Point of clarification: I don’t like bike camping, exactly. I just like it better than riding very far or very fast or anywhere I’ve already been a hundred times.
Biggest mystery: Is Blazing Saddles just hiding the bodies? I’d think it impossible that there shouldn’t be fatalities, daily. These are visitors from flat cities full of Fiats and baguettes; it seems almost unconscionable to send them wobbling out into our world.
Disaster averted: Samuel P. Taylor is the Bay Area bike-in standard and consequently overrun with people hipper than me. In Fairfax I encountered an artisanally disheveled couple going my way. The sight of their frayed denim crystallized my unease at the prospect of sharing a site with people who might judge me for my lack of tattoos, vintage ride, or any method of preparing my own coffee. Imagine my relief, then, when the ranger instead placed me with two French retirees: we shared only a brief and amicable exchange about the weather and the best rock for setting tent stakes. Quel soulagement!
Shit roadies say … in front of me, while I’m eating a scone the size of my head in Point Reyes Station: “I mean, if you’re just puttering along in Zone 1 or 2, you really might as well not be riding your bike.”
Animals I didn’t see (even though I probably should have before they’re all dead): Tule elk. I planned on setting up at Sky Camp Sunday morning and then riding to Pierce Point on safari. I did not plan on it being 95 degrees and humid. Once up Limantour Road was enough—I went on a walk to Kelham Beach instead.
Things I had to disregard in order to do this: The time, my metatarsals, my shirt.
Animals I did see: A raptor dark against the sun, grasping a wriggling fish. A live snake I thought was dead; a dead seal I thought I was alive. Quails: they preened in the trees, burst out of the bushes, throbbed in the air. A whale! (Well, the splash and spouting water, but still.) A beetle, the flat and total black of a pitch-dark room. Pelicans in pairs. A crow alone. A buck bounding away, stiff-legged, hilarious.