On the Brink of Launch

Yesterday Judy and I toured Alcatraz and saw the main SF tourist sites. One of the things I learned about Alcatraz is that the island was misnamed. Apparently the Spaniards named a different island Alcatraces (pelicans) but the cartographer mistakenly put the name on “the rock” and the name stuck. Originally it was just a rock in the bay with birds and guano. Over the years it was shaped by needs (military, prison) but something that amazed me is that it has NEVER had a fresh water source (still doesn’t) and every bit of everything other than birds and guano (including soil) has been brought in by boat from elsewhere.

This is important because in the midst of these types of remnants:

…there are also these:


After spending the morning over there, we returned to SF proper and took a bus tour around the city. We had to stop at Golden Gate park, of course:


And of course, I had to find a geocache. Because this is National Park Service land, no actual cache exists. Instead I did an “earthcache”. These caches require the search to find a particular sign in the park. Usually there are a couple of questions particular to the sign. Once you’ve gathered the info, you send it by message to the cache owner, who gives you permission to publish “found it.” I’m still awaiting approval. I’m not sure I answered the last question accurately, but since my finger obscured part of the photo I took of the sign . . .

After a full day we used Uber to get to the church where we stayed last night and will stay tonight. I reassembled my bike and met some new teammates. We also enjoyed a lovely buffet courtesy of this amazing church. And of course, I talked bikes with one of the young women and found her some local safe cycling classes to get her back on a bike!

Our first hosts are the priest and congregation of St. John’s Armenian Apostolic Church. In a city with many lovely church buildings, this one is more than just looks. The people have loved us abundantly!

If you know the history of Armenian Christians, it’s one of faith in the face of persecution. This church commemorates the genocide during the Ottoman Empire, and one much more recent.

All the rest of the riders are arriving and there is a palpable excitement in the air! Tomorrow, we ride!


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