Good morning east coast! Good evening central US! Good evening west coast!
Wow. What a first day of the DougTrails cross-country TBI tour! I hope I can touch on all the amazing things that I saw, was a part of, and did. And a little bit of what I didn’t do, too.
My day’s been very long! And yes, very tiring, but wow. How many people get to see new places, warm hearts, and ride their bikes long distances? Okay, so maybe lots of people get to do those but still… I’m blessed. 50 miles rode today. Not what was scheduled, but good enough for our 1pm SF departure time!
The day started out on the Amtrak train. As it came to be, our train was miraculously late. Instead of just two hours, the conductor played a game of dice and we rolled on 13 hours late.
Okay darn! I’m exhausted and won’t be able to write any more for now. Take a look at some photos!
[continued in the morning]
We arrived in Emeryville, Ca at about 5:30 am. By that point, the amazing staff members from the Janet Pomeroy Center had been waiting patiently for hours at the train station! So we got in, and were greeted by Kate and Philip which was just amazing. After waiting a while to get our checked bags and bikes, we were on our way to the send-off-location.
As soon as we got to the Janet Pomeroy Center, we were greeted by Rowena Fontanos, my main contact for the past few months with the center. Anything I might need, she made sure that we either got it, or knew where to get it. She even helped me get my talisman initiative off the ground: helmets! You’ll now be seeing a touring cyclist rolling through the USA with three helmets attached to his panniers in the back of his bike! And what color are they, you wonder? Fluorescent green! I picked up some spray paint in the evening and you’ll see a photo or two of me spraying at 9:30pm in the grass a bit later.
Anyways, back to my story… We all took turns taking showers while setting up bikes, eating dinner for breakfast (thanks again, Rowena!), and just doing lots of things. When 11am rolled round, I was standing at the front of a big main hall at the center of the Janet Pomeroy Center campus, and the seats were packed! The CEO of Janet Pomeroy Center, a very nice man I’m thrilled to have met, gave a brief opening to the ceremony about me and what I was about to do, and then we started the :new: and expanded DougTrails event video. Everyone loved it and there was spurts of clapping and head nodding by numbers of clients and survivors watching. And applause right when it ended. I’m in heaven, right?
I spoke for a bit about some key points of my recovery and my mission, and then answered a bunch of really good questions by clients and audience members. The best one knows who they are.. What are you going to do about the parts of your route that are flooded? Anybody want to help me plan for floodplains for the mission?? And then the absolute most awesome thing: after we ended everything; I invited people to come and say hi to me. Well, I had a 20-minute line of people who wanted to wish me luck, safe travels, and to get photos with me! I even had two survivors who wanted my autograph! So amazing. So amazing, one more time. And the banners that lots of Janet Pomeroy Center clients made for the DougTrails mission were perfect! I smiled and thanked everyone so many times, all the way up through when there was a bunch of people outside the center seeing us off and taking the very first few pedal strokes!
Riding? It was amazing in San Francisco. Bike lanes on Market Street were top notch! Great place to start off. We rode to the Bay Bridge, and were given a ride by car by Scott and Haroon to the other side because bikes weren’t able to ride through. We rode up to where I am now and spent the last hour looking for a place to set up tent.
We woke up at 2am when the sprinklers started shooting water into the tent! The better part of between 2 and 3 in the morning was spent freaking out abound wet panniers, sleeping bags, and who knows what else, but they ended and we got back to sleep eventually.
Now it’s 6:30 and truly time to get back on the pedals and outta Vallejo! goal for today: get to Sacramento!