Bicycle Journey Progress

The journey begins on April 5th and ends on June 20, 2012

Ride Progress: COMPLETE!
Daily summaries:
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75

sábado, 11 de agosto de 2012

Hi there!

Hi everyone!
I know it's been a while since we updated the site and that there are a few final days of the trip missing here.

I wanted to let you know that we will complete all the remaining updates very soon! The reason it's been outdated is that I (Eduardo) have continued the bike ride, this time to Vancouver, Canada and since I've been camping pretty much all the way it became very hard to maintain the site updated.

However, we have all the materials up to the last minute when my uncle flew back to Brazil and we will post them shortly.

Thank you for your patience!
- Eduardo & Gilberto


sábado, 14 de julho de 2012

Day 68 – 06/09/2012 – Bakersfield, CA

This was a very pleasant day, in fact the first really enjoyable ride in many days. We woke up around 8:00 am and had a nice meal for breakfast. Judging by the difficulty of our previous day, we decided to prepare ourselves very well. We thought we had a long and hard way to Bakersfield, so our meal had to be strong.

Once we were done we finished packing and left through the downtown area of Tehachapi. We were looking for a good place to have coffee, but all the coffee shops had high windows and no place for bicycles inside, so we decided to drink at a gas station and move on.
Once we entered the highway, to our surprise the path was mostly downhill. Right away we saw a sign warning drivers for a steep downhill stretch 14 miles long. That was very good news to us since we had struggled so badly in the previous day to cover just 23 miles.



The descent was smooth, with large shoulder area and no issues whatsoever. The landscape was beautiful, with many mountains extending up to where the eyes could see. They were mostly covered by a very light yellow grass and had sparse trees all over, which added to the beauty of the place. Railroads were cutting through the mountains as well, and in a few occasions we could see the trains passing through the tunnels.

About eleven miles down this path we reached a small city called Keene. We stopped and had lunch as a local restaurant. The waitress was very friendly and the good was great. They were very busy with many drivers and motorcycles making their stop there as well.



We then had coffee as usual and resumed our way. Again going downhill and with very feel stretches uphill we completed our journey to Bakersfield. We then found a nearby Walmart and decided to go get food before checking in the hotel. Unfortunately the five miles to that Walmart were basically all on a steep uphill street, but we made it just fine.

After buying what we needed we rode 6 more miles to get to the hotel. When we arrived our impression was not good: the place was falling apart and there was just one car in the parking lot. There was a big sign in capital letters on the front desk saying there were no refunds, so I asked to see the room before paying for it. The owner agreed and I checked it out. The room was in bad condition, but it did seem cleaner than some places we have been before. However, when we were to pay we discovered they didn’t accept credit cards. We didn’t have cash enough so we decided to ride to another hotel.


Three miles later and we arrived in an Econo Lodge where we checked in. The hotel was in much better condition, but we had issues there too. As soon as we got into the room, our non-smoking room, we could barely breathe, so strong the smoke was. So we asked to change rooms. The next one was worst. It felt like someone had just smoked a full pack of cigarettes in there, we could even see the thick smoke in the air. So one more time we asked to change rooms. The third also smelled of cigarettes but not so strong.

We finally had a chance to shower, eat and rest.



sexta-feira, 6 de julho de 2012

Day 67 – 06/08/2012 – Tehachapi, CA

Our plan for this day was to cross a chain of mountains that was still between us and the California valley. We left the hotel fairly early, but as soon as we did we noticed the winds were very strong and, of course, against us as usual.

As we approached the mountains the winds started to increase in speed and intensity. What were only gusts became a constant flow and moving forward became a challenge. We moved forward slowly, at a speed not greater than 5mph. Soon enough we were on the hilly roads and that only added to the overall difficulty of the course. Every thirty minutes or so, we would stop to recover our energies and then resume the ride.


Just as we were thinking how unlucky we were to catch such strong winds crossing such hilly roads we started seeing wind turbines on top of the mountains, a sign that this was not a bad day but simply a typical day. First we saw dozens, then hundreds of turbines. Every hill had several, all lines up towards West and all spinning very fast.


