Days 1, 2 & 3 kind of all ran together on this trip

Sunday started with a nice bike ride to the coast with Kevin, then at 7:30pm it was time to fly… to South Africa. It’s about as far away as you can go; I think the only place I could fly to that would involve greater distance might be India, but my wife has no desire to go there. Too bad; the number of movies over the past decade from or about India has certainly increased my desire to travel there. Plus, it’s cheap. South Africa is in the category of “reasonable” meaning cheaper than in the US but way more expensive than Cambodia. Everywhere is way more expensive than Cambodia!

But this is about South Africa, and that means two back-to-back 11 hour (ok, actually 10 flying) flights, first to London, then Johannesburg, followed by a two hour flight to Cape Town. The London flight was tolerable but still not something I could sleep on; thankfully, they have showers at the LHR lounge, which might me feel partly human. Karen does much better in this regard, although not quite as well as Kevin. I don’t think anybody sleeps as well, on-demand, as Kevin. The next flight, London to Johannesburg, that felt pretty long, partly because it was the second flight, and partly because there are no extra-legroom seats available, so more of a crunch factor.

Landing in Johannesburg, we had 5 hours to kill, definitely more time than my zombie state desired. Not enough time (or opportunity) to try and sleep, and besides, I needed to adjust to the new time anyway. We spent most of the time in the lounge, emerging about an hour before flight to buy a local simcard for Karen’s phone. In some ways that last yet short flight seemed the worst, perhaps partly because I didn’t take a shower while in Johannesburg, but mostly because it was just a whole lot of flying in a very short time.

No problem getting from the airport to our hotel/guest house (is a small hotel now a guest house?) via Uber. Uber is pretty amazing here; cheap & fast.

More sometime soon, but having some issues updated the diary. Best to check out my facebook page where things are uploading better.

Kevin thought I was dying on Old LaHonda

The deceptively-soft start to Tunitas. Beautiful day but cool enough to require a base layer and leg warmers!
The bare-legged woman of West Old LaHonda
Left a bit earlier than usual today, since we had to get back in time for me to finish packing and head to the airport for a series of flights that will eventually land my wife and I in Cape Town. Presently at 38,000ft someplace over Nevada maybe? Summer is now little more than a memory; there aren’t going to be many, if any, opportunities to ride without leg warmers and a base layer. At least not quite cold enough to require long-finger gloves, although we did bring them, just in case.

I was hoping I’d be nicely warmed up by the time we got to Old LaHonda, but no, it got cooler as we headed up in the shade, and my breathing was the worst its been since, well, since it’s been this cool. I had really gotten spoiled over the summer! Kevin thought we should shorten the ride by heading back down 84 and riding “the loop” but that wasn’t going to happen. Between my breathing issues and the recent bone marrow thing, I’m not about to back down anytime soon and look back at a particular day as the turning point, that day I gave in, the day from which “giving in” might become more the norm than exception. Or, as they say, #notdeadyet.

Frankly, I’ve got to talk with Kevin and encourage him to be more, well, encouraging! Fortunately, as expected, I felt better and better with each passing mile. The struggle to get to the top of Old LaHonda is quickly put to the back of my mind once we’re heading down the other side. The duck pond was its usual pretty self, although the turtles… where have they gone? There were some large ducks sitting on the floating branches where you’d normally see 3 or 4 turtles, leaving Kevin to wonder if Turtles actually hibernate this time of year.

Very little traffic out and, in Pescadero, a nearly-empty Arcangeli store/bakery. Think I know why- they had no cookies out! We weren’t the only ones surprised by that; a woman came in asking about the missing cookies, which her daughter was apparently looking forward to, and voila, a couple cookies appeared from the back room. We snagged some too, although frankly, these cookies did not pass the #cookiefacetest. A bit too small! We met a nice young couple (guy from France, woman from Belgium) cycling from San Francisco to… well, they weren’t really sure. Santa Barbara maybe. They’d just keep going south until their sense of adventure for this particular trip was fulfilled. There’s something appealing to that. It’s certainly in stark contrast to my own trips, where everything’s planned to the nth degree.

Tunitas, well, yes, it’s still there, it’s still a tough haul. I rode with Kevin up to half-way through the steep section before watching him ride on, arriving at the top about 3 minutes later than he did. On the way passed two young women we’d seen earlier on West Old LaHonda, when we’d asked if they might have been a bit cold with their bare, no-leg-warmered legs. “COld? No, numb!” one of them replied at the time. Fortunately it was considerably warmer climbing Tunitas.

Overall a very nice day to be out on a bike. And much more comfortable spending 4 hours on a tiny, thinly-padded seat than the past three hours on this plane have been!