Last night we were fortunate enough to have met Joanne and Hector, who took us out of the pouring rain when all hope seemed lost on finding a place to lay our heads. The original game plan was to camp in Yosemite, but as you know, plans go right out the window knowing that a snow storm is on its way. We had to get down in elevation and time was running out. We rode west and ended up taking a break at McDonald’s in a town called Oakdale and used their Wi-Fi to get information on any BLM land in the area; there was nothing. Then it started pouring rain and the thought of setting up camp in a downpour was something we were not looking forward to. I knew there would be days like these, but that didn’t stop myself from asking “Why now? Why not later?” After a moment or two of getting ourselves psyched up about riding in the rain, we donned our rain gear and ventured out into the unknown in search of a camping spot. We rode around the area for what seemed like hours, but there was nothing. Lots of farming land, but it was all fenced in. We didn’t have the cojones to hop the fence and camp on somebody’s land just yet; we probably never will either. We continued searching. We spotted a state park on the GPS, but it was gated and they charged a ridiculous amount. I recognized that the situation that we’re in now could lead to a heated argument at any moment as our patience was wearing thin. I wasn’t quite sure where Amanda stood on the situation that we were in. By now it was getting dark, temperature colder, and the rain hadn’t let up for one second. If Amanda suggested we bite the bullet and fork out the dough on this one, I would have; but she didn’t. She wanted to keep trying and that was alright with me. Often I have heard stories of how riding partners end up splitting up and going their separate ways whether it may be from miscommunication or simply different lifestyles. I think both Amanda and I are lucky that more often than not, we’re on the same page and that we can still find humor when the going gets tough. Today was challenging though because the more we continued searching, the more it seemed impossible that we were going to find a suitable place to camp. We were drawing nearer to our breaking point, but something in our heads told us not to give up and to keep looking. Amanda spotted a church and pulled in. An evening service was just about to begin and we needed some time out of the rain and get our heads straight. The service was in Spanish and everyone in the church was Mexican, but that didn’t stop them from welcoming us with open arms. Someone even brought us English bibles so that we can follow along. We were physically and mentally exhausted, but sitting here and listening to the words made us feel much calmer. At the end of the service we were approached by a couple and we introduced ourselves. We told them where we’re from and what we were doing and asked them whether it was ok to pitch our tent at the back of the church. They politely refused…and offered their home instead. This was how we met Joanne and Hector.
This morning we met Joanne and Hector’s two sons over brunch Joanne had made. It doesn’t get any more authentic than this; much better than the Taco Bell we’re used to.
We thanked Joanne and Hector for their kindness and hospitality and continued to head west for San Francisco. Forgot to mention I was pulled over by a cop last night on our way to Joanne and Hector’s house because my headlight had blown out. Thankfully he let me off the hook as we were minutes away from their house. We stopped at an AutoZone and picked one up before leaving Oakdale.
When I stopped to pay the toll at Bay Bridge, the attendant actually thought I was a U.S. Marshall from the badge that I had on from Tombstone, Arizona and asked if I was on duty. For a second I was so tempted to cook up a story of how we’re on the trail of some guy who broke out of jail, but my honesty prevailed and told him the badge was just a souvenir.
Riding on the Golden Gate Bridge
An icon of San Francisco
This is definitely another one of those monumental moments in the trip because for me, the Golden Gate Bridge symbolizes the West Coast of the United States
Welcome to The Rock! The infamous former federal prison known as Alcatraz.
We ended up riding along north on the pacific coast highway and turned off at a side road that led us to a small town called Bolinas. There was a volunteer fire hall and beside it was a baseball field we were eyeing to pitch our tent when the sun went down. We spoke to the fire chief to see if it was alright and she had no problems with it whatsoever. Later on in the evening just as we finished setting up our tent, her husband came bumbling along the field on his own KLR just to chat with us and hear our story.
Nowhere to be found.
Ask and it will be given.
Always be hopeful.