Trial Run #2, Day 2

It misted on and off during the night, and when we woke up around 6:00am, it was blissfully cool and cloudy – such a difference from the death rays of the Sacramento summer sun. As we finished packing everything up, Julie happened to notice that the beach’s complicated animal-proof trashcan was open. Wait a minute! That was definitely closed when we went to bed last night. Maybe Julie wasn’t so crazy after all. There had been somebody on the beach in the middle of the night! Luckily, we didn’t find anything missing. Probably just somebody out for a midnight hike who wanted to enjoy the solitude of the waterfront as much as we did.

Italian stovetop espresso maker, model "Kitty"
Bialetti “Kitty” Moka

The second day we pushed our bikes up to a picnic table at the trailhead and cooked up our usual breakfast omelet and, gloriously, espresso! Unbelievably, it took us about 3 hours to pack, hike up the trail, and make and eat breakfast. We weren’t in a rush, but we weren’t reading the Sunday paper, either. In any case, it was a wonderful way to begin the day: a yummy and filling breakfast, and two pots of dark, rich coffee using our Italian stove top coffee maker. Mmmmm!

Our breakfast spot. Unusual to have a picnic table at a trailhead just feet from the parking lot.

The riding on Day 2 was harder than Day 1. Our legs were tired, for one. Who are we kidding…all of us was tired! And it seemed like we did a lot more climbing Day 2 than yesterday. Maybe it was being on Highway 1 (aka Pacific Coast Highway) all day, without any right or left hand turns to make us stop and consider our route, so no mini-breaks throughout the day.

The coast is just beyond this foggy ridgeline that parallels Highway 1.
The coast is just beyond this foggy ridgeline that parallels Highway 1.

On Highway 1, we rode much of the day on or towering above the coast. It was spectacular. Definitely challenging, grinding up the hills at 4 miles per hour. But blessedly cool and beautiful. Even while careening back down the backside of hills we’d just struggled to climb up, knowing we were about to start ascending yet another hill, we loved it.

A view of the coastline. We down there just a few minutes ago. Well, at our speed, maybe more than a few minutes ago...
A view of the coastline. We were way down there just a few minutes ago. Well, at our speed, maybe more than a few minutes ago…
Another view of the beautiful Marin coastline
Another view of the beautiful Marin coastline

It was such a rush to know that we were doing it! We were actually doing it! We weren’t just on our regular ole bike trail at home. We were on an adventure, trying something completely new, and we were succeeding! And we’d wild camped on the beach! And we’d brewed our own delicious coffee! (Coffee is a big thing with Julie.) We were giddy.

Mark climbing Highway 1
Mark climbing Highway 1
Julie climbing Highway 1
Julie climbing Highway 1

Two-thirds up the last hill (although we didn’t yet know it was the last hill), we took a short break. Giddy turned to punchy, and our legs of steel turned to noodles. Somehow, we made it up that last hill and then zoomed down, down, down for miles, almost all the way back to our starting point in Mill Valley. Glorious!

And the burgers we ate for lunch at 4:30 that afternoon in Mill Valley were the most expensive (we were in Marin, after all!) and most delicious burgers we’ve ever eaten.

There were several times along the ride that Julie thought it would be nice to snap a photo, but didn’t want to take the time to stop, pull the phone out of the handlebar bag, and take a picture. Call us lazy, but sometimes it’s so hard to build up momentum, or the freewheeling downhill is so much fun, that the last thing you want to do is stop. Maybe we need to get a GoPro. We seem to get too distracted to take the photos we know we’ll wish we had taken.

Silhouette of dog lifting its leg on a fire hydrant, painted on the side of a fence. It says "You complete me..."
We made a point of stopping to get a photo of this fence art. It says, “You complete me…”

We also want to say a word about the traffic on Hwy 1. At times there was a shoulder for us to ride on, at times there wasn’t. At times we set a good pace (for a bike) and at times we climbed achingly slow. And every single car and truck was exceedingly considerate. Not a single honk (except of encouragement). No frustrated drivers yelling at us. Nobody tailgating us, threateningly revving their engines. Nothing. Every driver waited until it was clear to go around and then they gave us a wide berth. Thank you Marin drivers!!!

In the end, we rode 38 miles on Day 1 and 37 miles on Day 2 for a total of 75 miles. And we climbed…are you ready for this?…approximately 6500 feet over the two days! That’s what our GPS says. Honest to god, that’s what it calculated, and we think we’re reading it correctly. We’re rock stars!!!