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April 22 to April 28th San Diego

14 years ago

there's no place like home....there's No place like home....

Dorothy had it right. I am stay. I think Robert is a littttttle worried as I have stated repeatedly I am NEVER leaving again LOL. I am happy to be in my own home with my own bed and my sweet Robert. He is babying me at present but I have a feeling that will end soon so I am taking shameless advantage.

I was told by a wonderful and trusted family member that my 2 installments from San Diego were "cut and dried just the facts ma'am". I know and I apologize. I was on a 2 hr time limit on their computer and also just a tad tired. My other reports have been scintillating accounts of my travel and then all you get are miles per hours and distance...BORING ! I will try to do better with this last report...but remember you asked for it :)

April 22 Thursday Tempe to Wickenburg 76 mi/10 mph avg / 7hr 25 min riding time

Have you ever been to the Phoenix area? It goes on for miles and miles. We followed the route as it was set out on the maps from Adventure Cycling. We had lots of lovely neighborhoods to ride through and almost all of it was on bike paths. That is one thing about Phoenix they have a very large network of bike paths. The one draw back to the paths is that being in neighborhoods there are no services so it is like being out in the countryside with no place to purchase any fluids etc. We hadn't taken this into consideration so we were getting a little desperate for water and a break spot. Also there are traffic lights and stop signs which really slow the pace .

We finally got to the AZ canal. This canal system is 50 miles long and was originally built in the late 1880's. It has of course been updated and the paths adjacent to it are being added to and paved at this time. It provides irrigation to the entire area of Maricopa County. We rode along the paved portion for many miles and it is very pleasant. I got ahead of Kim and Pete . When I didn't see them coming for over 15 min, I really began to worry. I stopped a cyclist coming from that way and he said he had passed them and they were coming. Indeed I then saw them. I was right to be concerned. Kim had bumbed the curb with her bike/pannier and gone down. She had a nasty scrape on her L knee and had bumper her head, this is whay you wear a helmet, and hit her arm and side. It is amazing the damage you can do at a slow speed. They had stopped to clean her abrasion . She was shaken up and feeling uncomfortable. Also she had broken her rearview mirror. An aside...I had poohpoohed the mirrors until they persuaded me to get one. After using it I wouldn't be without it now. We were just getting ready to ride again when the same cyclist came back by. He stopped and we explained our difficulty. He had us follow him to his home a few blocks away and then he and Kim went in his car to get her a replacement mirror from a local bike shop. NICE ! Pete and I sat on his shady deck and talked to his wife and had some light lunch and used the bathroom. I laughed at the scene when he arrived at his home with 3 weary cyclists in tow . I told the story of the children's book that our kids' loved. It was called " Can I keep him?" bySteven Kellog .

Back on our way refreshed and ready we promptly took a wrong turn and once again we were trying to " get out of Phoenix ". Should be a song title. You may have noticed by now that this has happened before in other cities. We do great in small villages and out on the open road, but put us inside a metropolis like this and we are definitely not at our best. The maps are divided into 15 segments , each the size of a business envelope. It is carried on the handlebar bag in a plastic sleeve. I would not have been able to read it at all so it is just as well I didn't have them for the trip. Kim has an amazing eagle eye so she usually was our navigator in towns like this where there are numerous turns needed and many intersections to watch for.

We finally got to the turn off for Hwy 60...oh very fave road...NOT. It was hot and noisy and miles of red lights. The street signs and intersections continued for the whole 36 miles we rode. All services are on the left side naturally and it is a trick to get across the intersections. We manage it once only and decide not to do it again. This is a very gradual climb and we are exhausted when we reach Wickenburg AZ. Here is a link:

This is definitely a town lost in time. There isn't one inch that is not devoted to COWBOYS ! It is a center for dude ranches and every shop and saloon ( yep they have tons of them) is tricked out in the Old West.

Our campground had REAL GRASS. I know you are not interested in this but believe me after all the places I have pitched my tent in the past 2 months this is the only one with long soft green grass. The guy who owns the Aztec campground loves cyclists and says all of them come in and immediately pull off their shoes and lie down on the grass. He says laughingly that many even stay an extra day just to enjoy the cool grass. I can believe it. Lush is the word for this small lawn. We have dinner up on the main road at the Country Kitchen. I have the meatloaf dinner. It is OK but not as good as Momma's meatloaf always was.

I got an email from Garett, my son, about a trip he will make to San Diego at the same time I will be there. I am excited to think that I will get to see him on the West coast when I have haven't seen him since November at Thanksgiving.

