Part Nine – San Francisco


Welcome to another thrilling chapter in the travel, life and times of Buff3y the Hardcore Solo Adventure Cyclist. There has been a lot of activity on the blog of late with subscriptions way up on the previous quarter (up by 1.3 people) and comments becoming 23.7% less abusive (Paul didn’t comment this quarter).  This blogging thing is threatening to go completely viral so please don’t tell your friends, family or corporate sponsors about this site as I just get inundated with emails, cards, donations and letters of support that I simply have to ignore.

I am now blasting down the California coast with Oregon a mere distant memory and LA now firmly in the sights. It is therefore with a skip in my pedal stroke that I offer the latest posting which covers in and around San Francisco.

2nd November (64 miles) (Miranda – Westport):

3rd November (55 miles) (Westport – Manchester)

4th November (68 Miles) (Manchester – Bodega Bay)

There have been a lot of requests recently in the comments portal for recipes of the food that I have been preparing along the way. In anticipation of the forthcoming travel cook book I’ll be sharing a few tasters with you on the blog.

1. Noodles & Spam: Instant Noodles – Open pack and put contents in hot water. Heat Water more. Add Spam. Mulch up a bit. Eat.

2. Noodles & Chili: Heat the noodles (as per above) and drain the salty stuff. Add canned chili con carne (p.s. ensure that the noodles do not stick to the pan).

3. Gravy and Biscuit  Do not eat this. It’s rubbish.

There has been some stunning scenery all along the coastline north of San Francisco. I have joined the army of people snapping away at the California coast looking for that perfect shot of the roacks and headlands.

California Coast North of Fort Bragg
California Coast

One of the great disadvantages of hard-core solo adventure travel is that you do not enjoy the luxury of duty division at the campsite that others enjoy. Couples I’ve camped with can have the tent pitched and the noodles on the boil long before your long-suffering solo correspondent has had the chance to scratch himself. Am tempted therefore to look for a woman who can share some of the load and duties. The task that is easily the most onerous (for me at least) is getting the sleeping bag stuffed back in the sack each morning: A song therefore (after Cat Stevens):

I’m lookin’ for a bag-stuffin’ woman,

One to stuff my sleepin’ bag-a-a-ag….

When I find that bag-stuffin’ woman,

I won’t be stuffin’ my own ba–hag -ag, no, no. no-o-o

 

I’m lookin’ for a bag-stuffin’ woman, [- stuffin’ woman]

I can cook and do the rest, -est -est,

When I find that bag-stuffin’ woman,

I’m goin’ ta watch her get undressed – yes, yes, yes….yes I will…

I know a lot of fancy campers,
people claiming they’re hardcore –ore, -ore.
They move so smooth but aren’t good sleeping bag stuffers
When you ask “Why’d you come here for?”
“I don’t know” “Why?” ……

5th November (75 Miles) (Bodega Bay – San Francisco)

Golden Gate

The ride into town was complicated by two hours of rain and the delay of stopping at an oyster bar 30 miles up the cost (Hog Island Oysters – highly recommended). It was therefore a very sodden cyclist that hit town via the Golden Gate Bridge.

What a wonderful wonderful city. This is a seriously beautiful city with scale and class and great eateries, drinkeries and gritty bits. OK, I’ll grant that it is full of a lot of odd people and there are some parts that smell a bit of wee, particularly in the inner suburb of Tenderloin where your correspondent is now ensconced. But this is all part of SF’s charm and coming over the Golden Gate Bridge (see video) I’m elated just to arrive here and very much looking forward to spending time here exploring the place.

Downtown in The ‘Loin’ there are loads of people talking to themselves – gibbering away in a meth-induced haze. A cop car is chasing some guy who is riding a bicycle and my money is on the cyclist escaping as he has some clever cut-back maneuvers that are frustrating his pursuer who needs to reverse and start after him again as he darts up another side street. The veterans Day (Armistice Day) parade is on with people dropping their wooden twirling rifles and batons with under-practiced aplomb to great hilarity. Its all happening. China Town, Alcatraz, North Beach and The Loin – have done some serious tourist work this week.

