Day 23 - The Dunes: Sonoma Coast State Park to Amtrak Train - July 8, 2014


Awakening at eight o'clock, I noticed that my foot had swollen a bit from the sting. As I get older, I've noticed that I am becoming allergic to things that were not a problem in the past. We hustled our gear together and cycled out to Bodega Bay for breakfast.

While sitting down to eat, I called Amtrak. The Coast Starlight was sold out Wednesday through Friday. The earliest we could leave San Francisco was Saturday, which meant that I would be getting home on Sunday evening. There were seats available on the ten o'clock train leaving Emryville that evening. I didn't want to end the trip taking the airplane because I love train travel. We made the decision to bike the sixty-five miles from Bodega Bay to San Francisco and catch the night train north.

Pastoral Heat

At times, I like to operate under pressure, figuring out things as I go. The decision to catch the train presented me with this situation. We rode, without stopping, to Lagunitas. While there, we rested for forty-five minutes and I had some fruit and a vanilla shake. I enjoyed passing hilly farmland mixed with forests before crossing into Marin County.

Minus One Pedal Wrench

Knowing that we needed to box our bicycles at the station, I was on the lookout for a shop. We found Caesar's Cyclery. The owner was extremely helpful. Snelling bought a fifteen millimeter pedal wrench and we hit the road. Aided by the Adventure Cycle map, we navigated the urban area with ease to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Proud Moment - Golden Gate Bridge

Climbing toward the bridge entrance, the wind was a tyrant. It blew cold and hard. I knew the crossing would be blustery. Seeing Golden Gate after cycling for such a distance made for a memorable moment. My emotions showed up, hardening my throat. Thankfully, the bridge had a bicycle only lane. There were cyclists of all ages pedaling the length of the bridge. About one-third of the way across, a fellow tourist had parked her bike and shouted over the howling wind, "Welcome to San Francisco!" She was soaking up the moment and so was I.

Before the Dismantling - Emeryville Station

Leaving Golden Gate was simple. There was a special exit ramp that led us to a spot where we could easily access the waterfront. We cycled for about forty-five minutes then worked our way into Market Street. I spotted the subway entrance and we carried our bikes down the stairway. After asking for specific directions, we caught the BART subway under the sound to MacArthur Station. This was the stop closest to the Emeryville Amtrak station.

Upon entering the station, we each paid for our reserved tickets and purchased boxes for our bikes. I used the wrench Snelling brought and my Allen key set to disassemble my bike. I boxed and checked it for transport to Seattle. My good friend Andrew came for a visit and we had time to walk a few blocks for a drink and a chat. Wishing there was more time to visit, we reluctantly headed back to the station. He yelled loudly as he drove away.

Upon reentering the station, I was confronted by two Amtrak employees. They said that my bike box was "bulging" and wouldn't be shipped to Seattle. The Coast Starlight train had arrived. I was under pressure. After pleading with the man responsible for baggage, I grabbed my Allen keys and took off the handlebars. No more bulge. In retrospect, I should have done this in the first place. The box end was retaped, loaded on a cart and taken to the train. Close call.

Sleeping Arrangement - Coast Starlight

I boarded the train with Snelling and got settled. Having ridden coach many times, I know a few things about getting a good night sleep on the Coast Starlight.  I found the baggage area on the lower level of the car behind ours. I moved a couple suitcases, unpacked my camping gear and climbed in my bag. If you've ever ridden Amtrak, you are aware that the train bounces around a lot. If you try to sleep on your side, you'll flop over and wake up. To solve this problem, I braced myself against the wall of the car. In no time at all, the movement of the train lulled me to sleep. I didn't wake until eight o'clock the next morning. I don't think that the folks in the spendy roomettes could have slept better.

We bicycled over seventy miles today.

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