RIDE BLOG (19-00)

Note that entries are written at the end of very tiring days. Please excuse any errors.

Ride 19 | Sanders, AZ > Gallup, NM

Routine push toward the Continental Divide. A few milestones today: New State - check; New Time Zone* - check; Now > 1000 mi into this trip.

*While AZ and NM are both "Mountain Time", NM observes Daylight Saving Time, while AZ does not. So AZ is/was effectively the same time zone as Cali. Just sayin'.

Tomorrow - Cross the divide, begin the wind down to Albuquerque

 

Ride 18 -| Holbrook > Sanders

Ok, so while it's not well publicized, the Petrified Forest NP doesn't open their gates till 8am. And so showing up at 7:15a doesn't do you a lot of good. Other than to wait. Other than that, this was a very picturesque ride and day. For the first day of the trip, there were a few clouds in the sky and provided a bit of relief from the direct sun.
On the C-19 side, it had crowds way down (again) however it also meant that the two museums at either end of the 28 mile trek between entrance and exit were also closed.
Nice tailwind going the last 20 mi to Sanders.

 

Ride 17 | Winslow > Holbrook

Easy. Would've been nice to have a longer day - more good weather and favorable winds. Tomorrow, Petrified Forest and Chambers. And, here in Holbrook, much is closed down - local museum, info center, etc.

 

Ride 16 | Flagstaff > Winslow

Good to be back on the trail, but will miss the company of Jason, Laura, and a dinner with Melissa(!) before heading out. NM here we come.

 

Ride 15 | South Rim Cruising - Hermit's Rest

Another beautiful day for riding in an empty park. Simply gorgeous. What an opportunity!
Departing from the Angel Bright lodge just before 9am, I saw exactly zero people - walking or biking (and remember that the shuttle buses are not running!) so literally there was nobody on this arm of the South Canyon Rim. I couldn't believe it. Hermit's Rest - All By Myself; Pima - Same. Solo. And again at Monument Creek Vista, The Abyss and Mohave Point - completely devoid of others.
As can be seen by the map, I even rode the foot-path on the return since there was nobody on the trails! (Normally, bikes are not permitted on the pedestrian paths here!)
Finally on the return at Hopi and Powell and Maricopa Points there were a couple hikers and yes, a couple bike riders. By now it's near 11:30 and the first signs of life appear. And I was done. Amazing.

 

Ride 14A | South Rim Cruising - Moran Point-based

Another South Rim Loop, based from Moran Point. Easy riding. No load.

 

Day 14B | South Rim Cruising - Navajo Point-based loop

Ok, so this was really Ride 2 of the day, but when you forget the GPS, that's the way it goes. Parked at Navajo Point and traveled between the Tusayan Ruins and The Desert View Tower. (Both blocked off to autos and pedestrians.) Fortunately the signs didn't address cyclists, so we have to assume it's ok. Right?!? Good stuff.
And for the "forgot GPS" Ride, it was based at Grandview and looped back to the village edge and return, picking up Yaki Point, Duck on a Rock, and Grandview

Ride 13 | Ash Fork > Flagstaff

Early start. Up the hill (>2000' elev gain right out of the gate). A good hunger builder. Breakfast in Williams. Cruising on into Flagstaff. Staying @ Jason's AirBnB. All good.

 

Ride 12 | Peach Springs > Ash Fork

The post ride activity at Peach Springs last eve was a tour of the Grand Canyon Caverns. Interesting at some levels, but after talking about 'caretaking' and 'careful curating', it was even more clear that they've done what they can to monetize it: Building a small restaurant space for customers to eat; constructing a 'cavern room' for you to stay overnight, replete with bathroom and shower and TV and fridge, etc; and finally a 'stage' for weddings, concerts, and the like. I'm not so sure that's what careful curating is all about.
As for today's ride, uneventful. Road surface notably improved in some places but overall, still not very good. I guess Cali spoiled me on this account.

 

Ride 11 | Kingman > Peach Springs

This ride turned out to be more difficult than expected due to the fairly rough road surface. Yes, there was 2500+ feet of climbing, but low quality roads of a good portion of the ride slowed the progress. Note: the Hualapai Reservation is still closed - could use the main road thru town, but no access to communities off the main road. Which was fine by me!

 

Ride 10B | Needles, CA > Kingman, AZ / Part 2

Of course. I can't seem to break this habit. Take the GPS off the bike (security reasons) and go in to grab a lunch at Wendy's. By the time I get back to looking at it, the ride has been ended (and fortunately saved). So darn it. Start up another for the list few miles to the night's accommodations. #Grrrr.

