Day 9: Davis to San Francisco
69.36 miles -- 6 hours 6 minutes in the saddle

The entire focus of this day's ride was to get to Vallejo in time for the 4:10 ferry to San Francisco. I knew it was about 65 miles to Vallejo and that at the end there would be some hills and there was likely to be headwinds. As part of my day's preparation I made three peanut butter sandwiches so that I wouldn't have to stop for a meal, which would take too much time to eat. I was up and out by 8:30 after a breakfast of yogurt, apples, and raisins.

The first town after Davis is Winters about 14 miles west of Davis. The road there is through orchards. The roads are straight and flat. There was a bit of breeze but nothing to slow me down. To get to Winters, you have to go over Putah Creek.

I ate my first peanut butter sandwich in a small park in Winters.

A few miles west of Winters is a resevior whose name I don't recall. I took pictures of it on the way out and, again, on the way back. As you can see, there was a fair number of water fowl in the water.

I rode hard through the oak woodland. As I expected, I had to go over the coastal hills before I got to Vallejo. I kept an eye on the time and knew that it would be close. I pumped up the hills as hard as I could go after 50 miles. There are also some hills in Vallejo itself. I dug hard to get up and over them as it was going to very close.

The ferry was still there when I pulled up and I was able to buy a ticket on the boat. It left 2 minutes after I got on board. I hadn't intended to cut it that close. Again, I was going in the non-commute direction and there were only 4 people on the entire ferry.

Once back in San Francisco, I checked out the San Francisco bike map (available at one of the Embarcadero shops) and found a relatively level route from there to my house. The route through town was new to me and I enjoyed seeing that part of San Francisco on a bike. I'd always wondered how I might get south of Market Street on a bike without having to traverse some very steep hill. Now I know.

I got home just as it was getting dark. As I pulled up, my next door neighbor was getting home from work. She asked where I was coming from as I look pretty tired. We spoke briefly and then I climbed the stairs up to the front door, put away my bike, and took a nap.

This was the third tour I've taken this year for a total of 35 days on the road. I'd been wondering what this route was like and did I have the strength and stamina to do it. I now have that much more experience and knowledge of what my body can (and can't) do. While I believe I could go cross-county, I'm not sure that I would want to continue this route all the way to Colorado and onto the Transamerica. It looks like a lot of sage brush and desert.

Bike touring also involves a lot of time spent in hotel rooms or in a tent, mostly passing time until the next day and back on the bike. Going solo, like I've always done, gets a bit lonely at times and watching all that TV doesn't help. That said, I am very glad to have tried and succeed on this tour. I don't have another destination in mind but am already looking forward to the next challenge. Until then, I will enjoy the experience of riding an unloaded bike around the San Francisco bay area.

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