- Woke up early to deliver bagels to Nick to coax him into riding with me
- After loading us up with cake and cherries, The McRays gave us a great sendoff replete with a shofar blast
- We met Jim up on the Greenway.. To no one’s surprise, he had been patiently waiting for 1.5 hours
- Had a pretty chill ride out of the bay area, over the carquinez bridge. Well, chill except it was actually hot
- Straddled the border of Vacaville sprawl, betwixt the burbs and the bluffs
- Drank a gallon of ice tea in Cordelia – it was not enough. I knew this was going to be a hot bike tour, and it really wasted no time getting toasty
- Once we were free of Fairfield, it was a nice rolling ride through the countryside to arrive at our camp on putah creek
- But wait! There’s a brewery just down the road. Beers were drank, fries were eaten…a great end to the first day of the tour
- Woke up to early morning Jim/peacocks on Saturday morning
- Headed towards Davis on a lovely road made filthy by weekend warrior cyclists
- Got waylaid in Davis as Jim was on a quest for new panniers to replace the ones that had been destroyed by the sun.
- Davis remains both hot and kinda weird. We observed Xenials from afar… First use of ‘TBH’ in the wild
- The causeway between Davis and Sacramento pretty much sucks. I’m glad it exists, but riding 4 feet from oncoming I-80 traffic is not pleasant
- Possible slogans for West Sacramento include:
- A fate worse than death
- Hmm..it could be worse
- At least it’s flat
- Wet sac o’ cement: West Sacramento
- We pulled into Sacramento in the early afternoon, into the welcoming embrace of the Snavely/Greenbergs. After some lovely pool time, we decided to end the day early and stay there. The heat had nothing to do with this decision
- The evening entertainment was provided by young Edie , who performed the best tooth-brushing dance I’ve ever seen – followed by a flossing encore!
- We got on the road even earlier today in an attempt to beat the heat. Lovely early morning ride through the tree-lined streets of Sacramento and up the glorious American river bike path
- We had a brief jaunt through the burbs and then quickly found ourselves into the rolling golden foothills of the Sierra. Very lovely riding, although a truck did try to introduce us to its RV trailer in a non-consensual way
- Once again the heat fizzled our stamina early (though 55 miles by 3pm ain’t too bad. Nick rolled high on a charisma check to get us a deal at the wine-tourist hotel, which is where we are living it up right now. And, conveniently, there’s a brewery just down the street!
- Tomorrow we start our ascent of the Sierra in earnest, but the good news is that the forecast calls for much more humane temperatures. See ya on the other side!
- Left Plymouth bright and early on Monday morning, to begin our climb through beautiful Shenandoah wine country
- In River pines, we meant John who preached the virtues of “blue energy” aka hydroelectric power. He had to move to the middle of nowhere because he had crossed the men in black in proselytizing against wind energy. He even had a jaunty little tune about hydro, which I regretfully did not record.
- we continued our climb up omo ranch road, which was quiet, beautiful, and steep
- All three stores on our route were closed, so we did our best with the meager offerings from the Aukum grocery/hardware store
- Fate did smile upon us in that Gary, owner of the closed Ham’s station bar/restaurant (closed), allowed us to pitch our tents behind the store, which proved to be a gorgeous campsite
- Glorious egg and processed tomato breakfast burrito
- Absolutely beautiful bike riding into the mountains along highway 88
- The lack of open restaurants or bathrooms continued to plague us
- The weather turned shortly after silver lake, transitioning quickly from blue skies to a thunderous hail storm
- For a brief while, we had to find respite under some trees to avoid being pelted by the hail
- as we rolled our soaked carcasses down the hill to Kirkwood, my thermometer read 38 degrees
- We had been looking forward to warming up with some hot grub at the Kirkwood inn, only to be denied by a sign saying they were closed today for a ‘maintenance issue’
- We dejectedly roamed the potholed streets of Kirkwood village in search of any shelter, but alas all doors were closed to the bike bums
- The lack of food, the exhaustion of back to back days of solid climbing, and the fickle mountain weather led us to the decision that our best course of action would be to hitch a ride the last 30 miles into Tahoe in lieu of attempting two more mountain passes
- We quickly found a ride from a woman who worked at Kirkwood, who somehow crammed us,our gear, and our bikes into her hatchback and shuttled us into Tahoe
- We joined up with Andrew, who had been patiently waiting, and are now warming up and drying our gear in a hotel
- Tomorrow Jim and Nick venture on to Truckee where Amtrak awaits to return them to Urban Ore, whilst Andrew and I will continue on into Nevada and parts unknown
- Managed to find laundry and breakfast within walking distance of hotel
- Parted ways with Jim and Nick after breakfast – a fine pair of bums if ever there was
- Andrew and I headed around the south end of Lake Tahoe and up to spooner summit. It was a combination of quiet, wooded bike path and busy highway, but the scenery was outstanding the whole way
- After the summit we had a fast, long 9 mile descent down to the Carson valley…wheee!