 

Ride 10A | Needles, CA > Kingman, AZ / Part 1

Even with a day off yesterday, this was a challenge. 4600+ climb. #FindThatInOhio! Hopefully the flat tire episodes are behind us. At least in multiples. Bicycling Outfitters was ready and on the spot to serve just before closing time with new tube and augmenting the patch kit count.

 

Ride 9 | Ludlow, CA to Needles, CA

The Mojave desert run. With portions of Rte 66 closed due to damage from flash flooding, the route was up on I-40. 60 miles in, the 3rd flat of the day by the rest area. Out of tubes and ready to begin the patch process in daytime heat, I took the offer of John and Gail who offered a lift to Needles. Good ride until then with power to go, but glad to have the lift when offered.

Next day - Rest/Bike Work Day in Needles. First "rest" day of the journey. Much appreciated.

 

Ride 8 | Barstow > Ludlow

Up with the sun. Nice breeze at the back. Completely vacant road - literally, no one passed me for 50 miles on Rte 66 National Trail. Ludlow - one family does the gas station/convenience mart (Chevron), the hotel, and the Diner. That's about everything in town.

 

Ride 7B | Victorville > Barstow/Part 2

After stop at CVS (sunglasses replacement) and Route 66 Museum for a couple hours, this was the main ride of the day.

 

Ride 7A | Victorville > Barstow/Part 1

Another day of sunshine. It is the desert after all. After finding the San Bernardino Route 66 Museum closed, it was good to find the Victorville version open. And story-tellers exist there. A good couple-hour stop. And then across (and down) to Barstow.

 

Ride 6B | Riverside > Victorville/Part 2

Argh. Accidentally 'ended' this ride mid-way. Add Part 2 for full story. First notable climb - thru Cajon Pass along National Trailway Historic Route 66 (and a piece on I-15 near the summit). Summit @ 4190 ft. Swirling/variable (but sometimes healthy) winds. Area known for gustiness. Sadly, the Route 66 museum in San Bernardino is/was closed for Covid.

 

Ride 6A | Riverside > Victorville/Part 1

Argh. Accidentally 'ended' this ride mid-way. Add Part 2 for full story. First notable climb - thru Cajon Pass along National Trailway Historic Route 66 (and a piece on I-15 near the summit). Summit @ 4190 ft. Swirling/variable (but sometimes healthy) winds. Area known for gustiness. Sadly, the Route 66 museum in San Bernardino is/was closed for Covid.

Ride 5 | Dana Point/PCH Southern Terminus > Riverside

June 11 - And then it was time to say good bye to the Pacific and head east. With PCH end in hand and the big "route decision" made, it was time to pick up the Biking (US) Route 66 to head east. (While that traditional route 66 will veer north from Oklahoma City, I'm thinking I may head east or southeast, but there is still time to make that decision later on. For now, it's connecting with the US66. We'll see.

Today was tough. A wrong turn or two to make life interesting. Myriad closed roads/lanes, and a closed trail. All these "features" of today's ride extended the day longer than it needed to be.
Some nice portions - nice rides thru Irvine, on the Santa Ana River Trail, and the Aliso Creek Bikeway, to name a few. Then there were stretches of miles of commerce and cross traffic - Magnolia and Sixth St entering Riverside.
The GPS registered some 9 and even a brief 10 degree slope climb. There can't be many of those or I'll be finished! Struggled (but made it) for the short distances they did exist.
It will come as no surprise - cycling away from the coast has an immediate impact on temperature which will be a constant factor for the remainder of the trip. I'll be regularly anticipating triple-digit high temps and potential significant winds. Today the winds were reasonably light, and what did occur were generally on my tail.
US Route 66 is just a few miles ahead in San Bernardino. And US 66 shares its route through the first major Sierra Nevada pass, Cajon Pass, with I-15. But all that's still ahead. For now, check out a little bit of Riverside and get some sleep.

Lodging: Hampton Inn Riverside.

Music today: Inspired by the Hamilton Soundtrack and particularly "Not Throwin' Away My Shot".

On to Victorville tomorrow.

