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

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...





terça-feira, 19 de junho de 2012

At Pier 39!

In the Fisherman's Wharf!






At Lombard Street!






San Francisco is awesome!

What a beautiful day to explore the city, the weather is perfect!!






At the Golden Gate bridge!







Having lunch!

We found a nice little coffee house in Geary Blvd with good sandwiches so we decided to eat here!





Going out to explore San Francisco

Since my uncle needed to orfanize his things to travel back to Brazil we could not stay in the woods.

We're at a cheep hotel and are now going out to explore the city!



Day 63 – 06/04/2012 – Ludlow, CA - Part 1

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

Our day started actually at night. Since we knew the temperatures for that region were so elevated we decided to sleep the whole day in Ludlow and then wake up at night to ride a few hours before sunrise. So we put our clocks to 10:30 pm, and woke up on time. We were fully rested from the previous day’s ride which later proved to be a good thing.


Immediately after waking up we started packing our things, but we had left most of it all over the place so packing took a while. By 1:00am we finally left the hotel room and headed to a local gas station to eat something before the ride. We eat what they had available: cold burritos, a couple of donuts and had some coffee to stay alert the whole night. By 2:30am we finally started our ride.
Because Needles was so distant from Ludlow – about 90 miles in a straight line – and there were several risk factors involving in this ride we decided to attempt getting there using the shortest route: the interstate I-40, where bicycles were not allowed. Of course, that plan did not go well. As soon as we entered the road’s shoulder space a police car stopped us. They asked where we were going. We explained our journey and they showed a lot of interest, but of course not interest enough to let us ride in the interstate. They told us to get the alternate road: the Old Route 66. But they were nice and didn’t make us go back, instead they let us keep going until the next exit where we then promised to get out of I-40 and make a detour through road 95 in order to take Route 66. And so we did.

By the time we reached road 95’s intersection it was already almost 4:00am. Over there the sunrise was at about 5:30am at this time of the year, so we didn’t have much time before temperatures would start to rise. We rode 7 more miles towards road 95, and then made the detour to enter Route 66. Up to this point everything was fine except that we were going uphill constantly which delayed our progress significantly. It took us about two more hours to reach the next city, Goffs. What a unique place!


Pretty much empty, the place had been founded in the early 1800s but had just 23 people living there. We saw a church and several houses falling apart. Just a single farm and a few houses seemed to be populated. That meant no coffee, no food, no nothing. We just passed through the city, took some pictures and moved on.


segunda-feira, 18 de junho de 2012

No place to sleep again...

One more time we are looking for a place to sleep but can't find anything in the San Francisco area. Every hotel is too expensive, even the very bad ones. No campgrounds available.

So we will ride towards the Golden Gate bridge and cross it, then look for a place to ride our tents in the woods somewhere in the state patk the got there.

We'll see what happens...



Lunch time!

Look at that, pizza again! Haha






In front of Google's headquarters!

What a nice place Mountain View is, with open wifi, trees, friendly people and bike lanes everywhere!






San Francisco here we go!!

We are now close to Mountain View and are riding towards San Francisco downtown!!





Insane mountains yesterday

Yesterday Google has put us through a route that crossed the peak of many mountains going towards the San Francisco area.

Check out the road we rode on, it's called Charlie Mountain road. Really insane! One day I want to take someone witn me there and make that route with a car... No one will believe we did that route with fully loafed bicycles... Haha






domingo, 17 de junho de 2012

Camping went just fine

In the end we found a spot and set up our tents and slept very well for ablut 5 hours on the side of Highway 1, hidden by a few trees.

This morning we woke up early and packed everything. We're now going towards San Bruno!

The mountains in this region are beautiful!!