I woke up to a nice surprise in the kitchen. Amy had made me a coffee cake for my birthday. My wish before blowing out the candle was to keep having great experiences like this with such good people. After breakfast, I packed up my things and called Elena, a friend of my friend Meghan who was coming into San Francisco today. The plan was to see about accommodations. I called my friend Nicole and finally got in touch. I found out she lives pretty far south of San Francisco so staying with her doesn’t seem like an option. I got a hold of Elena and she said crashing at her place would be fine. I got directions and then said goodbye to Tom. I rode the short distance to the elementary school where Amy teaches. I first stopped in on Larry’s class and talked to the kids about my trip and then I went over to Amy’s class and met her students. I spent about two hours at the school and checking out different projects of theirs like their bunnies and a few reptiles they were keeping. There were some pretty cool interactions. Around 11am, I left the school, cycled uphill and then rode down into Fairfax, a pretty cool town. I got some lunch at the natural foods market and ate outside, enjoying the sunshine. I continued south with my map in hand because I was frequently switching streets to stay off the busy roads. I passed through some pretty upscale homes and then endured a long windy ascent up a hill. After the nice downhill, I switched to a great bicycle path that led me to Sausalito. After one more uphill, I was at the Golden Gate Bridge. I crossed the busy bridge, taking photos along the way. I entered the city of San Francisco and had a difficult time finding my way to Elena’s place, but eventually made it. She lives in a section of the city that seems to have attracted a pretty alternative crowd, The Haight-Ashbury. No one was home, so I hung out at Golden Gate Park nearby and did some writing while checking out some of the colorful personalities. This area reminds me of a cross between Seattle’s University District and Capitol Hill. I walked my bike up and down Haight Street checking out the stores, smoke shops, and many characters on the sidewalks. I had some delicious Pad Thai at a small Thai restaurant on the street. This further reinforced my comparison to Seattle. I came across a guy playing a djembe drum and stopped to listen to the beats. He was joined by another guy playing flute and I loved sitting there listening to the spontaneous music. After witnessing the great jam session, I met a nice guy named Chad. We had great talks about touring, pot, traveling, and society in general. We had some coffee and then went to his car to have a coconut. All this time I had my rig with me. We had a nice smoke session in his car and he explained this form of martial arts he had been studying. It was so great to have immediate connections after arriving in this cool city. We popped a couple holes in some coconuts and enjoyed the sweet liquid inside. After finishing the juice, we cracked them open on the curb and scooped out the tasty flesh. I got out my hacky sack and started kicking it around. Soon after, we were witnesses to some crazy altercation in the parking lot which ultimately ended with some violence and a broken car window. It was good not to be involved in it and to me it felt a little shocking and surreal. Chad and I continued hanging out and had a nice hacky sack session before leaving. The evening fog was rolling in and the weather became a little bit cool. I walked with Chad to the street Elena lived on and then we ended up talking for at least another hour. He told me this fantastic story about dealing with police brutality. We traded contact info, hugged and said goodbye. I hope to see him again while hanging out here. I went to Elena’s and met her and her housemates Tim and Mark. I was pretty wired still from that double shot mocha and from the great interactions with Chad. Elena, Tim and I chatted until late in the night. We talked about the area, movies, and miscellaneous other things. I hit the bed after 2am snuck up on us. What a great birthday! (35 miles)

Peace

Dave