Sunday, September 6, 2009

Statistics for Week 1

San Francisco, California to Carson City, Nevada (map does not show our actual route)

297.10 miles
5 summits, maximum elevation 8573 feet

Day 1-Happy Fathers Day - Sunday June 15

Our first day, in a word was PERFECT!
But when have any of you known either of us to say anything in a single word? So grab your coffee or cocktail and a comfy chair, this is going to be a long one. We got out at 6:00 am this morning (still on east coast time) and biked over the Golden Gate Bridge and back (without all our bags).

start of trip.JPG
A cold mist was rolling in from the Pacific, so we didn't venture long.

Though we didn't actually 'tip our wheels' in the water (couldn't get our bikes in the sand), we did the obligatory photo beside the water.
Picked up a ferry at the Embarciadaro in San Francisco
leaving San Francisco.JPG
and toured the Bay to Vallejo; so our first hour was spent lounging.........oh, and mourning. Ducky decided to stay in S.F. (ie: yes, he hopped off Jerry's bike, even with a Duct tape seat belt). Jerry still can't talk about it!

We biked the beautiful rolling hills of northern California with a fabulous wind, carrying the fresh scent of eucalyptus, at our back (the only time it's fabulous), blue skies and sunshine.

This was the kind of day that gives California it's reputation for incredible weather. Then just when we thought it could not get any better, we round a corner and find a vineyard.......with a tasting room......and it was Open! We needed to verify our directions anyway, so we stopped.
wine tasting.JPG
Gonna' be tough to top today, especially since it was our first day on the bike and we were very fresh! But that's okay! All in all, we feel pretty good about our first 65 miles.

Day 2 - Monday June 16 - Vacaville to Rancho Cordova

Okay, where to start? (warning: another long post)
Got on the bikes at 7:00 am and biked the rolling foothills of a crisp, clear California morning. The course our map is offering so far, is great back country roads with very little traffic.

road out of Vacaville.JPG
It didn't didn't take us long to hit what looked like the Wild Wild West.
wild west.JPG
wild wild west.JPG more picture.

Mid morning we're on our way to Davis on a great bike trail (really bike friendly in Davis), when we met up with a great guy who had biked from Santa Monica to Virginia Beach and spent the next hour and a half learning all about the area. He directed us to a great little cafe in Davis; waffles with Almond Butter and Pancakes with more fresh fruits than you can image. Great little town; a must see if you're visiting CA.
In the afternoon we played Tortoise and the Hair with ''. We'd met them at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday when we started our trek. They....a group of 49 college students from around the country, raising money ($480K) for Journey of Hope.....too, we're starting in San Francisco and biking to Washington D.C. Please check out their web site, this is a fabulous cause and an incredible group of guys, sacrificing their summer vacation for people they do not even know......too cool!

Journey of Hope guys.JPG
Our regret is we did not get a picture of the whole gang. If you're this reading guys, be safe, wear suntan lotion and God speed!
We lost the boys as we entered West Sacramento.
We biked through Olde Towne Sacramento, which is like stepping back in time.
If you're a train aficionado, book a trip. It's incredible, and we're even not big train fans.

look at this picture........
now, look at the wheel size......(Austin, this one's for you).
Once we left Old Sacramento, we were once again on a great bike path; much like the trail from Georgetown to Leesburg; except you wind through parks and countryside. Along the way, we engage in a conversation with another biker, Phil. There is no one word to describe him; animated, obsessed, crazy, and a very cool dude! (plus, he's more of a pack rat.....Lisa note......than I am) Phil is a retired captain for the Sacramento Fire Department and has biked across this country twice (did we mention crazy?). He dragged us through our last 10-15 miles and invited us to his home........bless his wife, Peggy, who graciously (albeit, unknowingly in advance) accepted us into her home.

You want to see some trains? Phil's gottem'
phils trains.JPG
Not only does he have a lot of trains, but an entire backyard of a 'train garden'.......only in California!

AND............he has more duckies than you can imagine (did we mention, crazy?)
I know I'm skipping ahead, but the next morning (today), Jerry had Ducky The III waiting on his bike!
post 67 miles............not exactly holding to our '50 miles a day in the first two weeks' (go figure!).

Day 3 - Tuesday June 17 - Rancho Cordova to Placerville, CA

We're getting later on our starts.....7:20 am.
Phil, our host from last night, not only got up with us, but lead us all the way to Folsom (15 miles). It should be noted that Phil is a 'fair weather rider', 60 degrees is too cold for him. But he graciously got out in the early AM for the first time in many years........have we mentioned how incredible the people are here??
We did an extended stay in Folsom for an incredible breakfast and a (wonderfully quick) repair at Bicycles Plus. Onward to Placerville. Shouldn't be too bad, only planning 40 miles today.....HA! HA! HA!

OMG........I think we hit the Mountains!
We really don't have any pictures, except for this one that we took

in an attempt to show the elevation. Don't think it works (that's a horse about mid-picture). The rest of the time, we spent heading up the mountains (with very heavy breathing) at close to a 4 mph, eh!
We did end up at our planned destination, Placerville. Watch a John Wayne movie, and you're bound to see us. This is the town known for the gold explosion, the start of Levi Strauss and the Stutabegga (sorry about the spelling).

This is a picture of the town in the 1800's....
1800 placerville.JPG
and this is the town today....
This town also had the distinction 50 years ago of having more saloons per capita than any other town in America! Have no idea what they're talking about.
Robert & Charlie in P Placerville.JPG
Hello to Robert and Charlie, thanks for being so nice to a couple strangers.
Logged 40 miles today!

