Thursday, June 30, 2011

Photos from Day 30

Mt. Shasta in the morning.

A Retrospective Day

Today, after 29 1/2 days I said goodbye to California! You know, California is a BIG state!

I thought I would do a retrospective of the last 29 days. I was actually, as I was riding, able to remember each place I have stayed. So, here is each day, and one word (at least I'll try) to describe it.

San Diego to Lakeside: Excited!
Lakeside to Mt. Laguna: Exhausting
Mt. Laguna to Oak Grove: Yummy
Oak Grove to Idyllwild: Hikers
Idyllwild to Yucaipa: Strange
Yucaipa to Heart Bar: Over-Estimating
Heart Bar to Silverwood Lake: Braking
Silverwood Lake to Islip Saddle: Peaceful
Islip Saddle to Palmdale: Speedy
Palmdale to Brite Lake: Windy!
Brite Lake to Pioneer Point: Progress
Pioneer Point to Redwood Meadow: Sean
Redwood Meadow to Lake Kaweah: Snakes!
Lake Kaweah to Lodgepole: Slovenians
Lodgepole to Grant Grove: Downhill
Grant Grove to Pine Flat Lake: Frustration
Pine Flat to Bass Lake: Friends
Bass Lake to Yosemite: Spectacular
Day off in Yosemite: Tourist
Yosemite to Jamestown: Boiling
Jamestown to Dardenelle: Jessica
Dardenelle to Markleeville: Thankful
Markleeville to Lake Tahoe: Beautiful
Lake Tahoe to Cold Creek: Bike Paths
Cold Creek to Quincy: Shannon
Quincy to Lake Almanor: Bruce
Lake Almanor to Old Station: Cave
Old Station to McArthur Burney Falls: Easy
McArthur Burney Falls to Mt. Shasta: Rain
Mt. Shasta to Ashland: Oregon!

The previous blogs can elaborate each day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No Need For Sunscreen Today!

Even though it looks sunny in the photo of Deadhorse Summit, that was only a brief patch of sun. I put sunscreen on this morning, but I really didn't need it. In fact, by the time I got rolling, it was raining. About 10 or so miles down the road I was able to start taking off various pieces of rain gear until I was down to just shorts, jersey, arm warmers and knee warmers. It was still a little chilly and I eventually dug out my vest, but at least it wasn't raining...for awhile.

The ride in general, was nothing special. Just a bunch of rollers and two moderate climbs. As I was getting to the top of Snowman Hill (no snow here), it started to rain again so I put my jacket and helmet cover back on.

I'm now in Mt. Shasta at the library where there is free Wi-Fi. I've been to the grocery store and next is the KOA since none of my couch requests panned out. Of course, I'm still a day ahead, but, oh well, camping has been pretty cheap the last four nights ($0 and $3).

Since I am a day ahead, I think I will, for sure, take the day off in Ashland.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Burney-McCarther State Park

Interesting headstone in the cemetery.
Burney Falls

Photos from Spatter Cone Trail

Red Sky at Morning...

...Cyclist Take Warning!

Yep, after 27 days, it finally rained. It really didn't rain a whole lot, but enough to warrant me pulling out my rain gear. I had heard there was a 70% chance of rain today. I thought I would try a couple of insurance policies so that it wouldn't rain, but neither worked. First I put my rain gear on the top in the pannier. Then, I didn't put sunscreen on. I guess it was a good idea I put the rain gear on top, and I sure didn't need any sunscreen!

Fortunately, today was a short day. Not the shortest in miles, but definitely the shortest in time (and the highest average speed so far of 13.8 mph--in fact, I think that is my highest ever touring average speed!). I got to Burney-McCarther State Park at 11:05. I even started out the day by doing a 2 mile hike on the Spatter Cone Trail, 1 1/2 miles south (as in back the other direction) of Old Station where I camped last night!

The trail was a pretty cool geological site. It is part of the whole lava flow and lava tube system like the Subway Cave I went through yesterday. There is not a cave to go into, but there were several small lava tubes. I was the only one on the trail (of course, it was only 8:00 when I got there).

Then I got on the road for the mostly downhill 31 miles to the park. It stopped raining when I set up my tent and didn't really rain anymore. Shortly after I got my tent set up a hiker named Eric (trail name--Robocop--retired sheriff's deputy) came into the H/B camp. He has been hiking various parts of the PCT (the PCT crosses through the park). After we both got our camps set up, we walked to the camp store and got snacks, then went and took showers (as usual--"the BEST shower EVER!"). Then, we walked down the "Pioneer Cemetery Trail" to the cemetery. First we didn't think there was actually a cemetery, but finally we came to the dead people. There was a list of the people buried there, but we didn't see that many graves.