Our initial plan was to have lunch on a small town about 25 miles from our origin called Tehachapi. However, it was about 3:00pm already and we had not even approached that city. Clearly, we would not be able to complete all miles we had planned for the day.


And so we struggled, for about five intense hours we struggled against those strong winds and intense elevation. When we finally completed the hilly section of the path we went downhill for about a mile and then entered a flat stretch that led us straight into Tehachapi.




We stopped by the first gas station which also happened to have a Subway restaurant. We definitely needed to recover our energies so we eat there and also took the opportunity to call Brazil. Searching the GPS we found a hotel nearby that was not too expensive called Ranch Motel, so we decided to start in town for the night and do the remainder miles in the next day.




We rode towards the hotel cutting through Tehachapi’s beautiful main street. They had small shops, coffee houses, a historical train station and many people walking in the streets regardless of the strong winds and somewhat chilly weather. Maybe they were just used to it.

We stopped by a supermarket and got what we needed for the night, then headed to the hotel.  There we found a nice rustic room with comfortable beds, clean sheets and high speed internet. What else could we ask for?! We showered, had diner, washed clothes and slept tight.



segunda-feira, 2 de julho de 2012

Day 66 – 06/07/2012 – Mohave, CA

Our ride towards the outer limits of Barstow was very pleasant. We passed through many small shops and stores since our planned route included cutting through the city’s downtown. We crossed a major bridge and, after a few more turns, entered the main road we had planned to follow that day. We left Barstow using Old Highway 58 which was good and didn’t have much traffic.

The first 35 miles were not a problem. The heat was intense but bearable and the winds were weak so we were able to cover them in just over two hours and a half. We arrived then into a small city called Boron. There we found a few gas stations, and, as usual, a Subway. We had lunch, called Brazil and rested for about two hours before returning to the road, in the hope that the heat would be lower when we do. Unfortunately we were wrong and temperatures were still very high.


Just as we had left Boron we saw a large line of cars forming ahead of us: an accident had just occurred moments ago. As we passed the scene we saw that a car had crashed against a truck. The front part of the car where the engine is located had been removed completely by the impact, and both occupants were unconscious. Judging by the intensity of the impact, chances are they were both dead.

We passed without stopping at all. A few police cars were just arriving on the scene and we moved forward as fast as we could.


The next twenty miles were not too hard. We covered that distance without much trouble, but as we approached Mojave things started to change. The closer we got to the city, the greater the wind speeds were. At about five miles away we could barely pedal our bikes forward. Once more time we started seeing the wind turbines covering the nearby mountain, a very bad sign that winds in that region were constant.

We knew we had little time to get there before the supermarkets were closed so we pedaled as hard as we could. Unfortunately, when we were about three miles away from the city my rear tire went flat. We had it fixed and tube exchanged, but that delay was enough to make us waist the last few minutes of sunlight stopped in the shoulder.

We could see the city lights as we slowly approached the city. Every meter was hard to cover and it took us a very long time to enter the city limits. Once we did we realized we had followed the wrong path and ended up on its North border, three miles away from the actual city. We powered trough those three miles and, very tired arrived in the only supermarket that seemed opened. Thankfully it really was. My uncle purchased the food we needed and we headed to the hotel, a nearby Motel 6.

That was a very hard day but the hotel was rewarding. The room was clean and everything worked. We had diner, showered, washed clothes and went to sleep as fast as we could.



quinta-feira, 28 de junho de 2012

Day 65 – 06/06/2012 – Barstow, CA

From Ludlow our plan was to get to Barstow this day no matter what. Since we had slept the whole day in the previous day we decided to make this stretch at night. We woke up midnight and walked to a gas station across the motel’s street to have coffee and something to eat before departing. However, as soon as we stepped outside we noticed the winds were extremely strong, and as usual against us. For this reason we agreed that departing at that time would be a mistake. Much better would be to sleep a few more hours and leave early in the morning when we at least had a chance for lower winds. So that’s what we did, we postponed the coffee and had a chocolate milk instead, and returned to the room to sleep some more.

