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  • Memoirs of the Tandem Captain from Bodega Bay to Santa Cruz: Part 3

    Memoirs of the Tandem Captain from Bodega Bay to Santa Cruz: Part 3

    Pedaling.

    I have done all types of different sports, mainly board sports, over the years, but I never really considered myself a jock. I guess I'm an "all right" athlete, but I am definitely not a bike rider: nor do I ever want to look like one. Actually I'm really scared of bikes; No, bikes are awesome creation, I meant I'm really scared of riding bikes. Ask my brother Matt. I am really sketchy on bikes and I have been pretty frightened of them my entire life.  I've been afraid of Matt my entire life too, but that's a different story.  Matt has actually been present at all of my horrible bike falls......interesting. The only time I have had to spend a night in a hospital was because of a bike, a bike jump and my stupid radicalness. Yes, I really fell hard and Matt was also there!  I was 13 and it was actually 6 nights in intensive care with a broken spleen. This same bike crash was the main reason I started skateboarding. 

    I ride to work sometimes on my brown mountain bike and I do what I call "aggressive sightseeing".  I curb hop, I ride the sidewalks, I cross the street at funny angles between cars and stuff like that. I can do wheelies!  It probably looks stupid and more dangerous, but it's really not. I never ride in the bike lane or shoulder, nor do I wear a helmet. I have never cared about the share the road thing.  Why would I want to share the road with a 18 wheeler semi-truck anyways? So, I had a lot of anxiety about this when Devon put me on the list to be Captain #4 for the trip.   

    So, I was totally freaked out to be in Bodega Bay and getting on the bike to begin our journey. I had my skateboard helmet on and clip in bike shoes that looked like skate shoes. I also had these really, really, really tight padded cycling shorts disguised under my board shorts. I had my favorite, lucky blue cowboy shirt on too- this is the same shirt everyone was making fun of. I was responsible for steering and navigating the tandem bike and trailer for about 200 miles on the thin edge of concrete between the cars and the ditch. I never imagined that that would be the least of my worries. I could have never known that my butt would hurt so bad by the second day that I wanted to run away, but I was unable to because my butt hurt so bad!    

  • Memoirs of the Tandem Captain from Bodega Bay to Santa Cruz: Part 2

    Memoirs of the Tandem Captain from Bodega Bay to Santa Cruz: Part 2

    Guest blogger Mike Cummins

    Everyone.

    I wrote "The End" on the last part I wrote because it was the end of the pre trip this's and that's, the end of "gettingreadyidis" and all the anxiety peeing that goes along with that.  
    And it was the end of standing around smiling. It was go time! It was the beginning of being in the hot spot: The Tandem Captain. I hugged everyone goodbye, jumped on the bike and started pedaling.

    Wait. Wait..WAIT!....Who is everyone?

    I will let you know! 

    Becca Raney is an Angel. She flies around with her awesome smile and funny giggle.  Devon always tells her "I love your sexy body!" Becca's real name is Rebecca, but everyone calls her Becca. While in Washington, she drives Devon and their daughter Madrona around in a big truck. In California, she had a business man style rental car and she drove all of us around to get organized. Speaking of getting organized, Becca has spent this entire last year up to this very moment organizing and scheduling and coordinating all the details, big and minuscule, for all the magic of the Bikes, Boards, Blind Trip. I know she had a lot of help from other people, but she really made everything, this whole thing happen....      
               ....and now I have tears in my eyes!  

    Becca flew down to California to make fun of me in my blue shirt.  She also came down to put some final touches on the trip details, drink some wine and to hang out with this guy named Devon who was there too.   

    Devon Raney was the guy behind me on the tandem bike who never pedaled.  

    Laura Raney, was there too. Thank you Laura!  It was really special that she was there with her brother. I know Laura had a lot to do with helping Becca with the trip and motivation, including helping everyone with airline flights. Did you read her blog?  I think she should work as a writer/traveller for a wine magazine! 

    (Here is a personal note I wrote to Becca just a little while ago.)

     "One thing I just noticed is that I spelled Jeff's name Geoff, which is wrong!  I swear he said he spelled it like that...Please proof read my stuff"

    Sorry Jeff Hawe.  

    I cannot imagine how the BBB trip would have worked without Jeff.  Without him, I probably would have ended up in Arkansas with a maxed out credit card.  He joined the trip in Westport, WA to take photos of the action. He rode his own bike and trailer loaded with surf and camp gear. Jeff is a photographer and a really nice guy (and every surf session he did some of the most amazing pearls I had ever seen!).  Jeff took care of the  many on the road details and communications of the trip.