After some more food, we walked to the Burney Falls. It is a pretty spectacular falls (okay, not as awesome as Yosemite, but still pretty cool). We walked down to the bottom and back up.

Earlier and then later as well, a gal came by the camp the was doing support for some hikers. Turns out she is from Chelan! Such a small world!

Speaking of small worlds, way back on June 4th, at San Jacinto State Park in Idyllwild, I met three hikers hiking with a 14 month old girl. Eric has met them too! It's just so weird! They are walking and I am biking, yet we see the same people!

Well, it looks as if the sun may come out again tomorrow. This was a perfect day for a short ride. I have enjoyed my time here with Eric. Tomorrow it's on to Mt. Shasta.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Latest Heros

Paul, Linda and Pauline and...Chalupa the Chubby Chihuahua!

Mt. Lassen and some flora

The Best Rest Area Ever!

Well into my second detour on Hwy 44, I came to this rest area. I remembered the guy, John, that I met yesterday, said there was a nice rest area on this Hwy. He wasn't kidding! There was, of course, a nice restroom with a functioning drinking fountain! There were lots of picnic tables and Stella even got to play Hopscotch! A worker gal asked me if I needed anything! I spent a little time there eating a tortilla with PB and Nutella. Then, alas, I had to move on. I had 23 miles to go before Old Station.

Overall, today's detour was really quite easy. Not much climbing and the temps were moderate. In fact, I am now a day ahead since I didn't go over Lassen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yet Another Detour!

I left Shannon's at my usual time even though I slept in. It just doesn't take that long to get ready when I have not slept in my tent...go figure?

Again, the morning was a little chilly, but I was in the sun long enough to be warm. The ride was mostly flat with a few little climbs, another easy day.

I stopped in the little town of Greenville for my 10:00 snack. As I was climbing toward Canyondam, a guy was coming down the other side. He stopped and crossed over to my side of the road and rode with me for awhile until we stopped at a wide spot. He said something about the road over Lassen being closed. I said, " Wait, I'm supposed to go to Lassen tomorrow!". So we stopped to look at the map. He told me of a detour route if Lassen was indeed closed. Then he asked where I was staying for the night. I told him the campground I was headed to. He said I could stay with him and then I could still do the detour if necessary. Since he was headed toward Greenville, he gave me his address and directions and said he would see me there. I continued riding to Canyondam where I could find out for sure if Lassen was closed or not. When I got to Canyondam (after meeting another gal and riding with her as far as Canyondam), I met another touring cyclist, John, who had just come from the detour route because Lassen is closed. So, now I knew for sure. Okay, detour number two coming up.

I pulled over on 147 at a Vista Point to take photos of Lake Almanor and the dam. Along comes Bruce, the guy who I was going to stay with. We rode together the rest of the way to his place. He has a nice place on the lake. We went swimming and then I had a sandwich.

I have my detour route all planned. It will actually be less climbing than going up to Lassen, but I pretty much miss the National Park all together.

I also looked to see if the rim is open at Crater Lake. Turns out the West Rim is open, so I shouldn't have any problems there.

Flexibility is key (that, and running into the right people at the right time)!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Where the Sidewalk Ends

This is Stella's and my accommodations for the night. As you can see, it really is where the sidewalk ends!

Cracks in the Road, and Other Little Annoyances

I know that winter weather is hard on the road surface but, that doesn't make the cracks in the road any easier to ride on. When your butt has been in the saddle for a number of hours, the cracks don't help! Yesterday, there seemed to be more cracks than smooth pavement.

Another annoyance is hot feet. The other day, when I came upon a snow bank that hadn't melted yet, I took off my sandals and stood in the snow to cool off my feet. I also put some snow into my socks. Yesterday, as I crossed the Little Truckee River, I spied some rocks that I could sit on and dangle my feet in the river. Ahhhhh....that felt good.

Then there is the ultimate annoyance...the flies! I realize I am probably quite the attraction considering, even if I have had a shower, it was the night before and I am likely very sweaty. Still, they drive me crazy!

