Bicycle Journey Progress

The journey begins on July 29th and ends on September 11th, 2023

Ride Progress: ABOUT TO START!
Daily summaries:

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.