    The only thing I didn't like about Jeff Hawe is when he would say "can I take your portrait." And then he would put his camera in my face, really close to focus on my nose hairs and other stuff wrong with my face or hair. He would quietly smile behind his camera and take all these picture of me to look/laugh at later. Awkward! He said he took close up portraits of everyone on the trip, but I really don't believe him.   


  • Memoirs of the Tandem Captain from Bodega Bay to Santa Cruz: Part 1

    Memoirs of the Tandem Captain from Bodega Bay to Santa Cruz: Part 1

    Guest blogger Mike Cummins

    ...of course we got some waves!   And then I went to the airport with a wet wet suit and water dripping out of my backpack onto the airport floor, got on my plane and started working on my blog post.  And then I fell asleep with exhaustion and awesome dreams.

    Before the ride...


    Santa Rosa airport is pretty awesome! The planes are the cool, older propeller type and they serve free local beer or wine on the flight. The planes fly lower so you can see better too! It was clear the entire flight down and all the mountains down the Cascade Line were powdered with fresh snow. Also, Charles Shultz, the guy who made "Peanuts Comics" was from Santa Rosa, and it seemed like there were painted and bronze statues of Snoopy's and Lucy's and Charlie Brown's everywhere around the little city. Becca and Devon picked me up at the airport and started making fun of my bike riding shirt! Yeah, the blue one that you see me in in every picture the entire trip! And then we went wining and dining with Devon's Aunt and Uncle who live in the area and are fabulous wine and area hosts. Also, joining us was Laura Raney, who really likes wine too.   

    We stayed at a beautiful house on the shoreline of Bodega Bay for the night. It had a lot of 70's ceramic work. We all talked about trying to go see the PET SHOP BOY"S, the 80's band, live in San Francisco...so we played some of their hits off YouTube, which was probably better than seeing them live. Devon and Jeff talked about highlights of the trip through Washington and Oregon, mainly all the rain they got through Oregon. How they surfed epic Point Arena a couple of days earlier, and afterwards got a free pizza (hearing this made me jealous!) Jeff presented me with my Tandem Captain Switchblade Knife, you know, if things got serious out there on the open road!



    We got up early to go get some waves. It seemed so calm and quiet in Bodega Bay, it was probably good out there! We had 3 surfboards hanging out of the trunk of our rental car on our drive to Salmon Creek with the annoying trunk warning buzzer going off. I know we looked awesome pulling into the parking lot filled with locals! We decided not to surf because of the crowds and winds. Instead, we went home and ate bacon.  

    After we ate bacon, we decided it was time to begin our journey.  It took us about 5 minutes to load up the bike and trailer, 10 minutes to do the trip's first photo shoot and 15 minutes to push the bike up out of the driveway! My legs were already hurting really bad, mainly in the thigh area.





  • Trip Leg 5: Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo

    Trip Leg 5: Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo

    Guest blogger Tom Burt

    My section of being captain of the tandem started at Santa Cruz High when Mike Cummins pulled out a military knife flip open the blade waving it around like he was fighting an invisible ninja right in the middle of the auditorium with kids everywhere and presented to me as the captain's pass along gift. I promptly put it away. 

    I got to surf with Devon for the first time that afternoon at Pleasure Point along with Gus, Mike, and Jeff. I have snowboarded with him before but Now I was going to get my lesson on being eyes for him out in the waves. Mike showed me the ropes with what clues to say and for the most part Devon needs very little help. He just zens his way onto waves better then most people with full sight. We have a blast on the long boards we borrowed form Gus and his land lord, Denise (who has one of the most comfortable houses to hang at). The next day we surfed Waddell which was glassy and fun. Then it was time to get the tandem serviced. The kids at Santa Cruz high had worked hard on getting the trailer tuned up. A big shout out to Sam, and thanks to Steve the bike class teacher. We ended up at Sprockets bike shop with Taylor one of the owners taking care of adjusting the bike, getting new brakes for the up coming hills of Big Sur, and a new front tire. Then it was time for my first ride as captain. It is a bit strange trying to get use to the shifting, braking, weight management with a combined weight of around 500lbs and also learning the verbal cues to tell Devon on what we are going to be doing next. It makes you think way out in front of you, what is going to happen next and then do I need to tell Devon to make it safe as possible. Anyway we survived my captaining and ended up back in Capitola ready to leave in the morning. 

