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1000 Americans: Gerard, San Francisco

January 13, 2009 by  
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Gerard, by Mitch Aidelbaum

Gerard is one of the many ‘import-Americans’, being born and raised in The Netherlands. As many expats in SF, he works in IT, but uses his time off to enjoy the wonders of San Francisco and around as well as his girlfriend Adriana.

Photo by Mitch Aidelbaum, editing by me :)

1000 Americans: Alison Levine, San Francisco

January 3, 2009 by  
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Alison Levine Alison is a well sought-after public speaker as she combines her extensive business career with a love for adventure. She has climbed the 7 summits, hiked unsupported to the South Pole, and has done a million things more as you can read on her website

I have known Ali for 10 years, we only met 4 times, but every time was on a different continent…

1000 Americans: Street musician in Berkeley

January 3, 2009 by  
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Street Musician in Berkeley Even in early January it was sunny and warm in the bay Area and the musicians were playing full power at the local flea market, where a mix of people were enjoying the beats of the impromptu band…

1000 Americans: Mitch Aidelbaum, San Francisco

December 30, 2008 by  
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Mitch in Belgium beer cafe Maximum Mitch, as he likes to call himself is an IT-er with a passion for photography, or maybe a photographer with a passion for IT is more accurate as he loves to shoot and edit more than anything.

He has shot some great series in San Francisco, see his photostream here on flickr or visit his website

He shoots great weddings as well as travel, but his speciality is portraits and events and if you hang out with Mitch (he is a well-visited CouchSurfing Host as well), you get to know San Francisco through his eyes!

Thanks Mitch!

Day 152-160, 10-18 Dec 2008: Breaking a knee in steep California: from Red Woods to a Golden Gate…

December 20, 2008 by  
Filed under California, North America, Trip reports, USA

We had camped in the cold Redwoods & enjoyed the rest of the Avenue of the Giants leisurely. After no more than 35km we ended up in Redway, where we called Johnny, our host for the night for directions to his home and he picked us up and took us far into the curvy hills.

He told us how basically everybody in the entire county was somehow involved in the growing of marijuana, either for ‘medical’ or for business reasons, and that even the local radio had special announcements when ‘the helicopter’ would be on patrol.

This got confirmed by Todd, our host for the next night and was amazing to hear as we thought that with the ‘war on drugs’ and all, easy targets (like very citizen in a 50 mile radius) would be focused on first, but apparently it was just part of life here.

We had been told about Todd by our friend Kristen from Vancouver, who had cycled and met him here a few years ago. But before we could sit down at the fire and listen to his stories we had two encounters.

1000 Americans: Dakota & his horsesWhen going slowly uphill I noticed some fresh looking scat on the side of the road. It didn’t really look like Grizzly material and I thought we had left the wildest bear country by now.

Soon I saw more and with the sun in my face, I viewed a dark shape halfway up the hill. Even though I was only going about 8km/hr (5mph), it was the first thing I encountered on a hill that was slower than me and soon I caught up with a strange sight: A large wooden horse cart, pulled by 3 horses -with a 4th on the side- was slowly making its way up the hill, completely blocking one of the two lanes.

An old man with was standing proud. he was not too friendly and didn’t say much, but I found out that his name was Dakota and he had been travelling like this for 25 years, all west of the Mississippi…

Ivana summits Legget HillOur next encounter was with a dreaded place: the Leggett Hill. Actually it was much easier than feared beforehand, steep but constant, narrow, but zero traffic. We did not have to walk and Ivana arrived at the pass as well without much problem.

A Short downhill later we arrived at a level part, called Haley’s Grove, where we spent the night inside a trailer. Read about our chance meeting with Todd here on 1000 Americans.

12-14 Dec: Breaking a knee and viewing a lion between Hales Grove – Jenner, via Mendocino. 74km + 78km + 70km. Plus 3km  up and down..

A long downhill through the woods brought us back to the coast, but there was one more surprise, the Rockport Hill. When going up, my knee started hurting and we both pushed up several parts as it was too steep in places.

Steep roads on the hills of the california Coast. Phot by Ivana

Steep roads on the hills of the california Coast. Photo by Ivana

Back at the California coast, the road kept on oscillating between sea level and a few hundred meters above it for the next days. In 5 days we had climbed more than 5000m, so 1km vertical per day. My knee started hurting more, even on the flatter parts and at the end of the day I could barely walk as my knee would not bend.

Probably the best thing to do would be to rest or see a doctor, but we were on the ‘Lost Coast’, far away from any medical assistance. Besides, we were only a few days from San Francisco, se we decided to continue and seek help there. Also, not only my knee was bad, our multi-charger had broken down and I had no more batteries for my cameras, which made me feel even more handicapped than the fact that I stumbled more than I walked…

We had stayed with Barry in Mendocino, who was about to embark on his own bicycle trip. as happens often with our hosts, he called some friends, Chuck & Maria, to ask them if we could stay with them the next night. Some hours before we arrived, I was waiting on the side of the road for Ivana to catch up so I could point out a large group of deer, when a car pulled over.

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1000 Americans: Doug Henningsen, Sausalito

December 19, 2008 by  
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1000 Americans: Doug Henningsen, Sausalito

Some people are Couchsurfers without evening knowing it and Doug is a great example. he contacted us through the contact form on and sent:

Just in case you don’t have a place to stay as you approach San Francisco, I thought I’d at least provide an option – my very spartan/small apartment in Sausalito CA (3 miles north of the golden gate bridge). Unfortunately I can’t offer much more than a warm, dry place to stay, a shower & (carpeted floor) for sleeping. (…)

Doug (me? – avid cyclist – have cycled N/S & W/E across the US…years+++ ago, international traveler, CPA and building contractor by trade, single, no kids)

We had some great time with Doug, he took us up the viewpoint to overlook San Francisco, helped us out with all kinds of errands and made some great meals. At one point he mentioned that it would be great if there would be a website to connect cyclist or other travellers with hosts and we pointed him towards CouchSurfing and WarmShowers, of which he is now a member, so contact him if you are near!

And if you already live in the area and want to get fit, join him on a fast bikeride :)

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