Custom Bike - 6~8 weeks
Bike Repair - 1 week
We picked up our brilliant-red Rodriguez extra-long tandem in February of this year and started training for the 1,400 mile ride down the west coast to see our grandson in LA. The climbing on Highway 101 and 1 was relentless, especially with a lot of 85 to 100 mile days and no days off, so it was easy to envy the single bikes with a small pack and a water bottle cruising along! We pulled along 75 lbs of BOB trailer and gear, and after 684 miles, we were in the middle of our 9th day on the road. Since we had no one coming along in a sag wagon and expected to see no cheering faces for 19 days on the road, we were very much alone. making those who encouraged us or showed interest very special.
On this 9th day, now in the Redwoods of California, we were looking for an exit for a little town of Scotia. off of busy Hwy1O1. Instead of seeing the exit sign, Dave spotted what looked like a recumbent biker parked on the shoulder, facing us with a video camera. We stopped since we were so surprised & and were geeeted with, "l vos expecting you.... I heard in de campground you ver koming."
He was a 77-year old biker who had heard that a couple on a tandem was traveling down the coast (a rarity I guess, especially since there were few bikers anywhere all summer, from what we saw and heard). Fritz is from Switzerland and has a heavy German accent, chatting in his calming way about his trips down the coast every year. He took more pictures of us as he biked and said, "I veel lead you to Scotia de back vay, so yust follow me."
Sure enough, he took us through Rio DeII, then over a bridge to Scotia. We were not prepared for the neat perfection of Scotia, as compared to all the other little towns. It was beautiful, perfectly manicured, with everyone in town working for the Pacific Lumber Company, the largest on the west coast. He led us right to the door, then said "I veel be back tomorraw to tek you de vay to the highvay."
We were enchanted that anyone would take such an interest in us! Sure enough, there he was the next morning when we were leaving. He escorted us out to Hwy 101 again and what a warm feeling he gave us, which lasted the whole trip. Usually we had people just ask "Where are you going?" "How far are you going?" "Where are you from?" "How many days are you hiking and how many miles?" After those answers 99% of folks claimed they could never do that and walked away, so for Fritz to be that friendly was such a treat!