    Devon, Jeff and I said our goodbyes and thanks to Gus and Sheryl for letting us invade the world for a few days and headed toward Carmel. This will be my longest bike ride ever in my life. 60 miles, I may have ridden 20 once but it was a long time ago. The ride was incredible,only getting lost once by my bad captaining. We travel through Aptos and then dropped into the farm lands of the Salinas Valley toward Moss Landing staying off the 1 on the farm frontage roads. The strawberry pickers were out in force and it smelled like fresh jam, a memory that will be welded in my brain for ever. We ended up waving down a taco truck on its way to feed the workers. There is nothing better than tacos next to a field of brussel spouts and strawberries. 

    We hit Montery, grabbed a coffee and headed out the peninsula to the 17 mile drive through Pebble Beach and into Carmel. What a beautiful bike that section is. I am pretty sure we passed Clint Eastwood's ex house on the way. 

    We hit the surf as soon as we got there and it was fun glassy beach breaks. Devon was ripping and I was cramping in my legs from all the miles but after a while my cramps left and I got few good ones. 

    Chris Sanders ( my first snowboard sponsor and owner of Avalanche Snowbards back in the day) met us with drinks and snacks at the beach just as the sun was setting. We followed him on our bikes to his place where he lives with Bev (another owner of Avalanche) his wife. She is great. She runs a surf camp for women called Los Olas. Bev had dinner on the line with a pasta salad, Chris burned us NY steaks and sweet potatoes. That was heaven after a full day of activity that was not over. We rallied out to have martinis at the bar around the corner. That was the topper that made me pass out only to get woken by Devon because I was snoring so hard. 

    The morning came and we surfed again on coffee and coffee cake. Went to breakfast with Chris and Bev at Little Swiss Cafe, Steve, the owner, makes one great pancake and he tells a great story of his one and only day snowboarding. Ask him sometime when you find yourself in Carmel. 

  • Bikes, Boards, Blind - Santa Cruz leg

    Bikes, Boards, Blind - Santa Cruz leg

    Guest blogger Gus Samios

    Every now and then (& never often enough) I come across something that shifts my life a little. Kinda like how that one new board all of a sudden changes how you ride...but here in a bigger and harder to describe way. A couple of months ago, my old friend Tom Burt called to say he's coming to crash with Cheryl & I here in Santa Cruz. I knew this was something because Tom never calls that far in advance and he always brings an adventure with him. He did not disappoint. 

    Last week Devon Raney, Jeff Hawe, & Mike Cummins came rolling up to our house. We'd never met. Most of the bikers in Santa Cruz that are towing trailers are full of aluminum cans, sleeping bags, and usually a dog. Their trailer had sleeping bags, but one look at this crew told me this was gonna be something different. Devon's leading the pack sporting these big Elvis/Stevie Wonder shades and an Olympia truckers cap (which I'm wearing right now - thanks Dev - stoked). Devon rips off his sunglasses and lays a big bear hug on me. I remember thinking I don't know if I've ever seen so much fire in anyone's eyes before. Jeff is this clean cut milk fed (haha) guy. He unfolded in this calming zen way. You can tell Jeff has been spending time with Devon because he notices every peripheral detail in the scenes that passed by us all. Rare gift (happy B-day kid). And on the flip-side is Mike...Mike Cummins is hard to explain. Hilarious and usually out of line. Mike has passion from the bottom of his belly about every single word he says. Awesome. Cheryl & I felt a weird hole in the house around us when he left. Miss ya already Mike.

    Devon turned us on to the best Mexi restaurant in South SC. By a few rounds of margs and a lot of offended diners sitting within 20' of us, we were all old friends. None of us knew each other, but every old story told included people we knew at some point in past lives. Weird how strangers lives can parallel. By the time TB showed up the next day, we all had a strangely long history. The next morning we watched Devon speak in front of an auditorium full of Santa Cruz High kids. It must have been weird for Devon because it was dead silent while he spoke, but I watched every single eye glued on him without a blink. When we picked up the tandem the next day from the school bike lab, kids in football jerseys were walking up to him like they were old friends asking him how the surf was. Devon has a strange way of disarming and connecting anyone.

    Caught fun Pleasure Point for glass off that night. I couldn't believe how many waves Devon caught finding the perfect speed spot down the line every time just by the feel from his feet. Fearlessly. Tomorrow I'm gonna close my eyes in the water. We packed the van (2 seats, 5 people, 4 boards) up the coast the next morning for low tide at Waddell Creek. I thought it was good when we paddled out. Now I know it was epic. That was the shift. Jeff said it was Devon-Vision and I believe him (I'll let Jeff explain that one). 

