Where I Have Been Map

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bike America - Day One - San Francisco to Napa Valley

Well today was officially the first day of the Bike America journey. Kiersten has so graciously let me tag along on her adventure to film what I hope will be an epic documentary about it all. The Downs family has been so amazing - Kiersten's mom and dad picked me up from Indiana, and I got to ride with them across the country to San Francisco where we met up with Kiersten. That was my first cross country adventure, and even though it only lasted a few days - we drove through some amazing sites!

Some of my favorite sites were the cowboy towns of Wyoming, the mountain ranges in Utah and Nevada, and the CRAZIEST one in my opinion ... the Bonneville Salt Flats. It felt like we were in Alaska with snow all over the ground as we were driving through these never ending salt flats. And it didn't make the trek through any easier when we looked down and realized the gas tank was on empty. With a little bit of faith and a determination - we just BARELY made it to a gas station before being stranded on the side of the road. Luckily for us, even if that had happened, we had 3 bikes right in the back of the camper to save us!

After arriving to San Francisco, picking up Kiersten and having a crazy media frenzy day (MTV and VA production crews) the day finally came for Kiersten to take the first stride of her pedal. Day one of the journey, and I opted to ride with the support vehicle instead of hoping on my motorized bicycle. Kiersten said that going across the Golden Gate Bridge on my bike would be both dangerous and terrifying. With the narrow way, crazy wind/height, and my lack of experience on this machine .... I agreed whole-heartedly!

We arrived to the Golden Gate Bridge at 8 AM and met up with 3 student veterans/supporters of Bike America. The four of them took off only an hour later, and Kiersten's parents and I watch them disappear into the majestic red pillars of the Golden Gate.

A few hours later, Kiersten's parents and I drove to the first checkpoint - a cheese factory about 40 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. We sat down, I got the cameras set up, and we waiting. Then we waited some more. Then we kept on waiting.....

By the time the 5th hour passed since the crew took off that morning, we started getting a little bit worried. Had they had a problem? Was there an accident? Or did they simply just keep on riding to the next destination?? We had no cell service and no way to tell.

As the 6th hour approached, Kiersten's mom decided that we should continue on to Napa Valley and hope that they just kept on riding. As we drove away from the cheese factory and cell service was retained.... ALAS!!! A TEXT MESSAGE FROM KIERSTEN saying that they had decided to continue riding so they wouldn't lose the daylight!

Whew, I'm not going to lie - I was a little bit nervous that the entire trip would end tragically on the very first day. But mama and daddy Downs always had a positive outlook and knew she'd make it one way or another. Just goes to show parent's know best!

Tomorrow I will be riding with Kiersten from Napa Valley to Sacramento. Say a prayer that I don't accidentally rev the motor off a cliff or something crazy! (mom don't read that)

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