Day 1 - San Francisco to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

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April 15, 2002 ( ~ 50 miles)

Almost every single day of our trip Ryan, who did most of the route planning, would say, "Today is going to be a short and easy day." That was almost always a lie, although the first day had the most promise as a short and easy day. All we had to do was take the ferry from San Francisco to Vallejo (about 1 hour) and then ride about 45 flat miles to Calistoga.

My favorite picture from this day is Ryan standing outside his apartment. He is so excited! We took a bunch of photos on the dock too while we waited for the ferry. Our bikes got all wet on the ride to Vallejo, which I did not like at all because I am always concerned that my seat will be ruined by rain or whatever. Ryan took it better because his seat is not comfortable to begin with. More about this later.

We kind of got lost in Vallejo and ended up going through a lot of residential neighborhoods. We saw an out-of-business bakery. As bakers, we did not like that at all.

After riding about 20 minutes, I was already hungry so we stopped and ate some of the millions of pastries we brought from our bakery. This was perhaps the first indication that we were not in top form.

We rode to Napa via the busy highway 29. It's kind of a crappy road, but I was happy to ride it because I once found a screwdriver on the side of that road and if I find something somewhere, I always think the location will yield other treasures. Not so on Day One, but whatever.

By the time we got to Napa, I was hungry again. It was like a whole 12 miles from our first feed site. I made us stop at a café (First Squeeze Deli & Juice Bar) in downtown Napa where I had a cheese sandwich and pasta salad. Ryan complained that we were not far enough from civilization yet, etc. But when he saw my delicious sandwich he ordered one for himself.

Napa is pretty small and so it is surprising that we got so lost in it. We went several miles out of our way and ultimately had to ask directions to the Silverado Trail Road. This is a nice road, but I have to say that I liked it better when I was in shape. It was a beautiful day, but there was a naggy little headwind and I started to get irritated with all the pretentious little wineries that so wish they were European. And in the spring there's no grapes to eat. Still, we were very happy to be underway.

We stopped for more snacks at a picnic bench set off to the side of the road. Ryan did not like this location at all, because he was unsure who the picnic bench belonged too and he was worried that we would get kicked out. As the trip progressed, Ryan became much less paranoid and would dine or pee happily almost anywhere.

All of this eating and slow riding took a long time and by the time we were almost to our campground it was around 3:00. We were only a couple miles away but I sat down and told Ryan I needed a snack. This was the first time we admitted to each other that we were out of shape. Ryan also admitted that his butt was sore.

Our campground, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, was excellent. It was probably the best one of the trip. We saw a wild turkey there, acting kind of tame.

As a fast metabolizer, I know that it's important to eat super quick after riding. So we set up our tent and then rode to nearby Calistoga for dinner. Calistoga is unfortunately kind of a yuppie ghetto, and there was no good eats to be had. Everything was "Yuppie Grill" this, "Yuppie Grill" that. We were not having it. We got groceries instead and I made some salad and kind of icky pasta. I did not sauté the garlic by itself, that was my mistake. Ryan didn't care though. He was bonking just a little bit by then, though he would not admit it.

Food cheered him up considerably, and then he found some unburned firewood and burned it. Ryan loves fire!

We then took showers and went to sleep.