Tucking into huge fry up hash brown and sausage breakfasts each morning and exploring the entertainment districts each night. I tried grits but am disappointed in the sloppy (not very ‘gritty’ at all!) nature of the stuff. My hotel here (The Abigail) is regrettably falling to pieces. At one point the receptionist chap has the temerity to knock on my door and announce that, “No bicycles are allowed in the hotel rooms after 9pm”. I’ve heard some truly idiotic things in my time but this ranks right up there. Was compelled to politely request he go and get knotted: (and pen the below in honour of this hotel):

‘Ohhhh Theee… Abigail Hotel is a load of shit

Be very thankful if you’re not in it,

Heating doesn’t work so get a  blankit

Toilet’s stuffed and its not fixed yit…’

 

It’s amazing but the word-smithing just seems to reach new heights with every mile I pedal. So much so that Buff3ysbicyclingblog has been approached to provide an entry in the ‘Song for San Francisco Competition for 2011′. We have therefore toiled for some hours to come up with an ‘Ode to Tenderloin’, the downtown slumish area of central San Francisco in which my (monumentally average and rapidly disintegrating) hotel is located. Tenderloin’s odd name reportedly is due to the high quality of steak that the police who had this lucrative beat could afford because of rampant corruption here (I didn’t make this one up). It’s now a pretty shoddy example of urban decay and a haven for drug dealers, drunks, addicts, the disenfranchised and people who just mumble to themselves  a lot; a place to score or just while away the afternoon gibbering incomprehensibly to ones self. In amongst all of the human tragedy there is, however, something here that’s got real soul (The Maltese Falcon was set and filmed here!) and which is an oozing, throbbing part of San Francisco. We’ve set the words here with a bit of a jazz feel, free style spewin’ the words onto the page, which seems somehow appropriate to the setting (jazz the Ricky May way – forget about that beat yeah!):

 

[Blues: piano, bass, guitar, harmonica, kazoo]

 

Oh Tenderloin,

You’re tough but you engender….

in me such feelings of delight,…

The boys trans-gendering,

Its very lovely in the Spring

In good ol’ Tenderloin.

 

Oh Tenderloin,

Despite the odor of urine

It’s back to you that I do pine…..

to beee, if only fleetinglyyy….

and mumble incessantly

in good ol’ Tenderloin.

 

Oh Tenderloin,

Your lollies metholated

stir feelings constipated…

of psychosis, schitzophenia

in me,… or him,

in good ol’ Tenderloin.

 

Oh Tenderloin,

Ideas rarely sensible

words incomprehensible

to me,…it’s great to be

so very very fleetingly,

in good ol’ Tenderloin.

 

12th November (25 Miles) (San Francisco – Montara) .

It wasn’t easy to leave San Francisco. The Irish and Welsh contingent have been great pub surfing companions in the past few days and I miss The Loin already. I did, however, manage to get through the city streets and west to the beach then turn left for LA cruising south along the coastal road for a few miles today. It was good to clear the city limits and get back int the cycling after a week of beer and hashbrowns.

The equipment feels good and the bike is now proudly sporting a new set of lovely mud guards and it is even more of a touring weapon.

Montara California
Montara Lighthouse
Little Boxes made of Ticky-Tacky

3 thoughts on “Part Nine – San Francisco

  • Excellent song writing, I see what all the fuss has been about now. Are you writing the music as you go too? Did you take your double bass with you??

  • I just found the spam file on this blog. It appears that all manner of lovely comment has been tucked away in there (including one from Shona who is up me for my rubbish spelling! – I did point out at one stage that I never had no book lernin’ and do have a tenancy to invent words at whim!). Also some encouragement from someone calling themselves ‘botbotrumpypumpy.com’. Thanks to you all. I’m claiming there are at least 3 more people out there somewhere looking at this blog!

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