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Pertwee bike

San Francisco, Day 12: The Bear Claw on Pear Street (22/01)

A kind and generous host, Jim loaded a hundred-mile route into his sat-nav and turned the two of us loose on the two 300s. We set off before the fog had lifted, and the first miles were chilly ones. The sun came out, we stopped for petrol and afterwards spotted a little cafe called the Bear Claw, with teddy bears painted on the windows. Warming up seemed like a good plan, and soon we were ensconced with coffee, free wi-fi, and the house speciality, which was of course the bear claw itself. (It's a pastry filled with almond paste, and Howard's new favourite thing.)

We'd been warned that the next stage was badlands - "Do not go off the road!" - and made haste past industrial estates and enormous lorries to the spectacular sweep of the Richmond Bridge, which Wikipedia tells me is over five miles long.

This was the day that everyone wanted to tell us how cute the Vespas were. The tollbooth attendant on the bridge, when I approached with my fistful of dollars, said "Well hello there! Thank you!" in the kind of voice you'd use for a dog bringing you the newspaper. The Vespa effect, there.

After a stop to buy sandwiches, we left the towns and climbed mountain roads with groups of gentle deer and distant views of jagged, misty pines. We started to descend, and I wondered if we had missed the national park we were supposed to be visiting. A pretty lake crossed by a long, low bridge, then a turnoff down wet and twisting woodland roads. This was the national park! We took the road as high as it went, passing the observatory that had recently been a small white bubble high above and far away, and when the road ran out we parked and walked the rest.

We'd learned in San Francisco that any walk in the USA is a 'hike', and laughed about it, but this genuinely was, with rocks to scramble over. At last we were at the top - the top of Mount Tamalpais, known affectionately as 'Mount Tam', with views of the Richmond Bridge and as far as San Francisco. We ate our sandwiches and headed back down.

The return trip took in a little of Highway 1, with coastal views and wide open bends that could be attacked in a very different manner to the mountain twisties. Then it was back on the Richmond Bridge, now rush hour busy, and through the towns to Pleasant Hill in the fading light.

When we got in, I told Howard I was so cold I just wanted to sit down under several cats. Fortunately, this could be arranged.


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Ah, yes, Richmond.. where rents are semi-affordable, for a reason. =:/ (Still, as long as you're working in a skilled profession, wages accommodate the eye-watering rents of the region. Quite how everyone else manages, I don't know)

Mm, there are some absolutely spectacular views to be had from the regional summits. It's quite breathtaking to look out upon all of the bridges at the same time, and one of them being the Golden Gate, of course, and the Pacific stretching off to the horizon. (And skies like those don't hurt, either.. ! British winters are so grey. Today was pretty nice, though - if I hadn't been enjoying quite so much superb beer and cider last night, it would've a perfect day to head down to the old bunspot - but that's far enough that I need to set off around 10-11am to make it worthwhile, and I didn't re-engage consciousness until a bit past noon =:)

So.. think you'll return to the Bay? ^_^
Oh, I do hope so!

One of our hosts was summoned to jury duty in Richmond while we were staying. She was not pleased.
fistful of dollars


I'm curious, why couldn't (or shouldn't) you go off the road there?

The national park sounds (and looks) very nice, too.
We were told it was an area of...well, it was vague, but 'not very nice people' was the impression we got. Presumably folks who would skin and gut a Vespa!