What about snakes, you ask? Well, snakes go beyond just an annoyance. Annoyances are just that, annoying things. Snakes, on the other hand, scare the bee-jeesus out of me (dead or alive)!

Dr. Jekyl and Ms. Hyde or...

...Morning Colleen and Afternoon Colleen.

On this ride, I am really not alone. There are actually two of me. Kind of a split personality thing. First there is Morning Colleen. When Morning Colleen is out, the ride is great, the climbs are no problem and I am so happy to be doing this ride. Then, it gets to be about 2:00 or so and I am climbing an 8 or 9 or more mile pass. It's hot and there is little shade. Along comes Afternoon Colleen. She is a bit of a pessimist. She thinks to herself, "Why am I doing this? What was I thinking? Am I crazy? Will this climb ever end? Maybe I'll try and hitch a ride!". Some days it's Morning Colleen the whole day. Other days...not so much. Good thing is, Morning Colleen usually manages to reappear once I reach my stopping place for the night, whether it is a campground, free-camping or a hotel. The two also have different ideas of a snack. Morning Colleen likes chocolate milk and those little coconut crumb donuts. Afternoon Colleen likes 32 oz. of Gatorade and as much sugar in the form of Snickers bars as she can consume!

Well, one good thing, it's nice to not be alone!

Photos from Graeagle

A little store I stopped at in Graeagle. Notice above the "No Parking" sign.
Cute little houses in Graeagle.

You, Sir, Must be the Shepherd!

When I went to bed last night, it was a little chillier than usual. That should have been a clue to me that the morning might be a little cold as well. But, no, I still planned to wear my lightest weight jersey and didn't bother to dig out the knee warmers or my long finger gloves. I woke up at 5:40 (Just as an aside, there are usually three things that will wake me up in the morning, my watch alarm goes off, loud birds or, and most commonly, I have to pee.). It was so cold I put my down jacket on to go to the restroom. Would have been a good idea then to pull out the knee warmers and gloves...but, no. I just figured I'd move fast. I think I would have had to be bionic to move fast enough to keep warm! By the time I was digging out my stuff to make breakfast, my hands were numb (Another aside here. In the morning, I pack up everything before I fix breakfast. Then I just have to put the cooking stuff away and I'm ready to go.). This was another day I had to light my stove with a match as I could not operate the lighter. Once I got some hot chocolate in me and some oatmeal, I was a little better. STILL, would have been a good idea to pull out the knee warmers and gloves because for the first 4 miles or so it was downhill...and in the shade. At one point, there was a patch of sun on the other side of the road. I rode over to it to get warm for just a moment (usually, I will cross the road for a patch of shade!). There were a couple of tiny uphill parts and I was thankful, but then I would be back to going down. The only thing keeping my feet on the pedals was the fact that they were clipped in. Either Stella was also cold and shivering, or my shivering was causing quite the shimmy. I was singing the Raffi song "Mr. Golden Sun" (you know the one--Oh Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Please shine down on me! Oh Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Hiding behind the tree!) as I was shivering my way down to Sierraville. When I got to Sierraville, I stopped at a little store to get water (remember, no potable water last night). As I purchased the water, the lady looked at me like I was crazy. I asked her if she knew the Mr. Sun song and told her I had been singing that all the way down the hill. She said, "No."

Once I got onto the flat (WHAT? No mountain?), I warmed up pretty quickly. I had several miles of just gently rolling, but mostly, flat road. It was all in the sun and quite nice! These are the times when "Morning Colleen" (I'll explain later) is in the house! As I started the first little climb, I saw a guy and two dogs cross the road ahead of me. Then I heard them...the sheep that is. In the trees on the right side of the road there was a large flock of sheep grazing and baaing. As I rode past the guy and the dogs, I said, "And, you Sir, must be the shepherd!". He nodded and waved.

As I was continuing up the summit with no name (even says, "un-named summit" on my map), I noticed I was getting bit by Mosquitos. I stopped and put on my insect shield bandana, but that only kept them away from my face. Finally, I stopped and dug out my bug spray and spritzed my arms and legs. When I reached the summit, I christened it, "Mosquito Summit".

The rest of the ride was pretty easy. Outside of Graeagle, I came upon three cyclists changing a flat tire. Of course I stopped. They asked to use my pump as the one they were using was very small. Turns out they had done Sierra Cascades from San Diego to Lake Tahoe. They were a few days ahead of me. Now they were just doing day rides then going in a car.

