunday).