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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Going home

I was hesitant about doing a blog at first.  I wasn't
sure how far I would make it and did not want to be bothered with keeping up with it everyday.  But I knew the memories would fade and I would regret not having a record of the trip.  I'm glad I did it. 
It doesn't seem possible that a 2 month trip like this could go as smoothly as it did.  I was never sick, injured or burned out at any time during the trip.  Any mechanical problems that I had were in convenient places where they could be fixed.  I had a total of maybe 6 hours of rain while I was on the bike.  Prolonged headwinds never materialized.  There were certainly challenging climbs but nothing insurmountable.  My gear worked out extremely well.  I don't think I lost any weight.  Going solo was a good thing for me.  I enjoyed the company of the people I rode with but I also enjoyed the time alone.  I can't really think of anything I would do differently.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely.   

Many thanks are due.  First my wife, who did not just tolerate this but supported it from the first conversation.  My parents, who may have been more excited about it than I was.  Jack and Elaine Crumpton,  friends who gave me a vacation within a vacation.  The many friends and family who told me they were praying for me.  I felt the support and protection everyday.  The folks at work who kept things on the right track while I was gone.  Marc and Greg, for giving me the time to try this.  All of the wonderful people that fed and housed me along the way.  Thank you all.     

Favorite places:  Telluride, Colorado.  first big valley in western Utah,  Blue Ridge Parkway,  Mt. Diablo California.

Least favorite place:  eastern Kentucky.

Best drivers:  Kansas.

Best meal:  The Wooden Nickel in Crested Butte, Colorado

Hardest climbs:  unnamed climb east of Hindman, Kentucky.  Afton, Virginia.  canyon west of Boulder, Utah.  Mt. Diablo,  California.

Flat tires:  3


18 miles.  I spent last night camping on Mt. Diablo.  I rode the 22 mile climb to the summit yesterday afternoon and then came down to about 1000 feet to camp.  The view from the top was as good as anything I had seen on the trip.  I found a great place to camp with a view of the valley and bay.  I dropped my bike off this morning to be shipped home.  Around noon I took the train into San Francisco aind walked around town for several hours.  My flight leaves at about 11:00 tomorrow morning.  I'll wrap up the blog with some final thoughts on the flight home tomorrow.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 59

8 miles.  I had no problem waking up early today.  Took a nice ferry ride across the bay as the sun was coming up. There were a couple of short steep hills in town but they didn't really matter.  At 8:30 I got to  the end of the road.  It was finished.  I sat there for a while and thought about how fortunate I was to be able to try this.  So many kind people had helped along the way.  I looked at the pictures I had taken.  It went by so fast.  Sort of like life.  I see the old man in the pictures and can't believe that's me. 
I rode over the bridge, took some more pictures and put my toes in the Pacific.  I celebrated by eating lunch at an exclusive San Francisco restaurant, Subway. 
Took the train to Walnut Creek and will spend the night camping on Mt. Diablo. 
I will do one more post tomorrow and then wrap it up.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 58

66 miles.  Davis to Vallejo.  Nice riding through vineyards and orchards early in the day.  The weather was perfect   Urban riding later in the day.  A ferry ride across the bay and then 6 miles to the Golden Gate bridge.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 57

67 miles.  Placerville to Davis.  About 40 miles of bike path riding today.  I saw more cyclists in the first 15 minutes than I had on the rest of the trip.  Hundreds of lycra clad, grim faced, carbon fiber riding vegetarians whizzed by in both directions.  I felt like I was driving a garbage truck in the Dayton 500.  No one smiled or waved.  No one ever coasted.  I passed a woman reading a paperback while she was running.  I felt more at home in the Nevada desert. 
I made it to Davis early in the afternoon.  It looks like a nice college town with lots of neat restaurants.  Tomorrow I will ride into Vallejo and then finish up on Monday.            

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 56

66 miles.  Kirkwood to Placerville.  Last night was the coldest of the trip.  I had my fleece hat on while I slept.  Plenty of rolling hills on the way down to Placerville.  I had my third flat tire of the trip.  Traffic is starting to increase as I move out of the mountains.  The second half of the ride tomorrow will be on a bike trail.  I ate a world class burito supreme at a small Mexican restaurant.  It was as big as one my shoes.   Tonight I'm in a nice little mom and pop motel. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 55

63 miles.  Dayton, Nevada to Kirkwood, California.  I said goodbye to my folks at 6:00 and headed to California.  As soon as I crossed the state line the climb up Carson Pass began.  I gained 4500 feet over the next 21 miles.  It never got real steep and turned out to be easier than I had feared.  Going over the top was a great feeling knowing that it was the last big climb I would have.  The Sierras are beautiful.  I am camping near the pass at a gorgeous lake.