Big news – I’m back in California already! How the heck did that happen? In some ways it seems like it’s gone so fast. On the other hand, sometimes it seems like I’ve been traveling by bike my whole life. I’m definitely looking forward to getting home next weekend and reconnecting with Megan and Jonah. We’ve talked frequently but it’s not the same and I feel like my time away is starting to push the limits of what I’m willing to endure for this adventure. It’s time to go home.
I had an extra adventure after posting last night. I only had 4 miles to go to find the campground where I intended to stay. After checking with Eliot, I realized we were 35 miles apart across the same Lahonton reservoir. Whoops. Guess I’m on my own. Well I made the mistake of taking Google Maps bike directions, again, but hey they warned me “Beta*”. (*Google Bike Maps are Beta; Don’t use these directions for actually getting somewhere without checking other sources.) Anyway it sent me down unpaved roads to keep me off the busy highway but since I’m in the middle of the desert, and we had a monsoon downpour while I was inhaling a pizza, the road had turned to some combination of clay, sand and water. Mostly it was OK, aside from getting splattered with sticky clay/sand. But have you tried to ride a bike across sand? If its hard and compacted, all is well. Then in a split second it gets too deep and you can’t steer and it’s easy to slip and fall. I managed to stay upright but those 4 miles took about an hour, plus an extra 15 min to find the unmarked campground in the dark. Adventure starts when stuff goes wrong, right? Well stuff was going wrong at a happy pace. Lots of adventure.
When I finally found the campground I was greatly rewarded for my efforts:
And they had warm showers! 50 cents for 5 minutes!
It was past 10:00 so instead of trying to set up camp, I just snagged the little porch on the back of the restroom building. Everyone nearby was in RVs so I seemed to be the only person using them.
There’s actually a word I’ve heard a lot this summer for things like this – “stealth camping” – which, as I understand it, means camping in unusual spots, quasi-legally, and ideally unnoticed/undetected.
Once I made it on the road the miles went fast, with Mariah again showing me great kindness with breezes at my back. Then I saw this on the lot of “Big Dawg Auto Sales.”
Folks from the Bay Area will recognize this as one of the only 8 remaining heads from the now-defunct Doggie Diner chain. At one time there were 30 of them and there was a big effort to preserve the last remaining one in use.
I passed through Carson City today which seems nice enough. I didn’t stay long but ran a bunch of errands you can only do in a big city. Important things like finding Starbucks instant coffee (the only instant IMHO), Claritin, and Chamois Buttr for my sore tuckus.
Near here a woman flagged me down to stop by her driveway. She gave me a bottle of cold water and said that she passed me on the road and said she thought I must be hot. So she waited for me to come by and give me one (actually she offered 2). How kind and considerate is that?
After a slight detour through Genoa (another really cute town worth exploring for a few hours) I crossed into California. Wow, it’s feeling like I might actually get home soon; next Saturday to be exact.
Ever since about about 9:00 this morning I’ve been getting glimpses of snow-topped Sierra peaks. After a day of pedaling, I’m close enough to summit my final pass, Carson Pass, in a day.
I’m dead tired tonight. I didn’t sleep much last night and it’s been awhile since I’ve taken a rest day. So tomorrow I’m taking it easy. One thing on the agenda is to visit Grover Hot Springs where you can swim in a warm pool including a pretty hot sauna room if I remember correctly. And then there’s ghost beads to look for, pretty pictures to search for, and Markleeville to swing by. Now if I can only find someone to lend me a fly rod for a day, the West Fork of the Carson River runs right outside my door…