From one cultural microcosm to another...
Trip Start Jun 17, 2011
36Trip End Aug 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
Now you would think that packing up camp wouldn't be that much different than a backpack trip or even a car camping situation, but it took us a record breaking two hours to acccomplish this task. Thinking about accessibility of what we would need throughout the day, balancing the weight of the bags, and making it all fit is quite a process. We joked that if it took is this long everyday, we would never make it to see the majority of Iceland! Anyhow, we eventually made it to IHOP for probably the most appreciated breakfast we've ever had. Our friends Francis and Hootie biked across the US a couple of summers ago under the banner of "Donuts Across America." I told Matt that if we were ever cool enough to do that, I would be totally willing to copy them with the theme of "IHOP Across America."
The first twenty miles of our day was an easy ride along the valley bottom, through Santa Rosa, skirting Calistoga, and then we started to go up, and up, and up, and then up some more
Eventually we made the pass over the top and our efforts were rewarded with an exhilarating rush down to Middletown where we picked up a contraband bottle of wine and continued on to Harbin Hot Springs. At the entrance station, the curious attendant admired the fact we had biked 55 miles from Petaluma that morning. I responded, "Yeah, that was a pretty big hill that we had to get over." She looked at us in disbelief and said, "Hill? You call that a hill? That was Mount St. Helena!" Then I said, "Oh, I always wanted to climb Mt. St. Helena, so I guess it's cool that I did it on my bike." Her face turned incredulous as she responded, "Wait a minute, you didn't know that you were going to climb Mt. St. Helena today?" "I would have to say no on that one."
We proceeded in and found a beautiful campspot along the creek running through the property
After enjoying an organic vegan dinner, we proceeded to undress for a soak in the healing mineral water. This was the kind of place where you would feel more akward wearing a bathing suit than not. Unfortunately the pools that were significantly warm were also the silent meditation pools, so Matt and I had to practice our nonverbal communication skills under a sign that read "Please refrain from conversation and sexual activity" while many women were seemingly tantrically becoming mothers quite appropriately on Mother's Day. We did a good job of following the silent rule (and the other rules too!) until we had to seriously supress laughter at the sight of the pool cleaning guy. He was fully nude, of course, with a handlebar mustache, and pulling the net through the water was an afterthought to his interpretive dance movements.
Our most important revelation though was how lucky we were to be traveling in a country in the near future with abundant thermal pools with which we could recooperate our sore muscles. After gazing at a dazzling bright starry sky, we retired to the tent, determined that we were too exhausted to drink the contraband wine, and fell asleep to the soothing sound of rushing water and leaves rustling above us.