Taco Belle (USA Day 133)

It was Sunday, we’d not thrown off rest day mode, and our hosts had offered us brunch. Are you really going to blame us for leaving at half twelve for what was (admittedly, I hadn’t actually measured it, but at a guess) a twenty mile jaunt down the coast?


Leaving San Francisco out of the south was slow, hot and predictably hilly. We found ourselves hitting the sea at Daly City, but the highway contained every car in California because you don’t get beautiful Californian October Sundays every Sunday in October in California. Or maybe you do. Whatever the case, the world had gone to the beach, making our time far less fun. We skipped the tunnel for a gorgeous but vertical climb up and over some cliffs, then descended over a shoulderful of glass and spent a while replacing my rear tube. By the time we’d reached Pacifica for lunch, it wasn’t really lunch anymore.

Pacifica has the world’s most scenic Taco Bell, so it felt like a good opportunity for our first experience eating there. Honestly, I’d bought the story that it tasted of bilge and would give you stomach cramps, so we were both pleasantly surprised. One criticism: there are only so many combinations of meat, cheese, lettuce and tortilla that you can provide, no matter which pieces of the above you toast or which order they go into your mouth.

When we looked at the time again, we noticed the time: time to go. Google informed us that we had not five but 35 miles to go, with just under three hours until it got dark. And, at the end, we’d arranged to camp outside someone’s house situated ‘up a very steep Jeep track. Leave your bikes at the bottom.’


I’ll skip forward here: we sprinted the remaining miles, glancing over our right shoulders to see the Best Ever Sunset happen at exactly the time when we couldn’t really watch it. We reached the Jeep Track at its reddest and boldest, then pushed our bikes straight into a deep wood in order to not be able to watch. Turns out, Jeep tracks are just walls made of sand. After the first stretch we abandoned our bikes, as instructed, in a thicket, and laboured up the rest of the climb to a hilltop yurt whose owners were away, but had left two beers and steps for how to turn on the generator.

Okay, so we missed the sunset. Okay, so getting here was the hardest thing a human body has ever had to do. But it’s utterly quiet, totally beautiful and we’re back on the road, only a week or so from Los Angeles. Things are absolutely alright.