When I got into Quincy, I stopped to map out where my Couch Surf Host's house was. It's just right off the route about two blocks. Shannon is not even here, but he is letting me stay! I got here about 12:45 (like I said, easy day of 52 miles). I've showered and done laundry (the first time I've actually done laundry in a washer and dryer on this trip). Stella is parked in the back porch. It's very nice here and I will add Shannon to my list of Super Heros!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Halfway Day!

I forgot to mention in the last post that today is (was, by the time this posts) Day 24--the halfway day! So, for a few stats, I have ridden 1,145.8 miles (I have travelled a bit more than that due to the lifts up Sonora and the bit of Monitor). My average per day, including the day off in Yosemite, but not including the miles I rode on that day off (I didn't keep track), is 47.7 miles per day. I've used half of my fuel and about half of my money (well, due to the unexpected hotel stays, a little more than half). I also switched to Map 3 today. This map will take me to Crater Lake. Oh, and the hair on my legs is almost a half inch long (okay, not really, but at least a quarter inch!).

I decided to stay at a different campground than I had planned. Cottonwood Campground was where I was going to stay, but instead I am at Cold Creek. Cottonwood was $21 and Cold Creek is $13 (although, if you ask me, $13 is a bit much for a campground that has no potable water!). I was afraid I would get to Cottonwood and, since it is Friday, they would be full. Turns out that was not the case (the campground host is also the host for Cottonwood), but still I saved $8.

In this small, 13 site campground I've met two couples. One is Patricia and Stefan from Zurich, Switzerland. They have rented an RV. Since there is no water here (except the creek) I asked Patricia if I could have a water bottle full of not hot water (I boiled a liter for cooking, but I didn't want to drink hot water). She said it was no problem. Thanks Patricia!

The other couple are also in an RV. The guy developed Power Bar and has worked with the Clif Bar people too. He said I should call Clif Bar and tell them about my trip. Hmmm...perhaps I will!

24 down--24 to go!!!

Sent from my iPad

Photos from the Halfway Day

Lake Tahoe from the Bike Path.
Squaw Valley Olympics thingy

More Photos on the Way to D.L. Bliss

Emerald Bay
A waterfall.
Slick rock!

Photos from Lake Tahoe

Cool Bike!
Lake Tahoe!
The mountains surrounding the lake (note still lots of snow).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'll Take a Little Less Wind With This Climb...Please!

This morning I left Markleeville Campground. To get to the campground yesterday, I had to go down a gravel and dirt road. I discovered this morning that it is much easier to go up a gravel and dirt road than down.

I had a bit more downhill, then a couple of little ups to the junction where I turned to head up today's climb of Luther Pass. It was the only big climb for today! About 8 miles and less than 3000 ft of elevation gain. Piece of cake! Except for the wind. At one point, before the climb really started, I was in Super Granny gear, pedaling hard and going 3.5 mph. I looked up and realized I was actually going downhill! Geez! Could I have a little less wind? At one point the wind forced me into the shoulder. I happened to be across the road from some road workers. When I had to stop to get back on the road, I yelled, "Uggggg!". I'm sure the workers got a kick out of that.

At the turn to continue up to Luther on Hwy 89, the wind relented a little and I was able to enjoy the not so difficult climb. I reached the summit shortly after (at 10:45--Woo Hoo!). On the way down, there was road construction. A pilot car was taking the traffic through the construction. I always ask the flagger where they want me. The guy said I could go wherever I wanted because I would be able to keep up. He was right. I even had to brake. After the construction, the road was pretty straight so I just let Stella go. I reached my highest speed so far on this trip of 48.7 mph!

Now I am at a Starbucks in South Lake Tahoe. I need to find a grocery store as I have no more dinners and only two days of breakfast left. Then I will head to D.L. Bliss State Park where there is supposed to be a Hiker/Biker site.

Sent from my iPad

Monitor Pass

Going up Monitor Pass.
The summit.
My new friend Eric.

Going Down Sonora!

Check out that grade!
The views from the ride down.

Sonora Summit Photos

My heroes!
The summit sign.
The historical marker.

More Sonora Photos

Loading Stella back up for the ride down.
Tammy, Dorothy and I looking at my route.
Reaching the pass! Okay, so it was only a few feet from where we parked.

Photos from Sonora Pass

My new favorite Aunt Dorothy and I.
A Golden Marmot.
9000 and climbing. Sonora Pass is 9634 ft.