 

Ride 4 | PV/Rolling Hills Estates > Dana Point (PCH Southern Terminus)

June 10 - Departing Palos Verdes, urban riding is quite a different animal. PCH here has lots of stop/go traffic as you make your way thru the huge port and industrial complex that is south LA (Long Beach, San Pedro, more). It was somewhat of a relief to identify some bike routes/paths that didn't include the bumpity-bump riding of the city streets.

Mostly with bike lanes but not all. Some pathways, but not always current with directions, so a little hit and miss - those that exist, are generally good repair.

Mentally challenging juxtaposition as I cycle the port area. This is an area which does not have the economic wealth that the strand communities do, rough neighborhoods and poorly maintained streets and yards were the norm for extended stretches here. One particular instance, as I pedal along, on my new/nice bike with bags and gear as desired, I am paused at a stoplight as another elderly gentleman (likely Homeless) walks his bike with one flat tire and five black trash bags draped on his bicycle containing (likely) all his possessions meandering by on his way. To who knows where. The light turned green and on I went, but mental comparison will linger with me for a long time.

And then more strand biking - Long, Seal, Huntington, and more - all very easy and enjoyable. The surfing crowd is out in several spots, but still the beaches are mostly empty or very sparse.

Noted quick pics by Los Angeles River and Catalina Express. Discussion topics from the evening prior. Kendra had just been out at Catalina; Friend Scot M writes about the LA River.

The route (largely) returns to PCH thru Orange County (Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, etc). Kudos to Laguna Beach for a BLM rally mid-day at the central square. Police Presence. Very Peaceful. Quite powerful.

On into Dana Point and the PCH Southern Terminus. The DoubleTree was a welcome site. Dinner at McDs :-). Southern Terminus of PCH/ CA-1 was a bit disappointing. Was surprised there was no commemorative marker of any sort. At least that I saw.

Tonight is the night. After lots of thought, prayer, research and reading, I've decided to eschew the flatter, less climbing route along the Southern Tier and select US Route 66 to follow across the Sierra Nevadas, the Mohave Desert, and up into the Rockies. One thing this will keep in play is an opportunity to bicycle along the Grand Canyon's south rim. It'll be extra days to get there, but with this route, at least it remains an option. I feel good about this choice.

Lodging: Doubletree

 

Ride 3 | Oxnard > Palos Verdes

June 9 - A longer but again beautiful day of cycling. A few small climbs along the coast between Oxnard and Malibu, but then - all Strand for The Steed and me. (Till the final climb up onto the edge of the PV peninsula!)

Along the Strand from Malibu down to Torrance, a good number of the bicycle pathways are new and now separated from the pedestrians. And they were largely empty anyway. Only near the "downtown" strand spots were there any additional traffic. So much beach. So much space.

Of course all the entertainment on the various piers were closed so that was not an active attraction. In Hermosa Beach, I did stop by Greg and Lori's place briefly, but no one was home, so I continued on. (Turns out, I found out later, that Kendra was on the beach in front of the house, but it's a lot of beach (100+ yards) and I didn't see her. Greg/Lori had started their 2-3 week wine-tasting cruise up the Pacific Coast.

I will note that riding along "Will Rogers (state) Beach" and passing the Santa Monica Pier, was a vivid reminder that I have a big decision to make ahead. That Pier is the Start (or End, depending on how you look at it) of Historic US Route 66.

After bicycling without support for a couple days, it's great to be here in Palos Verdes peninsula with friends and cousins - oh so comfortable!
A social distanced dinner with drinks and laughs (and laundry) and I was thoroughly enjoying it. Exhausted, it was very easy to sleep well!
Thanks David and Sarah D for picking up the dinner tab! Great to see Will, Chris, Kendra and friends plus of course D&S. Best Night Yet @ 21 Empty Saddle, RHE, PV. (Thanks too, to Laura and David Behenna for suggesting/offering up their place and the check in with the kids.
Song for the Day: Eagles, Hotel California. It's easy to see why so many folks love life out here.

Ride 2B | Santa Barbara Airport > Oxnard

June 8 - SB airport vacant. In these times of Covid, I think they have 3-4 flights/day - total.
Another glorious day - more Coastal Riding - minimal ascents. Very nice bike trails coming from the airport to/thru the western side of SB.
Confusing routing (thanks Google) thru SB - I think Google must be confusing me with my wife and routed me thru the downtown/shopping districts in Santa Barbara, but also in Carpenteria and Ventura.

This being a Monday, (perhaps?) the beaches are not crowded. Although I suspect much of it has to do with the pandemic.