- Stocked up in Carson City and rolled through town
- Downtown Carson City was pretty nice looking, but heading east out of town on 50 was about 7 miles of sprawling strip mall with a ridiculous amount of traffic
- The traffic slowly dissipated as we headed further east on 50 – so begins our adventure in the loneliest highway. The stark desert scenery and long sightlines were beautiful
- Just as we approached our camping spot – a campground on a silty reservoir on the Carson River – we had a bike bums first: a dust storm! It wasn’t too bad though
- We made gourmet (beyond) burgers with mushroom, onion, and cheese on ciabatta rolls for dinner, and now are tucked away for the night. Tomorrow after we pass through Fallon will be our first long stretch without services.
- Woke up early and chowed down on some yogurt and granola. Unfortunately, my attempt to repair my sleeping pad made it worse! Didn’t sleep great because I was on the ground every 45 minutes
- Had a pretty easy ride into Fallon, where we chowed down at a brewpub
- Loaded up on groceries as this is the last town of more than 1k people for 250 miles
- Stopped to see some cool petroglyphs from 7000 years ago while fighter jets performed high-speed maneuvers above our heads
- Had a looong ride to reach middlegate station – but the views have been amazing!
- We got drizzled on a bit, which was refreshing. So far the temperatures have been pretty great.. Highs in the upper 70s to low 80s
- Middlegate station is amazing! An old pony express stop way out in the middle of nowhere, it’s now a bar/restaurant/store/motel/campground. The food is amazing, and the folks here are super friendly
- A local said that this is the greenest she’s seen the desert in 10 years – my reason for doing this route this year is panning out!
- We met a west-bounder today riding from salt lake city to sf. Recon is that our road is about to get a much better shoulder.. It hasn’t been bad though, there’s only like 1 car every 5-10 minutes
- Today we are climbing into some mountains over Carroll summit
- Had a great breakfast at middlegate station – met a west-bound cyclist who started in salt lake city
- We took a detour off US-50 and it was amazing! A long steady climb though canyons with creeks and wildflowers, and in the 50+ miles we were on it, I bet we saw fewer than 2 dozen cars. Definitely one of the best roads I’ve ridden
- We had a tough climb at the end of the day to make it into Austin… The whole town is built along a steep hill. But we had a great dinner at Grandma’s, and we came on the right night because they were having guitar karaoke. I embarrassed myself belting out a few shaky numbers
- Slept in the park. 9/10. Great log balance beams
- Rode back down the hill into town for breakfast only to find everything closed
- Long, 70 mile day into Eureka, with a fair amount of climbing
- Spent most of the day nimbly dodging rain storms, but they finally caught up to us
- We tried to get a hotel in town – our last four days have been 72, 80, 64, and 71 miles, so we’re pretty beat – but all 4 hotels in town were fully booked, so it was back to the park for a rainy night (augmented by sprinklers)
- Now we’re getting some tasty breakfast and opting to take 2 short days vs riding the full 77 miles (and 4200 feet of climbing) into the next town
- Another great day of riding across the desert with no pesky towns or services to distract us
- Almost got nailed by one of the ominous rainstorms we’ve been seeing, but we popped up a tent on the side of the road and had an impromptu jam session to wait out the deluge
- Thought we had made it home-free when we turned onto the dirt road leading to a BLM campground, but it turns out the dirt was actually thick, clay-like mud. It stuck to our bikes to the point that both my wheels stopped turning, and I had to drag my bike into the campground. Luckily, there was a lake there, so we gave our bikes a good long bath.
- We found some friendly camp neighbors – Greg and Rachel from Mount Vernon, WA – who agreed to give us and our bikes a lift back to the pavement the next morning
- It got cold! My tent door was frozen when I woke up in the middle of the night
- The ride to the road went off without a hitch. We dusted off our bikes as best we could and rolled down the hill into Ely, the biggest town in 250 miles
- We hit up the all you can eat pizza buffet, then booked a hotel for our first shower in 5 days. Laundry was done, hot tubs were soaked in, beers were drunk. Good times
- We got a slow start to the day, but we finally caught a tailwind. Despite two big climbs for over 3100 feet of climbing, we made quick work of the 64 miles to get us into Baker – the last town in Nevada!
