Monday, March 23, 2015

Pleasant Hill, CA: Anticipation Becomes Reality

The bikes have new tires. Our panniers are filled with camping gear and way too much food. And John has learned enough French to get by. After months of planning and anticipation we are on our way to Europe! It is a few hundred miles from our house to Oakland Airport. On past trips we transported our bikes in our car to my sister's house and left the car in her garage for the duration of the trip. But now we have our own garage, so we decided to find a way to leave the car at home and somehow get ourselves and our bikes over the mountains and to the Bay Area. So two days, two buses, one train, and some muscle power brought us to my sister's doorstep. 
An early morning start, heading towards the June Lake Junction as the sun comes up and the temperature gets above freezing.
We took advantage of the Eastern Sierra Transport Authority (ESTA) bus that stops at June Lake Junction to get us to Reno. We were up early to load the bikes and shut down the utilities at the house. With a few minutes to spare we weighed our gear. It's not like we don't know how to pack light -- we backpack and have done this bike tour thing before. But we had 65 pounds of gear each, not counting the bikes themselves. Ouch! As we were biking from the house to the junction I started listing in my mind what gear to leave at my sister's. Our neighbor Joe passed us on the way, and we unburdened ourselves of a couple pounds of trail mix and other dense food -- I am sure he was glad he stopped! 
Our bikes on the front of the ESTA bus. We appreciated the sturdiness of the racks and that it wasn't snowing.

We stayed the night in Reno on the 23rd floor, looking down on the Amtrak station from where we would depart the next morning. A bus then transported us to Sacramento, and then it was an hour and a half by train to the station in Martinez. We cycled the last ten miles to my sister's house in Pleasant Hill. That familiar feeling of pedaling much and moving slowly on a bike that steers like ship came back. It was a good feeling.   Really!
Downtown Reno from our room.  It was pretty exciting when the Circus Circus clown lit up.
Casting a long shadow at sunrise outside the Amtrak station in Reno.
 We had a couple of layover days, so we had some time to do a Sunday morning ride along the Iron Horse Regional Trail. which follows the former railway right-of-way. It was flat. Our bikes were unloaded. It was easy. Things are going to be a little different when we land in Barcelona, just 20 hours away as I write this. Anticipation will then become reality.
Bridge on the Iron Horse Rail Trail

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