Bicycle Journey Progress

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

Ride Progress: COMPLETE!
Daily summaries:
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3
4
5
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7
8
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65
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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 The reason it's been outdated is that I (Eduardo) have continued the bike ride, this time to Vancouver, Canada and since I've been camping pretty much all the way it became very hard to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


quarta-feira, 20 de junho de 2012

Day 63 – 06/04/2012 – Ludlow, CA

When we planned this ride we knew it would be one of the toughest stretches to complete, if not the toughest of all. That’s because of several factors such as the fact that between Needles and Ludlow there was pretty much nothing, just a small city called Amboy which was nearly a ghost town. Also we knew the temperatures for that area were always very high and humidity very low. What we did not know was that this day would end up after us in very bad shape. We arrived after being awake for 30 hours straight of which 26 were on the road, freezing, barely able to walk our bicycles and frightened from what we had just witnessed. But we’ll get there...


Part 1: See how this day started.

Part 2: Crossing the hot desert.

Part 3: Out of this world!

Part 4: Final effort to arrive in Ludlow




Day 63 – 06/04/2012 – Ludlow, CA - Part 4

Part 1: See how this day started.

Part 2: Crossing the hot desert.

Part 3: Out of this world!




PART 4


Still we had three more hours of strong pedaling ahead of us. These last three hours were one of the hardest times we faced during this entire journey. We kept hoping the winds would slow down, but they never did. Our speed average was about 3mph, and our energy was running low due to the fact we had eaten long time ago.

As we approached Ludlow we saw I-40 back on the horizon. From Ludlow onwards I-40 would be parallel to the Old Route 66 where we were. The sight meant we were not too far, just six miles away from our destination.

When we reached the two miles mark both of us could not pedal anymore. So there we were on our breaking point, unable to pedal even one more time. We got down of our bikes to rest a few minutes and then started walking the bicycles. Even walking was hard because of the winds, but with no other option we made a final push.


After about two hours in that state we approached the Chevron gas station which had the motel. We got some sandwiches and chocolate milk and then headed to motel to rest.

After this day the word “challenge” has acquired a whole new meaning to us.



Day 63 – 06/04/2012 – Ludlow, CA - Part 3


Part 1: See how this day started.


Part 2: Crossing the hot desert.




PART 3


As soon as we returned to the road we saw it wouldn’t be as easy as we thought, and because of the very strong winds we would not complete the remaining 28 miles in 3 hours. In fact the winds were so strong we were pedaling strong but moving at just five miles per hour. As we moved away from Amboy I looked behind and saw the last lights coming from the city turning off. In the thirty minutes that followed the remaining sunlight vanished and we entered one of the most isolated stretches we had been so far. Because most of the traffic was going through the interstate the last car had passed by us during the morning time. There was no one many miles around. We kept moving forward slowly despite of the intense effort we were putting into it.

About three hours had passed but we had progressed just 14 miles since we had left Amboy. As we inched forward we noticed something odd. Far away from any population we saw a flashing red light, far away on one of the rocky mountains in the desert. Initially we thought it was just an antenna, but soon we noticed that light was moving and flying around. It seemed to go down to the floor on the maintain side and then fly upwards and above the mountain. It would then go down on the other side of the mountain, then return. Its erratic movement caught our attention and we kept observing it while fighting with the wind. At this point we just assumed it was a helicopter, maybe a military exercise.


I then saw another light flash just once as far away as the red one. It was an orange light, very strong and bright. It expanded like a bubble, then collapsed and turned off completely. I didn’t say anything just yet but kept looking at the mountains where it had flashed. A few minutes later, it flashed again. This time, it turned on and moved very quickly. In what I estimate to be less than a second it moved from far away to just about 300 feet from us, then turned off. I immediately told my uncle and he started to observe the desert as well. That didn’t seem anything the military would have, really. It’s sharp and incredibly fast movement was intriguing, at the very least. Then it flashed again. This time it was very close, and both of us saw it. The light expanded like a bubble once more on a very bright orange color. Inside the light we could see some kind of structure, but there wasn’t time to make much sense of it. It flashed just three times and then went dark again.

We started questioning what we had just seen. The proximity was worrying, but really there was nothing we could do about it. There was no place to go back, no way to speed up and no one around. We were trapped on that desert road and there was no place to hide. Our only option was to keep pedaling strong move forward against the wind.

During all this time the red light kept floating around in the distance. Then something really strange happened: the red point of light opened up in a curtain of small red points flying in synchronicity. My uncle saw it too, so I knew I wasn’t hallucinating. It lasted for just a couple of seconds, then all points collapsed into the red light and it kept flying and flashing the same way it had before. At this point fast jets started flying over the area. The military had probably picked up something in the radars and were investigating. Again the orange light flashed then another one flashed in the mountains. The red light kept moving around, and then a sequence of orange lights went out of it following an S-like path. It lasted for about three seconds and then the red light appeared in the other end of the path, and kept floating erratically.