- Baker is the gateway to Great Basin National Park, and so, despite it being tiny, it had quite a few services. We met two west-bounders – Ben from Michigan, and Hugo from Paris – and had a great dinner here!
- Said adieu to Hugo and goodbye to Ben. Had a long conversation with the owner of the small store about the various habits of bike tourists
- Headed back out into the lonely desert – 83 miles to the next town!
- Crossed into Utah! 2 states down, 3 to go
- The landscape changed to become more deserty – saw our first cactus!
- Found a great little place to camp at the top of a pass. Andrew cooked up some gourmet tortellini
- Bombed down the hill, and back up over the next pass to reach the next town, Milford. Grubbed down at a diner – excellent milkshake.
- Continued on into a headwind through farm country to Minersville. Stocked up at the little grocery store
- Camped at the county park on a lake. Too windy and chilly to swim though. The skies cleared up just at dusk for a gorgeous sunset. Went to sleep to the sounds of a girls youth group singing Mormon campfire songs
- Headed back into Minersville for fresh donuts at the store, then climbed another long pass heading out of town
- Even longer descent on the other side.. The miles flew by
- As we approached Cedar city (in the rain) we were suddenly thrust back into land of race car ya-yas. The route into town was a stroad packed to the gills with diesel trucks hitting us with every puddle.
- Had Indian food for lunch – a nice change from the burgers and pizza we’ve been having – and then checked into a hotel for a nice long rest day while we waited for Alice and Anton to arrive
- Went to a fancy woodfired pizza place with good draft beers for dinner, then got gourmet brownies and ice cream for dessert. Back to the hotel where we slept in until checkout – glorious!
- Ate the motel breakfast, then spent the morning on a wild goose chase visiting every sporting goods store to find a new sleeping pad (my many attempts to patch mine have been unsuccessful). Unfortunately, none of the shops had good options
- Checked out the Cedar City farmers market – had prickly pear lemonade
- Met Alice and Anton at the car rental shop – now we are four bums!
- While shopping for provisions, got a call back from a gear shop and was able to get a new sleeping pad! Gear Fool in Cedar City is a great little shop – they opened up just for me to swing by… Even offered to ship my old pad to my house!
- We then headed out on the long, 20 mile, 4000+ foot climb up to Cedar Breaks National Monument. Found a great little campground 12 miles up the road, and ended the day with curry and beers
More to come….!
- Up and at ’em to continue climbing the big hill..started to see some amazing views
- I forgot to mention how quickly we transitioned out of the desert into the forest… In just a few miles ascending the canyon out of cedar city we were in a completely different environment
- The grade finally tapered off around 9900 feet and we were merrily rolling through alpine meadows
- We stopped for lunch at the cliff’s edge for amazing views of the cedar breaks… But a gust of wind blew my helmet over the edge! Gone forever!
- Met a very nice couple at the next overlook who felt sorry for my sob story and sold me one of their helmets – crisis averted!
- An amazing rocket ride down the mountain to a campground… But somehow when I inflated my brand new air mattress,I popped a hole in it! Whyyyyyy?
- 18 miles to breakfast, but it was mostly downhill with a tailwind…topped out at 51 mph screaming into Panguich
- Very tasty breakfast in Panguich with some killer cobbler to top it off – very glad Anton is riding with us to share my quest for tasty desserts
- Tailwind turned into a nasty headwind heading out of town, but wasn’t too bad once we turned east
- Picked up a great bike path through Red Canyon that took us all the way into Bryce Canyon
- I hit 40,000 miles of lifetime bike touring! Looking forward to the next 40k!
- Just outside the park we met an amazing woman from Serbia who has been bike touring around the world for 12 years! Check out Snezana’s books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=snezana+radojicic&crid=2M4STBQK6CZAZ&sprefix=snezana+radojici%2Caps%2C242&ref=nb_sb_noss
- Snezana came to our campsite for dinner and shared many great stories
- We went on a night hike along the canyon rim for some stargazing. I definitely did not almost walk off the edge into the abyss
- Breakfast at the lodge, and then a long hike though Bryce Canyon. We ended up doing 8.5 miles and over 3000 feet elevation! It was all absolutely stunning
- On the hike we met a woman who volunteers to do “preventative search and rescue”, which means she hikes the trails all day to make sure folks have enough water, does basic first aid, etc. She said she has to assist folks every single day. She gets to live in the park for free though, so not a bad way to spend retirement!
- Had another delicious camp meal, then attended a very strange ranger talk about navigation. The best part was the Q and A at the end when someone asked if the ranger thought there will be national parks on Mars (she replied, without skipping a beat, “yes, because that’s job security”)