Day 7

San Fran

The Golden Gate bridge and the DR at Marine Drive, San Fransisco, California, USA
The Golden Gate bridge and the DR at Marine Drive, San Fransisco, California, USA

San Jose to by the side of the road, Newport CA


I said my goodbyes to Tim and his housemate and thanked them for their hospitality. It was great to see him and get some much needed rest. It was early in the morning, around 8am. I got the snacks I bought from the supermarket and loaded them onto the bike. I followed a car out the carpark gate.

I grabbed some fuel, checked my tyre pressured and rode to the In and Out burger. I think it was the wrong one so I tried another. I found the carpark and scoured around the chain wire fence. There was no sign of my glasses. I even walked around the gardens where I pee’d that night. They were gone. Thankfully, I had another pair of normal perscription glasses.

I noticed I had ridden past the PayPal office and recognised a few other tech companies. I was near Sillicon Valley. I decided to check some of the company offices out. They seemed surreal to me. I work and studied IT and these companies were like heros to me. They seemed unreal and so far away from me. I checked Google maps and plugged a few in, including Google!

The first was Oracle. It was pretty uneventful. We had a branch in Melbourne where I did a (horrible) interview. They denied me.

The second was Google. It was the legitimate headquarters I’d seen in textbooks. It was a Saturday so there was no one around. I rode right up to the entrance that was scattered with electric scooters. The campus was big but not huge. I passed a bunch of other branches or ‘campuses’. It quite literally feels like a university the grounds are so big.

The next was Facebook. It was a lot bigger and had a security guard at the gate. I asked him if I could just look around. It was a weird request but he allowed it. The carpark does a loop around the campus. It’s basically just a big sprawling office. It was pretty old. I guess it used to be the old Sun Microsystems headquarters. I rode around the campus and found a ferris wheel, jumping castles and rides. It was like a showground out the back of the office! It was quite bizarre but impressive. They obviously try to look after people at Facebook, even if it seemed a bit childish and exporbanant.

I went to Tesla as well. There was security there. I said hello and the guy told me I couldn’t come inside. I tried to take a picture of the sign and he stopped me. “No pictures”, he said. “Not even of the sign?”, I replied. “No” “That’s ridiculous” I rode off. I remember Tim telling me they had made a temporary assembly line in the carpark because they couldn’t reach demand. He was right. I could see it and they were trying to hide it from the media. Not very well. I continued on my way to San Fransisco. I missed Apple HQ.

I rode up the mountains to get to San Fransisco. It was nice to be in the mountains again. I chased a motorbike on my way up to Alice’s restuauant. It reminded me of Mt. Dandenong ranges where my parents live near Sassafras. It was like a hotspot for motorbikes/cars to drive up on a weekend. Everyone was corporaty. It looked more for show compared to what I was doing. Likely money from the tech companies in Silicon Valley. I chatted to a guy who rode the yamaha parked next to me.

I continued down to the highway and noticed the Golden Gate National Cemetery. I quickly pulled off the highway. I’m glad I did. I rode to the centre monument. I’d seen things like this on the movies. I wasn’t ready for the real thing. It’s rows and rows of white tombstones. It’s unbelievable how many there are and this is just one city. The number of people who gave their lives for the country is crazy. I see why they’re so military obsessed. I gave a moments silence to the fallen as I watched a family in the distance lay flowers. May they rest in peace.

I continued into San Fransisco. The city surrounded by mountains. I grabbed some fuel and noticed some of those steep streets with houses on them. I passed a couple of opportunities and decided to jump off the main road and ride to one. It was a dead end street that went upwards like a slide. It wasn’t the flat top ones your see 80s cop cars jumping over. Holy shit though. It was steep! I almost fell off the motorbike trying to navigate a u-turn. It felt like 45 degrees. I know it wasn’t, but with short legs and a fully loaded bike, it did. I bet all the handbrakes work in San Fransisco!

I rode into the city. I stopped at the Uber headquarters which was uneventful. It was just a signpost and a security guard out the front. It was uninspiring considering the influence it’s had on the world.

I continued up to where the real hills with the flats were. I saw the tram and Lombard St (which looked a bit busy to ride up). I found a view of Alcatraz before continuing down to the pier to get a sweet view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a spectacular view looking over the bay and a wonderful city. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I asked a lady to take a picture of me by the bridge and I gotta say, I look awful.

The best part of the Golden Gate Bridge is riding over it. It was free! God damn it goes for a while. Once you’re over it, you’re out of San Fran. I was back on the windy bits going towards Highway 1 again. It was pretty built up until you got to the coast but it’s pretty quick to get out of San Fran and into the wilderness.

I got to a cute place called Stinson Beach. It reminded me of home. The traffic was still heavy until I got out and it turned to farmland. It was quite picturesque. The land was so much like back home. The cows, dry grass and even eucalyptus trees dotted along the road. It’s was incredible. I remember riding past a couple of small shacks that sold fresh oysters. I decided I’d stop at the next one… It never came.

Later my friend drove up highway 1 with his girlfriend. He mentioned how great the oysters were! 🤦‍♀️

I don’t remember much on the ride up to the campground. I believe it was fairly straight-forward. You can tell by the pictures. I met the girl outside the Elk store but I can’t remember what the hell I was doing there. She seemed keen for me to stay at her house I think.

When I arrived at the campground. I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t a camp ground per-say. It was more a clearing by the side of the road. This is bullshit. I Googled for a campground further up the Highway. There was one about 20 minutes away.

I rode up the highway. On one side it was water, the other fenced off farm land. I eventually rolled into the campground. There was a booth with a boom gate. This was a paid campground. Ugh. I waited for the caravan in front of me to move forward as a couple of cars lined up behind me. The caravan moved forward. I greeted the ranger at the gate. “Hey mate, have you got any space?”, I yelled through my helmet “Ah, I think so, over at lot 35, there’s a couple of spots left.” “How much is it?” “35 dollars” “Gee, that’s a bit steep”, I had no intention of paying that much. “It’s got toilets and showers” “Alright, can I check it out and come back?” “Sure” The ranger got out a map and showed me where the lot was. I rode down through the park and towards the spot he told me to go. I rode along small road dotted with speed humps. Kids and families looked at me. It was school holidays. I approached the lot and looked to my left. It was a piece of grass surrounded by families of kids running around only meters away. I don’t want to sleep there. I circled and rode out.

I went inland to find a quiet place off the side of the road to camp. There was nothing hidden. There was nothing but fences and driveways. The road came to an end. I went back to the coast. I continued North up Highway 1. It was getting dark. I couldn’t find anything. I conceded and doubled back to the original campground off the side of the road.

I pulled into the patch 25 minutes later. It was more of a carpark than anything. I spotted a lone buch on the North side on a slight hill. It was backed by high grass with a house further up. I rode the bike through the tall grass and parked behind it. I popped the tent behind the bush. It wouldn’ve been mostly hidden from on-coming cars along the highway. I really didn’t want anyone pulling in later at night and giving me a surprise visit.

I got my campstove started to make some mac & cheese as a vehicle pulled into the clearing. I crouched by my bush and peered at the car. The lights shown towards me and the bush before turning and revering. I wondered if they saw me. I watched the vehicle. The driver appeared to put something to cover the windshield. It seemed as if they were going to sleep in it. I felt safer knowing I had a camping buddy.

I eventually hoped into my tent and curled into my sleeping bag. The sound of the ocean crashing against the waves was loud and soothing. The noise of cars driving past was not. I somehow managed to fall asleep in the discomfort of feeling vulnerable and unsafe. The ocean soothed me.

A lot of people sleep in their cars on the side of the road in the USA



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