Day 4 - Wednesday June 18 - Placervillle to Cook's Station

.............KICKED OUR BUTTS!
It started off great. Two blocks out of town a guy on his way to work (on a bike), showed us this great bike path to circumvent a few miles of the (vehicle) road that was on our map.

east of placerville.JPG
It was a gradual climb, but the morning was cool and the incline was moderate.......that did not last. It took us 9 1/2 hours to go 38 miles with 6 hours of actual biking time.........elevation 1280 to 5000 feet. Unfortunately, the only restaurant between our start and finish was closed.....we had not counted on that. Luckily, we had a couple of airplane cracker to give us some energy. But between the heat
temp gauge.JPG
and the oxygen deficit, we were dragging.

Duckie the III and Quakers were able to find some shade
Ducky, Quakers in the shade.JPG
and new friends.....
Ducky, Quakers & friend.JPG
so they were very happy.
By 2:00 both of us had run out of water (5 bottles a piece). Since we were in the middle of nowhere, it was very hard to come by. Found a school that had an outside water fountain and shaded picinic bench......saved!
We weren't without some fabulous scenry
a creek.JPG

and good humour

Toogood Winery.JPG
.....we're not making it up, the vineyard is really called 'Toogood'.
It did take us another 3 hours to go the last 11 it's been a bit hilly. Nothing like a hot shower and a comfortable place to sleep at the end of the day.

camping at Cooks Station.JPG

Day 5 - Thursday June 19 - Cook's Station to Kirkwood, CA

Yes, we slept in a tent last night.......9 continuous hours, unless you count when three raccoons woke us up rummaging through our bike bags. Got an earlier start today 6:45 am, to try to beat some of the heat. The morning was beautiful,

leaving Cooks Station.JPG
and the scenery spectacular.
the view.JPG

But we started at 5000 feet, dropped probably 1000 feet almost immediately and then once again started our climb, again!
climbing from 5000 ft..JPG

Got to 6000 ft. by 8:00 am
reaching 6000 ft..JPG
The views were spectacular,
Bear River Reservoir.JPG
Bear River Reservoir
.....but the climb (7000 ft by 10:20),
reaching 7000 ft.JPG
thin air and heat, made the traveling very slow.

reaching 8000 ft.JPG

Once again, we were running low on fuel. The 1/2 a muffin and candy bar from breakfast were not lasting. Our planned stop for lunch was Silver Lake, the only restaurant on our planned trek today. But the cutoff to the restaurant was 1 1/2 miles long, downhill. Had to do it.......
Silver Lake.JPG
......this is the view from the cutoff and the restaurant was at water level.

Unfortunately (to say the least) once we got to the bottom, we found out the restaurant was closed. Picked up some junk food at the campground shop and enjoyed the warm sun, cool breeze and View. We met a wonderful couple, Bill & Gloria, bicycling with their seven (yes, 7) children across country.Check out there blog here. They were gracious enough to give us and our heavy bikes a lift back up to the cutoff (in case you hear a rumor from Zach about us cheating). Best of luck to Bill & Company!
Top of the World.JPG

Reached Kirkwood after over five hours of biking (5000 ft to 8000 ft), which took 10 hours......logged 37 miles.
Stayed at 'Caples Lake Resort'. Not much (ie: at all) of a resort, but the view.......

Caples Lake.JPG

Day 6 - Friday June 20 - Kirkwood CA to Carson City NV

We finally started a ride with breakfast on our stomachs. We knew we had 4 to 6 miles of straight uphill before we hit Carson Pass and the thin cold air made every breath tough.

snow caps near Carson Pass.JPG
But we made it.
Carson Pass.JPG
We turn the corner to begin our heavenly (meant in every way possible) descent, and see Red Lake.
Red Lake.JPG
We only took a few pictures
and a quick stop for Ducky and Quakers to take a dip
taking a dip in Woodford.JPG

before our 15 mile downhill......and we enjoyed every minute of it.

We went from 50 degrees to 80's and into one of the most picturesque cowboy/Wild Wild West valleys, Hope Valley, you can imagine.
west fork of the Carson River.JPG
horses in Hope Valley.JPG
Carson River.JPG
this one's for Chris and The Billy Bob.......
fly fishing on the Carson River.JPG
one more and then I'll move on
field of flowers Hope Valley.JPG
Genoa, the first settlement of Nevada, was our lunch stop.
Genoa Saloon.JPG

We did stop to smell the roses, or take pictures of flowers (same thing right?), before landing in Carson City; Nevada's state capitol.
flowers along the way.JPG

logged 51 miles today. Tomorrow's a rest day and a trip (via car) to Tahoe.
ps. sorry for the late posting. Carson City is the first time we've been back on 'the grid' in 3 days.

Day 7 - Saturday June 21 DAY OFF!

.....but that doesn't mean we don't have pictures (Zach, I'll try to keep them limited).
We rented a car and drove up to Lake Tahoe in the morning.

Lake Tahoe.JPG
Thought the skiing gang back east would like to see what the slopes look like without the snow.
Tahoe ski trails.JPG

Tahoe is beautiful
Lake Tahoe beach.JPG
with lots of great shops and food,
South Lake Tahoe.JPG
but Saturday was opening day of the summer season, so the place was packed with tourists, eck!. We had a wonderful lunch looking out over the lake and headed back down the mountain to Carson City. Of course, we weren't without a town full there either. There was a huge Hog Rally going on (Justin we looked for you) and a 'taste of the town'.....more like bar hopping with food. Thanks to the guys at The Bike Smith (Rob, Justin, Jimmy, Ben and Bob-who doesn't actually work there) who were very helpful in not only getting my bike ready to hit the road, but gave us a great recommendation on dinner and correctly assessed our ride the next day (only 4 hills).