I did a long post from Camp Nelson yesterday, but it didn't seem to post. I had also added a bunch of photos. Oh well, it's not a perfect system.
Anyway, to catch up quickly, two days ago I was riding up toward Redwood Meadow in the Sequoia National Forest. I'd had a good morning following the Kern River. After leaving the river behind, the road began a continuous climb. I stopped briefly in a place called Johnsondale and filled up on sugar and Gatorade. As I continued to climb, I came around a corner and saw a bike and trailer on the other side of the road. What is this? Another bike tourer? I had a look at the bike, but no one was around. I had given up seeing the person when this guy comes down from the rocks. We hollered our hellos and introduced ourselves. His name was Sean and he has ridden from Prescott, AZ. He's been on the road the same amount of time as me. We were headed the same direction, so we rode along together. It was great to have someone to talk to while climbing up the hills.
Close to Redwood Meadow I started looking for a suitable place to camp. I didn't want to pay another $18 to not have a shower. I had plenty of water. I spotted a great spot by the creek and said goodbye to Sean. He was going to go further.
My campsite was very nice, however, I was very tired. I hit the sack at about 8:00 and slept all the way to 5:45. I packed everything up and hit the road. My plan was to go further than where I was supposed to go so I could lessen the amount of miles the next day. About two miles down the road was Redwood Meadow. I stopped and washed a pair of bike shorts as I figured I would be free camping again that night. When I was back on the road, I came across Sean having a little breakfast. I waited for him to finish and we took off together again. His plan was to make it all the way to Lake Kaweah. That would be about 78 miles for me. Since there was alot of downhill, I decided to give it a shot. If I could make Kaweah, I would be a whole day ahead and could therefore split the next day (a 60 miler of alot of climbing) into two shorter days.
Sean and I had a great downhill ride to Camp Nelson where we spent a good amount of time eating, checking email and blogging. Funny thing, they had Wi-Fi, but I had no phone service.
We continued downhil to the Yokuhl Valley. We stopped at a fire station and filled up on water. It was really heating up. I told the firefighters I was afraid of snakes. They said to watch out and veer away from them as they could strike the tire too. Oh, I told them I would veer so far away as to be in the next county over. I told Sean not to be too alarmed if I suddenly screamed. Anyway, we had one more good climb then it was down into the valley. It was getting to be about 6:00 when Sean had a flat. He fixed it and we were on our way again. I was riding along pretty good when I saw it. A snake was laying in the road...a live one. I veered way over and around and pedaled like mad. Then I saw another one on the side of the road, coiled up and ready to kill some unsuspecting cyclist! By then I was riding smack dab down the middle of the road--the better to escape from the deadly (okay, Sean said they were harmless) snakes! Just as I came to where I needed to turn there was yet another big snake stretched across the road. When I got to the stop sign, I waited for Sean. A guy in a truck pulls up and says, "Did you see that snake?" OH MY GOD!!! DID I SEE THAT SNAKE??? OF COURSE I SAW THAT SNAKE!!! ARRRRRGGGGGGG!!!!
Fortunately, that was the last snake I saw. We came I to Lemon Cove (lots of orange trees, but no lemons...curious). We stopped at a little grocery store. I grabbed and downed another 32 oz. bottle of Gatorade. A guy told us Kaweah was just a mile up the road. By this time it was 8:00. We were glad to almost be there. Only, we weren't. It ended up being another 5 miles to Horse Creek Campground. We rolled in at 8:30. I got my stuff set up and took a good long free hot shower! Finally hit the sack at 11:30. Even though it was 78 miles, I'm glad we did it so today will be easier and so will tomorrow.