Tuesday, June 22, 2010

End of the tour

The text on the sign reads "Next 140 Miles"

Sorry the last update has been so long in coming. There's been a lot of movement and patchy coverage from which to post.

I met my uncle John at the point which was as far west as one could prudently ride a bicycle on highway 36. No real alternative routes exist from there exist, si it was time to call it done. Once into Humboldt County, the road becomes 2-lane, no shoulder, with hundreds of blind curves, steep climbs/descents and traffic moving at 60-70 mph. In all honesty, I was worn out after the long ride the day before and nearly endless climbing that day. Time to be done.

Yesterday we traveled stretches of the coastal highway 101 through the redwood groves, and small towns. Trinidad, Eureka, Fortuna, and to the beach at Big Lagoon.

Pics are from the last 100 miles of riding, and from some of the sightseeing yesterday. The last pic is a genuine banana slug in the wild

I'll be returning to Fort Worth tomorrow, the 23rd. Patty and I were thinking about having friends over on this Sunday afternoon for snacks and swimming as kind of a coming -home party. Nothing is set in stone yet, but email me at davidwhill@gmail.com, if you're interested in coming by and I'll let you know what develops.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

All done

Just met up with my uncle John. Just in time, too. Backtracking down hwy 36, I could tell that no way did I want to ride that high-traffic, no-shoulder trainwreck of a road. More, once I charge the phone. 112 miles yesterday,  I'm beat.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Winding down

The whole rest of this trip is now visible in one look at my map case.

I just descended 4500 feet in around 30 miles, putting me back at Ft Worth altitude for the 1st time since, well, I guess since I left.   Still gotta climb back up to almost 3000 today and tomorrow,  though. Here are some shots of today's 1st 55 miles.  It doesn't look like there are any towns of size between here (Red Bluff) , and the end of this trail, so I'm not expecting to be able to post again, before the end of the ride, tomorrow night or Monday.   Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion, as it develops. See you on the other side!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Short day

I'm calling it a 65 miles, and camping in Child's Meadows.  There's no phone service,  but I found some wifi. Mt Lassen glares down on my little tent, sad now, that her laziness in shedding her winter blanket will prevent me from seeing her glories and sharing them with you, gentle reader.

Also, what the heck is the red thing?

Out of the Sierra Range, and into the Cascades

Feather River pics

Forgot to attach them to the last post

Along the Feather River

First 28 miles down. Just beautiful, amazing terrain, stunning views. All this is tempered by twisty roads, no shoulders, logging trucks and two flats so far today.

Stopped for coffee in Greenville, somebody knows the difference between a cappuccino and a latte. Yowm.

checking out

Leaving early to get a jump on the traffic. Not feeling all that chipper this morning, but its just a bike ride.. I'll check in a little later.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chilling in Quincy, CA

I took a room at the Gold Pan Motel, so I can rinse out my unmentionables and get an early start in the morning. According to a local rider, the 1st 17 miles of hwy 89 I'll ride tomorrow is not real bike-friendly, so I'd like to get through it before traffic gets gnarly.

The bad news right now is that the park road up to Mt Lassen is still closed for snow, so it's not looking like I'll make it up there tomorrow.  I'm bummed, but some other cool thing will probably show itself, so no big deal.

Also, today is the 1st day warm enough for riding with short sleeves and no leg warmers, since southern Colo.

Pics, the Vaya surrounded by the local version of bluebonnets, the view from hwy 70 before a long, fast descent to Quincy, and one pic just for Aunt Judy.

Great day for a ride

It was in the upper 30's but windless when I got up. I packed up the tent and gear, got some bacon and eggs at the Bordertown Casino and headed out. I tried a back road route suggested by Google, but had to turn around and backtrack, due to a gated road. No worries, the surface and shoulder on 395 are fine. The CA border inspectress called me "Sweetie" and told me not to speed. Climbed Beckwourth Pass to a nosebleed-worthy 5200 feet, then cruised to Portola for sightseeing and lunch. I hope the rest of the day (trip) is this easy.

Pics- back into the mountains, and a 1909 steam railroad snowblower.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tomorrow - the last state

Looking around on Reno's outskirts, the possibilities for a comfy or inexpensive place to stay looked bleak. My map showed nothing between where I sat in Golden Valley and possibly Chillcoot, Ca, Chillcoot being farther than I felt like riding after 36 hours awake. I stalled as long as I could in a Subway, under the pretense of charging my phone, till I decided to just start riding and trust Providence. About two minutes after that decision, in walked three men in local volunteer fire-rescue tshirts. I asked one if he knew a place I could throw down my tent, hoping for a spot not too far off-route behind the local fire station.

After a minute of coming up with nothing, he rrmembered that there was an RV campground just on the state line, at Bordertown (not evident on my AAA map). I rolled 15 more miles on the smooth, wide shoulder of US395, to the cleanest, friendliest RV park of tbe trip. I'm truly grateful.

Shot of the tent and a dry lake bed just after the big climb and descent into the Sierra territory.

Amtrak across Nevada

As I mentioned, due to a damaged bridge, the California Zephyr got off to a 7 hour late start. The bad news was sitting up in the station all night, but at least I'm not crossing the desert in the dark. Here's a thunderstorm I've been watching. Lateness notwithstanding,  traveling by train is pretty pleasant.

Depending on how long it takes to unbox the bike and get situated in Reno, I may not get into California till tomorrow.

in and out of Reno

Looking for a place to sleep near the CA state line. Not much around.

