I have a hard time doing nothing. The tiny voice in my head nags me if I’m not moving, doing, or somehow being productive. After 29 consecutive days of bike touring 1300 miles, however, even my inner drill sergeant was ready for a rest.
Tyler and I embraced the break whole-stomachly, continuing our daily caloric intake roughly equivalent to that of a baby killer whale. Two weeks of chocolate birthday cake and s’mores made our bathing suits tighter than they were when we entered San Francisco, and I think it suits us well.
After stuffing ourselves with the city’s ethnic gastronomy and catching up with friends and family, we drove to LA for my Dad’s 60th birthday party. A fluke thunderstorm washed away the original plan for a back-patio bbq, so instead we gathered inside and sang songs around the guitar and piano as the scotch and wine bottles disappeared into the recycling bin.
My Tio David even flew out from Florida for the festivities, and twirled me around the kitchen to some salsa beats. The following evening a fridge full of leftovers gathered more dry, cool, air while we went out for hour-long thai massages (a treat to celebrate Tyler and my one-year anniversary and Dad’s birthday), and expensive but delicious sushi by Sugarfish.
After a couple days in LA we drove to New Brighton State Beach in Santa Cruz for a week of camping with Tyler’s family. His family and a group of family friends have spent a week in New Brighton every year for almost thirty years! After setting up our tent Tyler whispered in my ear, “we’re going out for dinner.”
Tyler went big. We strode past the Shadowbrook Restaurant plaque reading Expected Attire: Dressy, No beach clothing in our bike tour finest: stained shirts and tights. We had been talking about limiting our meat intake and trying to eat more vegetarian, but the filet mignon and gnocchi and Hawaiian butterfish made us postpone that intention. Bacon, lobster, and campfire sausages made us push the start date back even farther to when we are buying and cooking our own food. We were grateful for ample quantities of everything and were fattening up again for our last ten days of biking.
The best thing about camping at New Brighton has been connecting more with Tyler’s family. All of the kids (aged 25-35) went kayaking at Moss Landing, where we paddled past flotillas of sea otters, seals and sea lions between bellyfuls of inappropriate jokes. I’ve been able to act goofy with Tyler’s two-year old nephew Zayne and get rewarded by his ridiculously cute smile and cry of “Veeee!” Little 10-month old Arlo breaks into a winning smile when presented with a strawberry or chicken bone.
Our last day Tyler’s parents, some friends and I ran in a six-mile fun-run called Wharf to Wharf. The music, crowds, and energy made the race seem effortless and I liked feeling sore in different muscles the next day. Tyler and I are looking forward to the end of the bike tour and a chance to mix up the routine with some climbing, backpacking and running. For now though, it’s back in the saddle for the final 500 miles from SF to LA!