Overall, Day 2 built on Day 1, so there is a little stiffness/soreness built in from yesterday. But easy day on the roads. Note that parts of this stretch, PCH (Rt 1) shares its labeling with the US 101, so it's a pretty busy stretch of road when those two are together. But, I do want to tip my hat to the CalTrans team, they've got nice roads and shoulders (so far) for this ride. (I knew this would be the case, since these were getting re-worked/re-paved when I was out here in 2018!)

Like yesterday, there are numerous pull-outs / scenic stops along the route. Taking advantage of these is a must do along the way.

Once at the hotel (Hampton) in Oxnard - bad day - no wifi at all. :-( Hard to find a place to eat that was open. Hopefully it's not all like this.

Song of the day: America - Ventura Highway (in the sunshine...) (Indeed, it was running all day in my head!)

Lodging: As noted above, Hampton Inn (Channel Islands). Sadly, without internet! The wind the previous day (they claim) had knocked it out.

 

Ride 2A | AirportDropOff

June 8 - Melancholy moment as I drop Sag Wagon Specialist Michele at the SB airport for her flight back to the OB. Adios (for now). Already looking forward to the July 4th weekend to share time with family after (what will be) four weeks on the road.
Still trying to figure out the details of this GPS Edge 1030, so today is split into two rides - to the airport and then to Oxnard. Truly solo. There is a terrifying aspect to the moment.
The training wheels are completely off. Alone. (Not really, but sure seems like it!)

 

Ride 1 | LompocSurf > SantaBarbara

June 7 - Let the pedaling begin! The east coast is a distant, distant dream, but like with all journeys, it starts with one step, one stroke, one pedal.

On this day for the past 24 years, I'm driving to ASP-country to pound nails. Today, in this summer of pandemic with no nails, I'm riding. And riding. Godspeed. Tailwinds. Warmer, Safer, Drier.

What a glorious starting day! Breeze at the side/back, gusty at times. Beautiful sunny day. 70. The first 1000' climb, Goliata Pass heading southeast from Lompoc, was quite gusty and a good wakeup call for the fairly sizable side profile that the loaded steed has - stability is key. Focus!
Best: Knowing that Michele was waiting for me at the hotel in Santa Barbara/Goliata. An afternoon/evening stroll and dinner awaited my arrival. Ate on the SB pier. Remnants of a BLM protest were cooling off in the surf. The breezy conditions continued through the evening.
Yes, I was quite tired after the 55 mile ride and a nap and early bedtime were part of the plan. We'll see how that works over time.

Grand Plan: The general trip outline is: Follow Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), also known as CA-1 to its southern terminus. From there, I have a big decision to make. Cycling Adventure - largest cycling tour (and more) organization in the country) has numerous cross country and regional routes for cyclists to follow. The route that would provide the least amount of climbing in the east (and overall) is the "Southern Tier" route, which largely follows our southern border with Mexico, across mid-South Texas and then cruises along the Gulf (of Mexico) coast and across Florida to the Atlantic. An alternative, which doesn't go quite so far south (remember, this is the dead of summer!) would be to follow the storied US Route 66. Known as the 'Mother Road', US66 runs between the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles and Grant Park in Chicago. Now decommissioned, the Will Rogers Highway, lives on with its 'historical' markings and memorabilia all along its former route. This route basically has been superseded by I-40, so would follow the I-40 corridor as far as about Oklahoma City or Tulsa, before breaking off and working another route to the east.

For cycling metrics, a full load of gear is totaling 40-45 pounds depending on the amount of liquids/food stuffs carried. The bicycle, a 2020 Trek 520 (aka The Steed), and racks weigh in at 31 pounds, and I'm starting this at about 225. We'll see what that looks like in a couple months!

Book title for the day: "The Little Engine that Could"

 

Ride 00 | Post-Transport Cycle Checkout #ReadyToGo

June 6 - A quick trip out to the ocean. Like the numerous rides during runup to ICESat-2 and previous launches in years past. Wind coming off the ocean makes for an easy return to Lompoc late in the afternoon.

But this isn't about today's conditions. This is about the steed, its readiness and performance after the trip to CA in the belly of the plane.

Lastly, it was for me. Nervous? Absolutely. Excited? Positively. So much to go wrong. So much to go right. Lots of thoughts and prayers to see me through.

Tomorrow, the Lompoc-Surf station - today's test ride - will be the starting point for the odyssey ahead.

1 | 2 | 3

ERIK PEDALed TO SUPPORT

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