    Finished the night with BBQ (tri-tip Tom Burt style), a Modello fueled pumpkin carving contest, and a bag a Reeses speared with birthday candles. We all said goodbye this morning before the sun rose. We pretty much just did normal surf & BBQ stuff, but somehow I'm positive I felt more life happen in the last 72 hours than most the world sees in a year. Devon-Vison rules.

  • Santa Cruz

    Santa Cruz

    Guest blogger: Jeff Hawe

    Piling out to surf at Pleasure Point.

    We had a great stop in Santa Cruz. Hosted by Gus and Cheryl Samios, we were privy to the best this surf-rich town had to offer. Devon spoke at Santa Cruz High, and had an impression on the kids so much so that the bike class went so far as to tune up the ride for him. We had great Mexican food and bid farewell to Mike Cummins. Had a tasty BBQ and said hello to Tom Burt. Celebrated my birthday, and scored some fun waves. All in all, Santa Cruz was good to us. 

    Devon with the SC High bike class students.

    Did I mention our hosts? Gus n Cheryl are the best. Kind, warm people, full of positive, youthful energy and excitement. TB introduced us to them and we became the best of friends instantly. Big thanks guys and can't wait to see you next time!

    Levi is Gus n Cheryl's dog, he's great. And smells like blue cheese.


  • Trip Leg 4: Bodega Bay to Santa Cruz

    Trip Leg 4: Bodega Bay to Santa Cruz

    Guest Blogger Mike Cummins

    This is the pre-surf version of my blog post on my last day of the journey, Thursday,  Oct. 10 in Santa Cruz, California...8:31 am

    It's going to be kinda short because I have a little bit of writers block from the margaritas last night, and my coffee hasn't kicked in, and we probably have to go soon to find some waves. First of all, I want to say "hello" to Madrona Raney, and I hope that someday you lead a ride like this or something equally awesome with your dad. Next, I want to say thanks to the guys who rode Devon and all the gear through all the rain and nasty weather in Oregon and Washington. It has been amazing to have beautiful sunny days with the cool ocean breeze everyday of my part of the ride. My trip is still happening, everyone is drinking coffee and talking about surf and now we are going to find some...        

    Photo recap:

    John Hope's amazing boat house on Tomales Bay.

    Mike, Steve Potts, Cowboy and Devon in Steve's shop in Inverness.

    Hawesome birthday candle bomb! Early celebration for Jeff, whose birthday is today.

    Happy Birthday Jeff Hawe!


  • Bodega Bay to Inverness

    Bodega Bay to Inverness

    Guest Blogger Laura Raney

    I arrived in Bodega Friday night in time to have dinner with Devon, Becca, the Herrons, and Jeff. It was a glorious spot to stay, literally floating on the water in Bodega Bay, with a view for days. Verna and Tom prepared us a wonderful meal, and we enjoyed hearing highlights from the third leg, along with a visual journey via Jeff's photos.

    We awoke Saturday to a breathtaking sunrise spreading its color across the glassy water. The Herrons hit the road homeward first thing, and the rest of us jaunted up to North Salmon Beach to start the morning right. Becca and I are expert wave watchers, and we relaxed on the warm sand while Devon and Jeff scouted the surf. I took off late morning to rendezvous with one of my dearest college roommates, Ariella, over in Napa. Everyone got some downtime and some serious sun. Later on, we picked up Mike Cummins, captain for Leg 4, at STS and then we were off to dinner with our aunt and uncle. Norm and Cynthy treated us to a delightful dinner at a Victorian-style Italian restaurant -- they always pick a lovely spot, and this one served up hospitality and balanced carbs for the cyclists in equal measure.  

    Another divine slumber overlooking Bodega Bay, and it was already Sunday. When the guys returned early from disappointing surf prospects, we took a slow morning and enjoyed fellowship, french press and homestyle breakfast before the fourth leg officially began. Up the steep driveway, around the safety-pin hook out of the residence to the main road, and they were off. The sun was shining, the guys were rested, and they were energized for the fourth leg together. Becca and I felt a bit like groupies when we passed them on the road on our way south, and then again when snapping pics roadside while we were playing tourists in Valley Ford (coffee break!) and they were pedaling by across the street from us.

    We convened again in Inverness, after a quick stop at Black Mountain Cycles in Pt. Reyes, to meet John Hope at his property...on the water. John is a good friend of Tom Burt's, captain of the forthcoming fifth leg, and offered to put us up for the night. His hospitality exceeded our expectations, and we couldn't say enough about the raw beauty of the evening's lodging. After a peek at the enchanting place and a brief history lesson, we ended up at Bolinas Beach for a spontaneous surf session and a majestic sunset to boot. After dark, we returned to Pt. Reyes for live music at Station House. As the folk band wrapped up their set, we settled in for another delicious meal, meeting some of John's friends throughout the night. We finished off with a crazy birthday-candle-lighting tribute to Jeff, in honor of his birthday later this week. By then, even the non-cyclists were ready to crash.

