Day Three starts with bacon, egg, potato, cheese, and avocado breakfast burritos. Unfortunately I haven't been able to have a movement, so I just stack it on top. It's going to be a big climb to get to our next stop and fresh with another handful of something resembling sleep, we are off.
The climb out of Nicasio Reservoir into Petaluma is much like getting out of Fairfax, perhaps not as long, but still a good one, perhaps even — fun. Buzzards circle over head swooping down to eat a deer caught in the headlights. You feel as if one of you could be next, especially the ones who complain about climbing.
We arrive at a half way point to Petaluma, a popular stop as it's literally the only thing in miles. As a captive audience I decide that feeling squirty has to stop here. The bathroom is not clean. I enter in desperation and leave without a couple layers of my fragile innocence. On the way out a rider on a road bike stops to ask if we'd seen his riding companion, an old man on a mountain bike. He is no where to be found, we worry on his behalf.
We finally finish the long decent into Petaluma and the center of town is bustling with activity, but this is not our destination. We ride through and out of town into an office park fit for a sitcom or the saddest job of your entire life in a cubicle in a colorless world that smells of new carpet and copy toner. But within this seemingly lifeless desert of single level business-park beige, lies the Lagunita's Brewing Company.
With mediocre food and a less than ideal location, the Lagunitas Brewing Company is still worth the visit. The beer garden and beer are the still main event, better even than having to drink warm Budwiser from a plastic cup in SoCha. Beers and food give us our calories for the ride to Santa Rosa and our next stop: the Russian River Brewing Company.
I can't say enough about Russian River. It has crept into my number one spot for brew pubs and local craft beer. Natalie and Vince are blessings to every beer drinking snob and otherwise in the bay area. Blind Pig and Consecration are my rewards for the day. Well half a Consecration, Jason and I learned important lessons about this particular brew some months ago.
The day is getting long and we still need to hit a grocery store before we get to Spring Lake. But it is already too late, the light is fading like a drunk at the bottom of a bottle. By the time we leave the grocery store dusk has all but passed. We ride into the park in the dark with no idea where to go. Like a scene out of Silent Hill, our tiny headlights poke just a few yards into the inky dark.
We ride a good ways downhill in the dark until we come upon a deserted camping area that doesn't allow fires. We are not only lost, but have lost our virginity to this place; we're down a steep hill in the pitch black loaded with groceries and without a clue as to where the camp site is. The dark has a way of playing tricks on you. For one you can't really see how steep the hill you are climbing is which is good. But you also get a lot of moving shadows and the gradient between the brightest spot in front of you creates complete blindness in your periphery. I'm not typically terrified of the dark, but I was certain we should fear other people in this park at night.
We manage to find the campsite and it wasn't bad. Not the great outdoors with several audible highways nearby and a pump venting in the lake every half hour, but clean, well kept, nice campsite hosts, and everything you need, including a coin-operated shower. I could not reduce myself to a shower that I had to feed like a parking meter, Seth, however, washed away his dignity for a dollar and a half.
I sleep with one eye open, my body full of grocery store rotisserie and ramen. I can't wait for Day Four.