By 5:00am we woke up and checked the window searching for signs of strong winds. Thankfully they had lowered already and everything was fine for us to move forward. We packed and headed to a local café for breakfast. There we had a nice omelet each and, an hour later, were on our way towards Barstow.


The road started OK, with just a few bumps here and there. We took the wrong road and had to go back about two miles before entering the actual Route 66. There we found a road in very bad condition. Full of bumps, holes and cracks, that road slowed us down considerably. Every mile represented about 10 minutes of suffering as we inched forward little by little. At some point the road was so bad that we considered taking a detour through an unpaved back road. Unfortunately the soil there was too soft for bicycles and we were forced to return to Route 66. And there we remained for a few hours until we reached Newberry Springs. There the asphalt finally improved and we were able to move forward.



 About two miles after reaching that city, a major unexpected roadside attraction: the coffee house where the motion picture “Bagdad Cafe” had been filmed, in 1988! There we found many tourists and even a few buses with excursions, all stopped to visit and take pictures at the place. It was a fully functional coffee house and restaurant, so we parked our bikes and got in to have lunch. The food was good, and the staff was very friendly.



We prepared a note to post on the café’s wall and then prepared to keep going. Before we left, though, we asked their appointed cameraman to take a picture of us outside in front of the Café. He did, but just as he was handing my uncle’s camera back to him he let it slip out of his hands and dropped it. Unfortunately the LCD glass broke. The guy was very sorry but there was nothing we could do about it, so we just said it was OK and left. It was just the glass though, the camera kept working fine.



The rest of the way was much smoother then the first half.  We approached Barstow not much after leaving the café. We stopped at a gas station and found out there was a Walmart nearby, so we passed over there to get food and then headed to the hotel. The hotel was not the best, but more than enough since all we really needed was a shower and roof.



sábado, 23 de junho de 2012

Day 64 – 06/05/2012 – RESTING DAY - Ludlow, CA


In the previous day we had arrived in the hotel around 3:45 am and slept until 11:00 am. We then woke up and had breakfast with a couple of sandwiches we found in the gas station in front of the motel. We also had two cokes instead of coffee since our plan was to rest the whole day. And so we did: as soon as we finished we went back to sleep.


We had planned the whole day and ride towards Barstow during the night, so we woke up 10:30 pm to eat and go. Unfortunately, the winds were very strong and one more time we would not be able to move forward at a pace faster than 5 mph. We then decided to eat, sleep four more hours and go in the early morning when the winds should slow down according the forecast. 

When the clock ringed 5:00 am we quickly woke up fully rested and checked the window to see how the winds were. This time we would have to go no matter what, but luckily we saw no major activity outside.

We prepared our bikes and went out of the room towards a local café to have breakfast and start one more ride.


Due to the fact we spent the whole day sleeping there isn't really a video o this day.



quinta-feira, 21 de junho de 2012

So my uncle has departed...

My uncle and partner in this adventure has returned to Brazil yesterday night. 

On his last day we basically spent the day in the preparations, going to stores around and having some nice time in the nearby coffee shops. He then packed his things and we split half of the weight in the big luggage and half in the panniers. Then we rode to the airport carrying all things and his luggage in the bicycles! haha we rode up to the last minute.

When we were making checking we learned that Aero Mexico did no accept bicycles outside the box. They had told us different in the phone, but regardless we had to fix that. So we ran with everything to get a box in a travel agency inside the airport. After a lot of effort disassembling and fitting things in the box we finally sealed it with tape and he checked in.

Next we had a quick coffee with sandwiches in the food court of the airport and went to the security line. Once he approached the entrance we said good bye, hugged and he went in. That was a quite sad moment for me, but we had to happen so nothing we could do about it.

  


I received a few messages from him today and everything was OK. He was waiting for his next flight in Mexico City.

Of course it will not be the same without him. I have plans for the near future, but will give more details in the following days as things start to shape up.

Cheers,
Eduardo