Our Logo - Ain't it Spiffy?
Start >
Trip Info
Route Map
Journals
Photo Gallery
Ask Kev & Sor
Preparation
Contact Us
Contribute

hmmm...
 Psst... Hey, click on the hole.

Take Action:
Ø Shop for Stuff!

Coming Soon:
- I See Stupid People
- Stupid Shout Outs
- Prep-Walk Photos
YouGuysAreStupid.com Walking across the country so you don't have to...
11/22/17 11:55am
0 Days
Walking across the country so you don't have to...
Journals



Andy


Andy: 16 miles to the bridge

Friday, October 17, 2003 - 12:00:00 AM

I got a call from my dad as we were preparing to leave in the morning. He had called to congratulate me on finishing our trip, even though it wasn’t technically over yet. By the end of the day, we would be only a few miles away from the Golden Gate bridge. The walk across the bridge and over to Alcatraz tomorrow was essentially just a finishing ceremony. Today was the last day of the trip. We’ve traveled 138 Days through 7 states and just over 2150 miles, in less than 20 miles we’d be stopping for the night just outside San Francisco. Yet it was strange, it just felt like another day, I had expected more, hmm… maybe when the day was done I would get that feeling I knew should be there. For now we still had work to do.
After we packed up and left the yard behind the church, we headed into the ‘speaking prohibited’ part of town.
Huh? What’s that mean?
Hey, don’t interrupt I was about to explain.
Sorry.
That’s okay.
Anyway, as I was saying, as we made our way toward downtown San Rafael (which is actually pronounced “Ra-fell”) we walked by a guy just standing on the side of the sidewalk, and as we walked past him John said “hi”. The guy just looked at us. Then John says “you can respond, it’s okay”. Again, nothin’, just a blank stare, then as we passed by, John finishes the one sided conversation with “or maybe not?”. Then about a block later, we walked by someone else who was leaning over the edge of they’re porch by the street. Erik said “good morning”, once again another blank stare. We got this from at least two more people before we found someone that could talk (obviously just outside the few blocks that were under the city’s “no talking” ordinance). Not that I remember the conversation, we just found someone that finally responded to with a “hi”.
We got directions from a very helpful city local to the nearest breakfast place. So after finishing our conversation with him (he asked about the packs and where we were headed, the usual), we went to go eat.
After eating at a the West End Café (I remembered the name courtesy of the photo gallery), we worked our way through the steep and winding side streets of San Rafael’s residential areas. Since most of this area is built on large hills and mountains, the street layout resembles more of a tangled web than typical city blocks. Some of the residential roads we walked on were so steep, some houses had entrances to both their first and second floors exit out to the street, without any steps necessary. And that was the smaller houses too. We also passed by some very large mansions, most of which were far above our heads, higher up on the mountainside. What a great a view of the city those houses have.
We were once again lucky enough to find the occasional bike path that would lead us over some of the tougher areas. Areas that, without the paths, or access to Hwy 101, would have meant going far out of the way to get around. Such as one bike path that ran along a bridge over a river inlet from the bay. Without the path we would have had to walk 3 miles around instead of 200 meters across the bridge. At one point we lost the bike path, it went to the other side of 101 and we missed the point where it crossed, so we had to look for other less direct routes, not realizing the path still existed on the other side of the highway. We walked through some more residential areas until we reached an area where we had to leave the streets and make our way up and over a very steep, high hill. Luckily, there was a hiking path going over the hill, but this only made things slightly easier. I rushed up the hill as fast as I could, then took my pack off and waited for John and Erik. Not realizing Erik and John had to stop to change the battery’s in the camera so Erik could take a few pictures of the steep hill path. The top of the hill overlooked 101. Since 101 was actually cut through the hillside, it was almost a straight drop from the edge down to 101. From there, I could plainly see the bike path on the other side of 101, I shook my head and laughed to myself, thinking about how much easier that path would have been. Oh, well, too late now. When John and Erik made it up the path, I had to point out the far easier path we’d missed (I thought it was kinda funny after all), then we walked down the other side of the hill into another residential area.
While taking break just after coming down the hill, we got into another argument. I know I started it, but I can’t remember what it was about (not that’s it really that important or anything, just thought I’d mention it for no apparent reason). After getting out of the residential section, we crossed back over 101 and found our way back to another bike path. This path led us all the way to the edge of Sausalito. We took another break just outside a bike shop (which was right on the bike path, good thinking), and got a few things to snack on and drink. Since we were also in the sprint service area for good now, John updated the site once again, as he had been doing periodically throughout the whole day. I think that may have been what the argument on the previous break had been about. I thought we were taking to much time with the constant updates to the site instead of just finishing. We were so close, I just wanted to get to the end instead of screw around with the website (or, more accurately, watch someone else screw around with the website). After that was all done we once again had to walk through another ridiculously steep and curvy residential area (if it EVER snowed here, everyone would die). I think these roads ( Nevada St. and Rodeo Ave. in Marin City) were the steepest when seen all day, if not the entire trip. I guess this was our last physical test before we could finish. I even called Romey while walking up the hill simply for the amusement of trying to have a conversation while gasping for air. Besides, I figured the heavy breathing might get her excited. But anyway, we did make it to the top of Rodeo ave.. We had planned to enter the park from the back way and take the biking/walking trails to the visitors center (actually John had planned it this way but that’s another argument).
