Friday, June 10, 2011

Making Forward Progress...

...even though the wind wants to push me backward!

I left my seedy accommodations of last night (I put Stella on guard duty blocking the door) at 6:45. I forgot that it wouldn't take me so long to pack up. I could have slept longer! I returned to my route pretty easily. There was a fair amount of downhill at first. I realized I had forgotten to fill my water bottles at the motel. I stopped at a highschool and filled them.

After getting out of Palmdale, I was on a couple of very straight roads. The names of the roads are strange, but once I got the hang of them, it was pretty easy. See, the cross streets are letters but, there are several blocks between each letter. So the street names of the roads between the letter avenue will have the letter, and also a number. I needed to turn on Avenue K. Before I got to Ave. K, I had to go past Ave. K-13 and on down to just Ave. K. Once I finished riding on Ave. K and turned onto 90th St. W., I went straight North for almost 20 miles before there was a little curve in the road. It was gradually climbing, but nothing too steep. I covered a good number of miles in a short amount of time. Once the road became Tehachapi Willow Springs Rd., the wind kicked in. Off in the distance, I could see a ton of wind turbines. I thought, "Uh oh! This is not going to be good!". Not only was the wind really blowing at me, but the road was again very straight. Still, I thought I was making pretty good time. It was just very boring. As I got closer and closer to the wind turbines, the wind got stronger too. I started running through songs in my head. In one mile, I got from 100 bottles of beer on the wall to 25 bottles of beer on the wall. Periodically, I would stand up to pedal for 10 bottles. The roar of the wind in my ears was pretty loud. I almost put my headphones in just to cut down some of the noise.

I have never seen so many wind turbines! When I got to the top of one of the hills, the turbines were really close. I could hear the whoosh whoosh sound of the huge propellers going around.
As I was going up a particularly difficult part, I could hear voices. I tried to see where they were coming from, but couldn't locate them until I stopped to rest. Turns out two guys were up on one of the turbines working on it. When they saw me looking at them they waved. I waved back.

Finally I got to the top of Oak Creek Pass (4800+ft). The ride down was faster, but hard because I had to control Stella in the wind. I don't like when I have to work as much coming down as going up. When I got closer to Tehachapi, I turned onto a road called Highline. There was an RV Park that I considered camping at, but it was next to an airport and did not look too appealing. I decided to go on to Brite Lake as I had originally planned. I did stop briefly at a church just to get out of the wind for awhile.

Brite Lake is about 4 miles off route. The wind is still blowing and the sun is shining so I washed a jersey and shorts and hung them up to dry. The tent is firmly staked down. The showers are free here (camping is $15). I took a nice long shower!

My total miles for today were 56.56. I'm really glad I came all the way into Palmdale yesterday. Otherwise, I would still be out on the road battling the wind! I'm hoping the wind is not so strong tomorrow (a little breeze is good as it keeps me cool). I've decided I prefer the mountains to the desert!

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