Update form Sacramento

Day 2:
Left San Francisco on the early ferry to Vallejo. At the dock we met a group of 25 people riding from SF to DC to raise awareness of poverty in America. We rode with them for a couple days. Getting off the ferry, we promptly made a wrong turn and ended up going about three miles and one large hill out of our way. It was unseasonably hot, over 100 degrees. Pleasant’s Valley road was the highlight of the day. That night we ended up in Davis, the first place where we wanted to move (we will find more J. Davis is extremely bike friendly and liberal, especially for a valley town. Lots of young people everywhere, great farmer’s market… Had a great pasta dinner at a place called Fuzio’s and we were set. We were drained from riding 70 miles in 100 degrees but happy.

Day 3: Davis to Folsom
The ride from Davis to Folsom was very nice. Davis to Sacramento isn’t such a nice ride but the route from Sacramento to Folsom follows the American river bicycle trail. This was my favorite ride when I used to live in Auburn and still is quite familiar. It was a good thing we started early because it was 104 degrees by the time we hit Folsom at 12:30. I guzzled two huge glasses of ice cold lemonade before lunch to feel normal again.

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Off we go! San Francisco to NYC

5/31/2003 10:14 PM
Presidio Inn San Francisco

Yeah! We are on the road. After months of planning and training we are finally on the road. And what a great day to start! The weather was perfect cycling weather, mid 70s and sunny. Sunny in San Francisco on May 31! We’ll take that as a sign.

It is funny and very cool to be leaving on such an adventure right from our front door and spending the night in a city that is so familiar to us. One the one hand, we left the house today on a “normal” ride and ended up eating in one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in the city, La Marimba on Chestnut Street, just a few blocks from where I lived when Gabi and I got together.

But on the other hand, we know that tomorrow morning we will be heading East on a ferry to Vallejo and spending tomorrow night in Davis. Still familiar territory but every day we go further East, and pretty soon we will be in very unfamiliar territory indeed.

Today’s ride was great. Canada Rd. to Crystal Springs Trail to Skyline into San Francisco. Once into the city, along the Great Highway along Ocean Beach, then through Golden Gate park and the Presidio to Crissey field and the Marina. I wonder why we never have done this ride in the past?

We met a very nice couple by the bridge while we were getting a photo. The guy says “New York or bust!” as he walks past us. Gabi says, “well as a matter of fact, we are leaving for New York today”! Turns out they were from NYC and quite typically very outgoing and friendly folks.

Had a very nice send off from Ian, Beth and the girls too. They sent us off with homemade cookies and a bon voyage!

First Day’s Route to San Francisco

We were not exactly sure of the best way to get from our house near Woodside to San Francisco.

We thought that the best way would be to take one of our normal routes toward Crystal Springs and just keep going. It turns out that is just the thing to do. A little googling turned up The San Mateo County Scenic Bicycle Route. Piece of cake. So come next Saturday, we load up, hit the road and follow this route right to Ocean Beach where we will do the ceremonial Pacific Coast tire dip. Maybe. Or maybe we will do it at Crissey field which is a place near and dear to us.

Which Route to Take

We keep changing our minds but today we think we will leave from our house and head east along the Western Express.

We wanted to take this route all along but were intimidated by the passes and the remoteness of the route. Then, just over the past few days a couple of things happened that changed our mind.

First, we ran into a young man named Garth in Healdsburg who works at the local bike shop (Spoke Folk Cyclery) who took this route last year. We talked at length and came away believing that it was doable.

Then just last night we were checking out the first section on the web. The crossing of the Sierra Nevada my be the most extreme part of the whole trip so we wanted to check out lodgings and elevation gains along the route.

And what did we find? Nothing less than a great review of the scariest part of the ride, Mormon Emigrant Trail to Silver Lake by our local bike shop.

Being the superstitious mud eaters that we are, we took this as a sign. Now we are commited. You can’t go against the signs!

