Day 5 – Soap, Dope and Ink

21st June 2018

This morning I’m going to the launderette to do my washing and then have a ride somewhere. I’m meeting Sylvie and Lynda at 4pm in San Francisco, they are picking up their hire bike from Eagle Rider a worldwide Harley hire company.

As I have no idea where I will find a launderette and given the warning from the owner of my apartment as regards some areas of Oakland being dangerous I decide to make my way over to where I went to the Walgreens as I think that’s an ok area.

When I arrive I see that in the daylight it’s not so ok as I thought, however there is a launderette opposite Walgreens so I go in there. So this area seems predominantly Latino and there’s a Latino Channel on the TV in the launderette. Of course I don’t have any soap powder, but there is a powder machine. There’s no information about how much the powder costs so I ask a young Latino woman, who has 3 children with her and a small mountain range of washing, how much the powder costs… she thinks it’s a dollar but isn’t sure and then she very generously offers me a cup of her powder, again I’m blown away by how kind people can be in this country.

I bundle my few bits into the machine and set it going… I then realise I don’t have my bum bag, it has my passport in it… oh no here we go again… I did have it on and don’t remember taking it off but I must have done, but did I leave it in my apartment or out on the ground by where the bike was parked??? Shit… I leave the washing to get on with it and jump back on the bike. Once back at the apartment there’s no sign of the bag outside so I am praying it is inside…. yep there it is on the bed, whew!!

By the time I get back the washing is done so into the dryer and I go along to a small bakery a few doors down and get a coffee and a doughnut to eat while I wait.

I also give some thought to where I am going to go next… I don’t want to go over to San Francisco just yet so I think to google Oakland and see what might be a nice area to visit and get a decent cup of coffee… ah Berkeley, of course the famous university is there, well I never knew that was part of Oakland so I decide to go and have a look.

I have an uneventful ride to Berkeley and park up somewhere in the centre. I am surrounded by college buildings and students… however the most overwhelming sensation is smell, it stinks of marijuana! Ah, of course it is legal here and clearly the students are not holding themselves back from giving it a go… and so the world turns.

I have a little wander around, it a pretty typical studenty scene so I find a small coffee shop and settle down to do some work… WORK I hear you say, well yes I still have a business to run, it won’t run itself while I’m enjoying myself.

At around 3pm I think I’d best make my way over the Bay Bridge and find Eagle Rider to meet up with Sylvie and Lynda. I have crossed the Bay Bridge a few times now and the first time was from SF to Oakland and it was windy so a bit nerve wracking, the second time was the other way and I was very surprised to have to pay a toll.. $4! Apparently you only pay in one direction. Well it’s always a pain in the A trying to fiddle about with money at toll booths, especially when it’s busy so I get myself ready by secreting $4 in my left glove to speed things up. There is a lot of traffic crossing the bridge so I’m pleased I prepared for the toll, except…. it’s $6 not $4 as it’s peak time, grrrr

I arrive at Eagle Rider by 3.45 so have a look around… there’s some merchandise at the back of the place, mmmm what do we have here???

Sylvie and Lynda arrive just after 4pm and it certainly is good to see them both.  Lots of paperwork to fill in and a quick test ride for Sylvie to try out the hire bike, it’s a Harley Heritage and rather different to Sylvie’s own bike, which she has seemed a little bit anxious about I think especially because she has got Lynda on the back.  She takes it round the block and seems ok with it, but Eagle Rider give her a few hours to bring it back if she isn’t happy with it.

We all then go off up to the Castro to Harvey’s restaurant for some early dinner, it is very good.  Then it is time to go, they are going to explore tattoo shops as Sylvie wants a new tattoo to commemorate this trip and I am really tired so home for me, across the freezing Bay Bridge once again.

No photos today, not sure why…


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