    Monday was another glorious morning, and we got to see the sunrise over Tomales Bay. The guys loaded up, and we said our goodbyes over local coffee at Blackbird. Becca and I zipped east across Steinbeck country, just in time for our direct flight back to the PNW. It was a precious weekend, and I'm beyond grateful to have caught up with my brother at this point in the BBB journey. One of the most beautiful (and enviable) aspects of the experience I got to witness this particular weekend, is all the providential introductions along the way... it is such a beautiful thing to cross paths with and get to learn a piece of another's story.

    Cheers to the journey.

  • Trip Leg 3: 600 miles and then some. Done.

    Trip Leg 3: 600 miles and then some. Done.

    Guest Blogger Tom Herron

    Of all the interactions we’ve had with people cycling down the coast, the strangest was when a man driving a SUV rolled down his window and yelled at Devon and I as we slowly rode our tandem at sunset in Bandon, Oregon.  “You ought to pay taxes!” he screamed as we coasted on by.  We didn’t know if this was just another expression of motorist anger toward cyclists that we had already experienced.  Truckers especially logging truckers seemed especially incensed by our presence.  Driving close and fast and blaring their horn as they go by seems to be their protest against the numerous signs with bicycles encouraging them to “Share the Road.”    We’ve been thinking that we need an American Flag and a gun rack on the back of the bike to gain more acceptance in some of the communities.

         But as we have talked with the other cyclists along the road we have decided that his comment was probably directed at what he must have thought were a pair of foreign cyclists.  The majority of fellow bicyclists are from other countries.  There was the solo Korean college student who was weathering the storms on the Oregon coast in basketball shorts and Crocs and whose English only allowed him to tell us how tired he was.  There was a French couple who had started up in Alaska and are heading to South America.  Couples from Germany and Austria and a group of Canadians from Vancouver on their way to Disneyland.  

         Thankfully these negative interactions are few compared to the number of people who have been interested and helpful.  There have been gracious waitresses that haven’t minded us creating puddles under our table from drying raingear. Yesterday there was a leader of a local surfrider chapter that was out looking for us and was able to direct Devon and Jeff to Point Arena for some good waves.  People at the rest stops are always curious at the sight of a tandem pulling surfboards. Yesterday the owner of a pizza shop in Point Arena loved Devon’s story and gave us a complimentary pizza dinner.

        These interactions are like the weather.  We’ve had squalls and wind and rain, but mainly it has been warm and dry and the wind yesterday was at our back and pushing up the hills.  It is a good reminder how a smile and an encouraging word has more significance then we think.  It totally changes how we feel about a community when we are greeted this way and will be a lesson that remains long after our journey. 

  • CA-1

    CA-1

    It has been a fun couple of days cycling in the Redwoods. Tom Herron's wife Verna drove down from Gig Harbor and hooked up with us four days ago. She has been cycling when she wants and driving when she wants, it has been great having her on the trip. She has been purchasing tons of food at grocery stores and as well getting lots of cookies at local bakeries, a motherly figure is just what we needed a month into our journey. 

    We have been taking advantage of the fact that Verna has her car and have been cheating just a little by throwing our trailers and surf boards into her rig. As it turns out this is just what we needed to do to make the miles to hook up with Mike Cummins who flies in Saturday to meet up in Bodega Bay. It's amazing how many miles you can put down when you are not towing that trailer. Tom and I cycled over some truck scales with our trailer in tow we weighed 500 lbs. We figure between the two of us we wiegh about 320 lbs which means our bike & trailer weighs 180lbs. Once we threw that trailer in Vernas car we really began to put down some miles. Yesterday we cycled 100 miles with 5,000 ft of climbing. 

    Today we cycled 55 miles down the CA-1 and surfed this evening some thick right hand point waves at Point Arena. I really had to work hard to figure out the wave and I only had about an hour to do so because we got in the water at 7 o'clock. I took two bigger waves on the head and fell on the first one I dropped in on. Finally, after the sun had set I caught a fast long right that made it all worth it. I am super tired and as I call in this blog I can hardly form my sentences. It's 10:15, the stars are out. We are at the Manchester State Park, I am looking forward to some more fun waves tomorrow at Point Arena.