That’s when we saw a very large airplane without a tail, much like a flying wing, flaying over the mountains. The airplane released three flares that alone illuminated the whole mountain. Both that airplane and the jets kept flying over the region, as if searching for the things we had just seen but they were slightly to the East so their flares were not helping much. All lights went quiet until the airplanes had left, and then returned. This time, the red floating light released a series of orange lights in a straight lined path and again appeared in the end of it.

At this point we were very curious and worried about our own safety. There was no place to run to, so despite our concerns we had no option other than move forward.  The airplanes came back, searched with flares again slightly on the wrong spot and, as before, all activity ceased until they were gone. Once they did, we saw a white light on the desert floor, maybe a mile away from us. A red light came out of it, and then an orange light appeared on top forming what seemed to be a triangle. The whole structures dropped sideways, as if laying down on the floor and then several orange lights appeared around it forming a circular shape. Of course we were very concerned with its proximity but that was such an incredible view that we stopped to observe it. The circular object started sliding sideways, and then started to move forwards us. We it approached we quickly jumped into our bikes and started pedaling as fast as we could. Thinking about it later we realized that was really a ridiculous gesture due to the fact we were completely alone and not able to run faster than 5mph. For about then seconds that object kept approaching until we could see it more clearly. It had a stronger, brighter white light on one of its sides and a sequence of orange lights around it, but its core was dark.

That’s when we heard a noise and a light coming behind us. A train! We looked behind and saw the locomotive moving West through the rail that runs side-by-side with that stretch of Route 66. As the train approached the circular object went completely dark and all activity ceased. We were under the impression it had hidden from the train, but we can’t be sure. All we know is that it disappeared.

To be continued...





Final Progress

This is the final map of our journey's route!


The stars mark the places we have slept on.




Day 63 – 06/04/2012 – Ludlow, CA - Part 2

See the beginning of this day here.



PART 2

From that point on we rode ten more miles, this time in a flat terrain, and reached the point where Route 66 passed below interstate 40. There we found a hidden place that didn’t even appear in the GPS called Oasis. Besides being a gas station they also had a convenience store and several fountains with trees planted all over the place which made it look like a real Oasis. By this time we had completed about 40 miles already, and the sun was already high in the sky. It was getting warm, so we parked our bicycles under a shade to have coffee and eat a few sandwiches we had in our luggage.


After resting we resumed our ride. We passed another small nearly ghost town called Essex, but one more time there was nothing for us there. As we moved forward the winds started to pick up speed and slow us down, and the temperature started to rise quickly. Forty more miles passed this way. As we moved towards the next city, Amboy, I started to feel dizzy. The sun was very intense and the winds were blowing so warm it would probably be better to have no winds whatsoever. As we progressed I used pretty much all the water I had left. Our remaining water had reached a very high temperature under the intense sunlight, so drinking water was also not a pleasant experience. The asphalt was all cracked, it was clear that road had received no maintenance for a very long time.


We had to climb up a long hill, about four miles long. The road was a straight line cutting through rocky mountains that were burning under the intense hear. At this point I started asked myself what was I doing there. There was not a single tree, no a high bushes, no constructions, no place to hide from the sun. If I were hit by a heat stroke I would certainly be in serious trouble.


This way we kept moving along. It was about 5 miles before Amboy I felt like I was going to faint. My heart beat accelerated and I started to feel dizzier to the point I could not ride safely. On the horizon I could see the city, but I was seriously questioning my ability to get there. My uncle was in better condition than I was and, besides the high temperatures, was not feeling the effects so badly. I had tough decision to make: drink the remaining water or use it to cool down. My thirst was intense, but since fainting was my biggest risk I decided to make my shirt wet and threw the rest over my head. That helped me recover somewhat and, holding tightly to the handlebar I made a final effort to get to Amboy.


When we arrived we noticed the only business active in town was a place called Roy’s Café. We parked our bicycles and got in. For our amazement the place had air conditioned and had ice cold water and soda for sale. We sat down to recover and have some water and then asked for food. Unfortunately they had no working kitchen. We had some coffee and then settled down on a table to wait the temperature drop. During that time we wrote some daily summaries, prepared some videos for the website and waited the time to pass. 

Farrell Hastings, the owner of the coffee shop was very friendly and let us stayed there the whole afternoon. He also let us plug our electric pan and warm up the packages of food we had with us. We stayed there from 1:00pm until 8:00pm. After eating we washed the dirty plates and silverware in the restroom, then packed and prepared to complete our ride to Ludlow.

We had 28 more miles to go, and were planning to complete that course in 3 hours at most. Unfortunately, the winds had something else in mind for us that evening.


To be continued...