I made other posts from the train, hours ago but they haven't appeared as I write this.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

all the sources said, "Don't be surprised..."

If Amtrak is 6 hours late.

Good call. They are.

Salt Lake City

It occurs to me that the only other time I've ever been to SLC was driving through the last time I was gone for a month - back when Grace was about 3 months old.It's not how I remember it at all.

I just stopped in at Millcreek Cycles here to see if they could find the source of a "tick" coming from the driveside crank. I suspected my chainring bolts were loosening, though I kept that to myself-not wanting to prejudice the mechanic's diagnosis. The wrench heard my time situation, and tossed my bike into the workstand, in front of who knows how many others. He checked, discovered a couple of loose ring bolts himself, and tightened those, as well as resetting the preload on the crankarms and re-torquing the crank bolts. I rode around the parking lot and the tick that's been making me crazy since the Utah border was gone.

Cost - $00.00, so in appreciation, I bought one of their t-shirts.

Tonight at 10 pm, I'll hop the California Zephyr to Reno, and start making my way up toward Mt. Lassen and across California.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Heber City view and Strawberry Reservoir

Heber City

Well, the roads are no better for riding here, but the scenery has taken a very nice turn for the better.

Today's ride was 55 miles of low-rise climbing with a sneaky headwind, followed by 17 miles of steep downhill into town here. It was cold enough all day to warrant two shirts, arm and knee warmers, a cap and a windbreaker. Here in Heber, it's finally warm enough to unwrap a little. Going to hang out tonight with my buddy Ryan, who lives nearby, and head for SLC and Amtrak tomrrow night.

Changing plans...

I'm not enjoying the riding in Utah, and all my information says that the grind getting across Nevada holds no great charm, either. Nonetheless, my original plan would require 6-7 more days of unpleasant riding to get to more pretty country in California. In california, I'd be rushing to see all I want to see and still spend any time with John and Carole, before coming home.

I now think there's a better way to finish out this trip, so I've booked a seat on Amtrak tomorrow night, from Salt Lake City to Reno.

Part of me is disappointed about the change, but I'm here to have fun, and the original plan always had me sweating the last week as being rushed and hectic. This fixes that. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Duchesne, Utah

Hmm, not much to say about this day, or the country I've seen. I have to confess not being very impressed with the roads or traffic in this part of Utah. Skies turned black and flashy about half an hour before I got here. I found a room at the Rio Damian B&B, and the hail started as I was rolling the bike back to the patio. Let's see what tomorrow brings...

Roosevelt, UT

I got a late start with the rain, shopping for road food and breakfast at Betty's Cafe. The service was slow, but the food was dang good, so it evens out, I guess.  I'm sitting in Roosevelt trying to figure out if it's gonna start raining again. Cross your fingers.

from the road.

Waiting for a break

Glad I didn't get a smaller tent. I've been up 2 hours, waiting for a gap in this "scattered shower " so I can pack up and roll.

from the road.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pine bark beetle damage and breakfast cookingj

All through Colorado I saw the damage this bug is doing. Around Breckinridge 3 of every 5 pines are dead and brown. Up by Lynx Pass, it's more like 9 of 10.
Breakfast that morning was oatmeal and cocoa made from the cold, sparkling waters of French Creek, bubbling by 15 feet from my tent, and beef jerky (not shown)

from the road.

Not many pics today

Too much rain - besides, stopping meant getting even colder.

from the road.

Utah seems to be a little behind the curve

Has nobody told them that summer is supposed to be sunny and over 52 degrees? I'm in Vernal UT, with thanks to Brian and Susan, who took pity on a suffering wretch. When they spotted me near the state line, it was in the 40's, windy, pouring, with bad visibility and a narrow shoulder. They made room on the bike rack and in the car, and gave me a lift into town.

Leaving Maybell, headed for Vernal.

It's raining,  but the lightning has passed. Should be mid-50s with favorable winds, so I'm rolling out. 90 miles of not much between here and Vernal.

from the road.

Agility course in tiny Maybell

Agility course in tiny Maybell, CO.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Good find!

I spent the late afternoon dodging thunderstorms. Rain, I can handle,  but I take no pleasure in being tall and conductive, when there's lightning around. When it got within '4-mississippi', I took cover under the flatbed of a truck, while the front edge passed. Only thing around except a cattle pen, but that would have involved trespassing. I wound up stopping in Maybell, pop. @30. Tiny as it is,  it's a qualifying venue for agility dog trials. Camping in the park is $10, 2 more if you want a shower.  So maybe I'll learn a little about agility tonight, from tomorrow's competitors
from the road.

Steaming toward Utah

After enjoying a delicious eggs benedict with Lambo, he rode out the 1st 20 miles with me out hwy 40 to Hayden. The road follows the Yampa river and though the terrain is flattening out, still beautiful and full of wildlife,  including a porcupine that didn't make it across the road.  Outside of Craigs, I ran across Urdin and Ibarra, from the Basque region, 6 weeks into a 3 month tour. Once I finish lunch and post this, I'm heading out. I'm hopeful I'll sleep somewhere between Maybell and Dinosaur tonight.

from the road.

Heading out of Steamboat. Had a great visit with Lambo, Sally and Shane. Time to head West to parts unknown.

from the road.

Safe in Steamboat

So the last 2 days have been heavy on riding and pictures,  but light on phone service and wifi connections.  Here are some photos...

from the road.