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California is like a bowl of cereal, it’s full of fruits, nuts and flakes.

I’m terrible at remembering quotes usually, so Scott’s comment gets thrown in here for two reasons. It made me laugh, and I remembered it! I wish I had a quote like that for each state.

The other highlight of our morning after eating bacon, eggs and cheese for breakfast was watching a BMX video that had been in Scott’s ‘in production’ pile for the last 7 or 8 years. He used to work for a big BMX bike manufacturer and had seen and recommended some of today’s top riders to them when they were still undiscovered teenagers. He had some spectacular footage from over the years and was so knowledgeable about BMX which helped us understand the video at a slightly deeper level than “that looks ridiculously difficult”.

Before we left, Scott took a look at C’s bike and adjusted her derailleur a little as it was making noises. He also looked at mine, but found nothing wrong with it, the glory of a Rohloff.

Scott had mentioned that leaving Willits we would go up a small climb but then be going downhill quickly and then more gradually the rest of the way to our destination of Cloverdale. We didn’t have a host organised in Cloverdale and I had been contacting Kent, our host in Novato, and Laura, our host in SF, about the possibility of arriving early. They were both open to the idea, so I was trying to work out how to make it happen. I was eager to do so, as we had to get to St George, UT on the 19th and it would give us more flexibility in getting there.

I was thinking of that issue after eating ice cream from dollar tree while we climbed out of town. I crested the hill and BANG I looked down and saw a moron in a black coupe had thrown a pear and it had hit my bell. He was now shouting something at me. Considering he was probably going 70mph+, I couldn’t really tell what he was saying. My first thought was to get a picture of the pear remnants on the front of my bike and then I let the driver know what I thought of him. I then took a picture of the car. As you can see below, he had gotten too far away for his licence plate to be visible. If only I’d taken a picture of him straight away I could have spoken to the police about his moronic actions. I had been riding in the shoulder and in a straight line, so had been doing nothing wrong myself. He was probably just an idiot who thought it’d be funny to throw a pear at a cyclist. I’m very lucky that it hit my bell, as considering the pear had exploded on impact with my bell, there was probably a good bit of force behind it. If it had hit my arm, it might have knocked me off target and in to the barrier next to me. What an idiot.

We rode the rest of the hill down in to Ukiah, and I had worked out how we could get to Novato, hitching. Considering how people we didn’t ask were so eager to help us, I imagined that if we asked we would get help straight away. We pulled in to a petrol station near the airport at the south end of town and, after eating some lunch, started asking people for help. It was a lot more awkward to do than I had imagined. Going up to people in trucks who are filling up their cars and starting conversation wasn’t easy. After the first few “I’m going north”, I was starting to lose confidence. C even got a “Don’t bother me” from a guy she said excuse me to. We had asked 10+ people over the space of 30-40 minutes and I was starting to lose hope and decided that I would ask one last person. I walked over to an older guy who was starting to fill up, introduced myself and started to explain the situation. He said of course I can help you. My face lit up, I thanked him and turned to C and even though she was 20ft away immediately knew what had been said.

I walked over to where C was waiting and we rolled our bikes over. With a bit of rearrangement we got our things in the back of his truck and were on the road!

I contacted both Kent and Laura to let them know that we would be getting to them early and then started talking to Bill, the guy who had picked us up. He had been up at a property he was working on and camping for the last 3 days so apologised for his smell which I hadn’t noticed. When I had asked for help, I had merely said we were heading south. Santa Rosa was the next big place on the way so I had been expecting to only get that far. Thankfully, Bill was heading to the Bay Area and so could take us all the way to Novato.

It was a fun ride and we talked about all sorts of things including how we had come to the US with the perception that the US was a land of freedoms and had been taken back by all the restrictions that people face when they are members of a homeowner association. He explained about how they are to protect people’s investments as people don’t want their property devalued because they have a neighbour who has old cars sat round and who doesn’t take care of his lawn. I can understand it to an extent, but the idea that you can’t hang washing out to dry is just foreign to me.

Bill was also against the regulation that dog owners had. He understood and agreed that dogs should be kept on leashes when walking through residential areas, but didn’t agree that they should also be kept on one when they are in more remote places. He had been given several fines for his failure to fall in line with the restriction and had not not paid them. I could see where he was coming from, but having cycled on reservations where the dogs roam free I’m a firm believer that they should be kept under control. It reminded me of a friend of mine in Korea who saw it as his duty as a cyclist to eat dog as often as possible because they are his mortal enemy.

We got to Kent’s place in Novato and said our thank yous to Bill. We knocked on the door and were met by Kent and his wife Charlotte. Charlotte had to go to a nearby house to discuss a future wedding, so we spent the evening talking to Kent before he had to go to the hospital to work. It was simply fascinating talking to Kent. He told us of his trip to Africa to ascend Kilimanjaro with his sons in 2009 and he proudly showed us the solar panels that powered his house. He is an avid cyclist and even though his commute to work wouldn’t be until that evening, he would be doing it by bike. He would ride 15 miles from his house to a parked car at San Rafael bridge, put his bike in the car, drive over the bridge as it doesn’t allow cyclists, then jump out and ride the rest of the way to his hospital. His passion and energy were inspiring and I was so glad to be staying with him.

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