Sonoma in May, Wine Country Century

It is time to head to Healdsburg again for the Wine Country Century.

This year the century will be our big tune up ride for the trip across country. At one hundred miles, it is farther than we plan to ride on a daily basis, but it is only one day and we are not hauling any gear.

This century is the one we do every year. It is beautiful country and a great excuse to head to the wine country for a long weekend. How can you beat:

A big ride

wcc-ride

A nice meal and of course, wine.

armida-pinot

New IT Department for Team Tandem

After much though and visits to CNET and eBay, we have finally put together our travelling IT department! Originally we thought we would use an iPaq and accesories (keyboard, modem, etc) to keep in touch on the road. After all Gabi works at HP and the solution would be light.
But after pricing it out and adding up the weight of the whole collection of goodies, it started to really add up. So we decided to go with this instead:
tiny-open
I found a slightly used Sony PictureBook on eBay for a great price. The price was less that what the iPaq plus accessories would have costed and, at 2.2 lbs, the whole thing only weighs a little more. I’ve been using it for a couple of days now and must say that I love this little thing. Not only is it a great travel machine, it is faster and better than my current home machine. The current home machine is about to become a hand me down.

Vermont 2000 photo album posted

We finally have our photo album section of the site up and running.

In September 2000 we toured Vermont by bicycle for a week. We have just posted a set of photos from the trip to our flickr account here. It is the first album and going through this process helped to iron out some of the issues with the design and layout of the photo weblog (originally using pMachine, now on flickr).

We timed the trip to be after school started and before the changing of the leaves in Autumn. Doing so, we ended up with great riding conditions and no problems finding lodging. I think that we made reservations for the first night we stayed in Brattleborough but that is it. For the rest of the trip we just winged it.

We hope you enjoy it!

How to Journal from the road

I just discovered a client weblog tool that works with pMachine called wBloggar
One of the challenges to journaling from the road is that we might not have internet access when we want to create a journal entry. wBloggar solves this very nicely. It is a little windows client application that lets you create your entries locally then publish them to your web log.
It also has some pretty advanced features like:

  • Custom tags (I just added the list item tag 🙂
  • Spell checking
  • WSIWG editing
  • File upload
  • Basic HTML tag support

I’m hoping it will work on an iPaq!.

PS: I just posted this with wBloggar!

Maps of our trip from Cartographe

We have been working with a small French company called Cartographe on interactive maps for our trip.

The idea is to have a set of interactive maps that cover the route of our trip this summer. When we post a journal entry from the road, we will optionally add the coordinates of the location where the post is made. This will then add an interactive link to the map for that leg of the trip. Fabrice Fontaine has been extremely helpful. He has worked up a prototype for us. Fabrice is in the process of transferring his domain, otherwise I would add a link to Cartographe.

I now need to spend some time figuring out how to best integrate this with our site and with pMachine. The structure of the site could end up changing quite a bit. Maps are central to a journey and they probably should be central to a site about our journeys.

Also the map coordinates are driven from an XML file. This means that in order to have a web based way of updating the map, I need to create some additional UI to enter the map coordinates and link to a post. Not difficult but it means that a user would need to go to two separate pages to create a post. One for the post itself and another for the map link. Integrating with pMachine directly would be a good idea. Perhaps I could use the custom fields and work with Fabrice on a different way to access the coordinates either using the existing pMachine tags or even MySQL directly.

Stay tuned.

Training Officially Begins

Training officially begins…

Wow I have a great bike!

After 5 years of tandem cycling with Robert, today I went spinning on my own Trek 2000 WSD, with Shimano 105 components. Believe me, the model number of the componentry didn’t impress me one iota until I had to climb hills today. When the derailleur shifted like buttah (to be read with a nasal NYC accent) I instantly became a converted cool gear enthusiast. Not all componentry is created equal, I finally admitted to Robert as I compared this smooth sensation to lesser components on other bikes I had sampled.

2003 Trek 2000 WSD