Friday, June 26, 2009

A check list.

bike [over]loaded? check.
tires nearly worn out? check.
gas tank half full? check.
no map of the route? check.


The next adventure begins on Sunday...
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Back in Gig Harbor

I'm back in Gig Harbor for a few days, thanks Carl! Here are a couple of pictures taken on the way. Click on them to see larger sizes.

A sky with texture?

No, just the deep blue of Crater Lake, Oregon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

Alas, no train ride for me. While purchasing my ticket I was advised that I could not check luggage in Redding. To check luggage I must board the train in Sacramento. That is 130 miles south of me.

Bicycle, train, rental car. My travel options kept falling short, except one. So I am staying another night in Red Bluff while brother Carl drives down from Gig Harbor, WA, and tomorrow we'll drive back north. I changed hotels this morning and just riding the 2-3 miles across town made me realize I would not have had a good ride to Redding. My ankle does okay walking but the pedaling motion was quite painful.

There will be other chances to ride and tour. For now my next trip will be on a motorcycle for a ride from Gig Harbor to Michigan. That trip will start in a week or so and also be documented in this blog.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The 16th.

I woke up still feeling some stiffness in my left ankle. The tendon was sore, certainly from over use. I would find it difficult to transition from seated to standing pedalling, which was necessary to do since my tush was more than a little sore from so many hours on the bike. It hurt to sit and pedal, and it to stand and pedal. Still miles to go.

Before I could leave, my new friend Vera slipped me a boiled egg to supplement the sardines and granola bar I'd had for breakfast. I rolled out of the camp ground around 9:30 AM.

The road continued to climb but not as steep. I dealt with the ankle by pedaling my lowest gear up the inclines and coasting down hills standing on my right-pedal. Eleven miles later (2 hours riding), I came to the intersection of hwy 32 and 89. At least now I knew where I was on the map.

Turning north the road was not especially challenging, but I still had to dig deep to keep going. My ankle hurt. My butt hurt. I was hungry and low on energy. So many times I wanted to just stop, get off the bike, park it, and wait for Armageddon. But getting back on became more difficult each time I took a break. And there was nothing out there. Very little shade and barely a shoulder on the road. And no sign of Armageddon.

Right after hurricane Katrina, my sister sent me a card with a quote from Winston Churchill: "When you're going through hell, keep going." A long stop at the side of the road would have felt good to my sore parts, but what then? Without food I would find it more and more difficult to get going again.

Eight miles later my persistence paid off in the form of the Child's Meadow Resort. I was so hungry I couldn't decide between breakfast or lunch on the menu, and in a weak moment almost ordered both. The camp store was light on traveling food but I did the best I could. Refueled and restocked I hit the road again.

A photo from Mineral Summit: What Will looks like when he's suffering (pretty much the same dopey look as normal!).

Ten miles later I was in Mineral buying ice cream at the general store. The clerk said it was not entirely downhill to Red Bluff, but nearly. The elevation at Mineral is 5000 feet, and 42 miles away Red Bluff is 300 feet. My ankle continued to be a bother but I pulled in to Red Bluff around 6 PM.

So this will be the end of this bicycle tour. I'll take a day off to recover a bit, then ride 36 miles to Redding to catch an Amtrak to Tacoma. Next time I'll pick a route that has more towns and reasons to stop, and maybe fewer hills. I want to keep going but I think my ankle needs more than a day to recover fully. The temperature in Red Bluff is in the upper 80s and as much fun as more riding sounds like, I think I will pass on the rest of the California mountains for now.

the route:

View Larger Map

Ankles are not pretty to begin with...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I wrote this yesterday at the campground. Today's post will follow soon.

I suffered more today than I can ever remember suffering on a bicycle. I pushed out over 60 miles, but it was almost all up hill. About 5 miles out of Chico (elevation 225 feet), hwy 32 pointed to the sky. Not a lot, about a 5-6% grade, but it was persistent. Pretty soon I was creeping along in my smallest gear, riding between 4 and 5 mph. This went on for miles, for hours. The high point was 4400 feet, followed by a screaming 4 mile decent that saw me drop 1200 feet at nearly 40 mph, then more climbing

Looking back at Chico.

I camped at the "Potato Patch" campground in the Lassen Nat'l Forrest.
I intended to stop at the next store I saw and get some supplies since I was carrying almost no food. As it turned out, I had lunch at the only place I saw all day, and bought nothing extra. At the campground, I asked several people if there was a store up the road but no one could say for sure. A very nice lady, Vera Rose from Tuscon, answered my question by handing me a can of tune, a single serving cup of applesauce, and a can of sardines. I saved the sardines for breakfast.

The day was 7 hours 46 minutes riding, average speed: 7 mph.

I was so frazzled I couldn't just couldn't get focused.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Keep pedaling!

The ride began today, after my friend Jake dropped me off at a truck stop near I-5 in the town of Dunnigan. I started the ride around 11:30 but with a nice jumpstart, being several miles north of where I thought I might get started. I took a turn onto a back road thinking it might be a shortcut and after 30 minutes on a bumpy gravel road I found myself right back at my starting point. From then on I only ride roads that are on the map!

I ended up on Hwy 45 and planned on calling it a day in Willow, but Willow on I-5, not Hwy 45. I-5 was 10 miles west of me, and I opted to ride 14 miles north to Hamilton City, thinking I would find a low-cost hotel there. I needed a room to unpack my trailer and see if I could lighten it a bit.

Hamilton City did not have a hotel, so I had to chose between Orland and Chico, both 10 miles away, one east and one west. I picked Chico where I sit tonight having covered just over 85 miles for the day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Saturday, 12 June

Yes, I know, 12 June was Friday for most people, but I'm retired now and every day is a Saturday on my calender!

Carl and I spent some time exploring the Seattle public library before heading over to the amazing Boeing Museum. I experimented with some of the settings on my camera but the picture seen here was pretty basic, just one amazing airplane, the XR-71 Blackbird.

Tomorrow I'll catch a plane to Oakland and soon I will be pedalling north. I can't wait!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The view.

Enjoying a cigar, taking in the view from the porch. The mountain hiding in the back-right is Mount Rainier, 50 miles away.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I've been in Gig Harbor a couple days now, staying with my brother and his family.  Today we'll go to "Gig Fest" and in the next couple of days get some supplies (camera, high-visibility riding gear) before hopping on a train south.  

Then the bicycle ride begins.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Avenue of the Giants

Today we drove through the Avenue of the Giant Redwoods.  I have seen it a couple of times and the immensity of the trees has started to wear off.  Pat was amazed by them, and rightly so.  She caught a picture of me adjusting the tie-downs and I got a picture of her measuring the trees.

We ended the day in Crescent City, CA.  More miles tomorrow.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1st

Nothing special about the departure today.   After many hours of work (with significant help from my sister Pat), I checked out of the (rental) house and we hit the road.  I managed to get everything into the van, or should I say I managed to get rid of enough stuff that what was left fit into the van.

Two orange bikes and one red, but none on the road.  The bicycle trip will follow soon.  For now the next stop will be Seattle, where I'll be an apprentice-retiree to my big brother for a few days.