We now faced another problem. Rodeo came out at Hwy. 101 and we now had to cross it. But this time there was no bridge, no underpass, no pedestrian walkways, no way for us to get across, except for one. We had to run across eight lanes of fast, heavy traffic, it was time to play real life Frogger. We waited for a gap, ran to the middle and quickly climbed over the guard rail in the middle of the highway. Then we had to wait again, sitting on the median guard rail with our legs pressed up against it, with almost no room between us and the traffic. This seemed to take for ever, and I was just waiting for a cop to pull up and arrest us (what a great way to end the trip that would have been). We waited for the longest few minutes of the trip before there was finally a gap in traffic large enough that we could run across, and exit the highway. We then hurried up the hill and onto the hiking paths, going as fast as we could until finally getting out of sight from the road (there was still the possibility that someone could have called the police, hence the reason for getting out of site as soon as possible).
Then we hit the trails, and soon another argument. The trails to the visitors center seemed to twist around endlessly, what I thought was supposed to be a shortcut only seemed to be adding miles to the very end of the day. So I started complaining, asking why we had taken this way instead of going with my original route through the streets Sausalito (Now, in defense of John, now that I’ve had the chance to actually map the two routes, Johns way was shorter). Since I was getting angry anyway, I decided to speed up. I didn’t speed up just because I was angry, since we were only a few short miles from the end, I just wanted to finish and be able to relax. Also, I had wanted to move at a faster pace the entire trip, since this was the end, I figured I’d just open up and go. I couldn’t really understand why, this close to the end Erik and John still didn’t want to speed up at all. So I went sped ahead. After a while I heard John yelling for me from far behind. I turned around and ran back to them and an argument ensued. John and Erik wanted to know why I felt I needed to go so fast, I ask how could they not want to go faster this close to the end. They argued that I was leaving them behind and didn’t seem to care about them; I argued that they were the ones choosing to be left behind. Once again no real resolution came of this argument. It’s just one of those things we will never see eye to eye on.
A short while later we were finally at the visitors center. We had tried to set up a little get together (or victory party) at the visitors center, but we were the only ones there. I really shouldn’t have been surprised, but I still felt a little disappointed, since we had gotten some responses on the site from people saying they would show up. It was a stupid thing to let it get me down, after all we were essentially done, we’d made it. But without anyone there, it was kind of like “okay, were here, now what?” I called my dad again and let him know that we had finished our last full day of walking. He was very excited and happy for me, and for us. I also called my sister and mom to give them the news. After that, we just kind of sat around and waited. We had been told that they had grills and a picnic area at the visitor’s center. Well, we found a picnic table, but no grills were to be found anywhere. Michelle (Johns sister, if you haven’t learned by now) was supposed to meet us here with some food to grill, but that obviously wasn’t much of an option anymore. So we figured we’d just go somewhere to eat once she got there. It had gotten dark only a short time after we’d arrived at the visitor’s center. After waiting around for a while someone did show up, but not Michelle. It was Karin, and she’d brought a few friends. This made things a little nicer at least.
We all sat around for awhile, waiting for Michelle and John to show up (Michelle’s husband is also named John, I’ll try not to confuse anyone). One of Karin’s friends, Conner, told us about the time he tried to walk across Ireland (Conner is Irish by the way, from Ireland, were most Irish people tend to come from). He was drinking one night with some friends and some made a bet with him that he couldn’t walk across Ireland. So he accepted the challenge. The rules were, he could prepare, he just had to leave one morning with what he could fit in a backpack, and leave a note telling were he’d gone. So he did, one morning, he packed up and left a note for his mother that said “left to walk across Ireland, be back in a week” (Ireland’s just slightly smaller than America). He said he only made it about 60 miles and a few days into the trip before saying to himself “what the hell am I doing” and hitching a rid back. He lost the bet and twenty bucks.
Michelle never showed up and we were getting very hungry. Since John couldn’t get through to her cell phone, it was decided that since we only had Karin’s car, half of us would go and find a place to eat. Then she’d come back and pick up the second group. This also worked out in case Michelle eventually showed up. I went with the first group and we scouted around for a but while waiting for everyone else to show. John got a hold of Michelle finally, and after everyone figured out were everyone else was, we went to eat. We ate at a little café which served all kinds of food and even had live entertainment. I had a great time with everyone and the food was really good too, which was a good bonus since this was the only place we could find that was open and therefore our only choice.
We had made reservations at a campsite that was two miles back on the trails away from the visitor’s center. It was now around midnight, so we just went back with Michelle and John and stayed with them that night. In the morning they would drive us back to the north side of the Golden Gate, and we would officially finish. I still couldn’t wrap my mind around everything we’d been through, the distance we’d traveled. It all felt very surreal, not at all what I expected I would feel like the night before the end. I just didn’t have any real sense of accomplishment and couldn’t figure out why? Maybe this was all too big for me to grasp right away, I would just have to get through tomorrow, there would be plenty of time to get my thoughts in order after that. Or so I thought.

- Andy