Some of my favorite parts of touring are the Samwise Gamshee moments–those times where you stop and say “one more pedal stroke and this will be the furthest I’ve ever ridden my bike from home.” There is a small competitive piece of me that scoffs at our mere 60 miles a day, that rejects the idea of laundry and rest and gin and tonics. But I usually tell her to shut up, cuz the rest of me is tired and smelly and very much in love with gin and clean sheets and spending time with my grandmother.
I’m writing all this to you now from the warmth and comfort of my grandmothers pool. Yes we’re taking rest day. And boy is it swell. We woke up this morning having slept very much like Snow White when she takes a little cat nap across all the tiny beds. Except in our version of the story we took a nap with a cat, who tossed and turned and played the “lets find the awkwardest place to lie on our guests” game all night long. Every time I would start to doze off, Scout would choose a new position to sleep in, like say right across my bladder, and then come check that my eyes were closed. My personal favorite was the paw to the face butt on the bladder combo–that way when you get up to pee you get smacked, and every time you close your eyes you get a slight claw to the cheek to remind you of your real priorities, like rubbing Scout’s belly.
Despite our feline companionship, we slept like rocks, grateful to not be in our leaky tent. When we woke up there was a kitchen full of men tiptoeing around making mountains of eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast, guacamole, OJ, and coffee. Guitar music drifted from the back of the house and the cats had disappeared. Andrew was still asleep, so we chatted with his friends and made plans for the rest of the day. Once we regrouped, we meandered out and found Brazillian Breakfast, complete with Acai bowls.
After much catching up and noshing, we hit the road by about 11:30. Big mistake. We were supposed to be at Gram’s house by 1, and while it was only 17 miles away, there were a couple minor mountain ranges in between down town Santa Cruz and the sticks of Corralitos. But first we stopped to get Highway 1 stickers for our bikes and checked out the Natural Arches Beach. We made it to Aptos Cycle Works by 12:30, and like suckers, thought we were in the home stretch.
I remember as a kid just how long it seemed to take to drive down Freedom Boulevard to Gram’s house. We three kids would sit packed like sardines with Harry the farting chocolate lab in our 1989 Volvo Station Wagon trying to guess where exactly we were. Any time we asked how long til we got there, Dad (in the tradition of all Mathews men) would say “20 minutes.” The road would wind through orchards and fields and farms and strange back roads and then past the gravel ranch and Aladdin’s Nursery, past the Cadillac cafe and then the stand of Cedar trees, and just when you thought the road couldn’t get any longer and you were hopelessly lost, then you were there! It was like a dark magic forest, and Gram’s house was always another 20 minutes of sibling jostling and dog farts away.
All I can say is that it takes 5x as long by bicycle, and we both had to pee. As long as we’ve been friends and as much as we’ve done together, for the first time we had NOTHING to say to one another. Normally I sing when I’m exhausted. Risa always logics her way through situations. While we weren’t exactly blaming each other, we certainly were thrilled with the situation. Secretly, I was planing on stopping at Gram’s with or without her. Luckily for all concerned, when we finally collapsed on Gram’s doorstep, Risa was in no state to protest a rest day.
And here we are. After jumping in the pool and drinking our weight in Martinelli apple cider we fell fast asleep in the barn. When we woke up there were Gin and Tonics waiting for us and dinner on the table.