April 23- Friday 62 miles/10.2 avg/ 6hr 15min riding

Wickenburg to Hope

Food is always on our minds on this trip. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to eat and cook and bake but I don't think about it all the time. On this trip the discussion of food and fluids is the last thing we discuss at night and the first in the morning. The maps have tried to cover all bases with this for every town you pass through but it is still possible for businesses to be closed or out of business all together. You will remember Charlie from way back in my trip....he gave me the Lucky Half-Dollar that I still have and told me I had better come back soon as his place is for sale even though there is no sign out front. We always prepare as if there will be little in the way of services unless we are going to a large town .

Why am I telling you this ? Oh yes well our propensity for large breakfasts , of course. we head right back to the Country Cafe after we pack up everything and get a wonderful breakfast. I have pancakes, 2 eggs sunnyside up and hashbrowns and coffee. I know you are amazed but that will all be gone and a distant memory before noon.

We head out to Hwy 60 again. Fortunately it is a much better situation out here on the way to Hope. As we are riding along the road we see a road cyclist coming toward us on the other side of the road. Pete and I stop and call out to her. A very interesting woman is Phyllis. She was out for daily bike ride. She said she had done the TransAM, a 4100 mile adventure cycling route 19 years ago to celebrate her 60th birthday ! Whoa...she is amazing. She stated she wished she had known we were in town last night as we could have stayed at her large home with her . Pete and I tell her she could register with Adventure Cycling and let them know that she is willing to have cycling guests. She states she will think about it but that she is now widowed for the past year and is doing as she pleases at present. You have by now done the math....she is 79 and still cycling strong and looks fantastic.

We stop in Aguila a town of 1000 , 20 miles West of Wickenburg. It is rich with agriculture and irrigation. I see miles of fields covered with black or white plastic on raised rows. Also lots of smallish green plants in the fields. I ask a gentleman at our lunch stop and he tells me that the plants are green peas and the covered rows are melons. I have looked it up and that is the largest crop by far in this area. So next time you eat a melon it may be from Maricopa County AZ. I didn't mention but the town of Phoenix and also this area all the way out here has the same numbering system for the streets. The whole area is on a grid system, much like Salt Lake City , of avenues and streets.

All of the irrigation of the fields comes from the Colorado River . Here is a very informative link:

We ride for miles after lunch and there isn't much to see and the landscape out here is not particularly attractive. It is hot and windy and flat. The irrigated fields are closer to the towns. Kim is still not feeling herself and is riding slowly and stays pretty far back. As we find out later this is due to a couple things. First when you have a bike wreck, even if it isn't serious it definitely unsettles you. Also when we went to the bike shop on arrival in Apache Jct she let the bike guy talk her into puncture proof tubes and replaced her tires. The puncture proof tubes are extremely heavy and don't roll like the regular tubes do. She gave me back my tire that I had loaned her at the time and replaced both of her tires and had the guy insert these tubes. You will note this detail if you decide to tour long distances. Don't go with puncture proof tubes, instead get the Kevlar tires and use regular tubes. Just a hint.

We pass through Wenden AZ. Back in January they had an amazing flood here. They said you could see it coming and it sounded like the ocean roaring as it hit the town. This area does have huge amounts of agriculture . The fields are beautiful.

We stopped at Salome and waited for her . Pete went to a small farmer's market to get some vegetables and fruit for later. I am tired and not really interested. There is nothing here and the little market has only juice which I do buy. Now here is the link to the town....pretty different take on it from mine.

We gt to Hope AZ and have a great campsite. That is pretty much all there is here in this town, the RV park. Here is a link.

April 24th- Saturday Hope AZ to Blythe CA 56 miles / 4hrs 45 min

When you are on your way out of town there is a sign, " you are leaving Hope behind". It is cold this AM. We stop for coffee. It is a downhill ride and a great road. In 2 1/2 hrs we are in Quartzsite AZ. The town is known for its swapmeets and gem shows. Here is a link: We stop along side the road at an icecream shop. It has gotten HOT and we are willing to do anything to get some shade and a snack. These folks have a couple of tables with umbrellas and say please come and sit and use the tables you don't have to buy a thing. Ah...they sell icecream...we are easy marks for sure !

We get situated at a shady table and pull out our bagels and peanut butter . We chat with these folks as they are busily dismantling their stand. They tell us that the weather after this weekend gets so hot that people don't even eat icecream. WHAT ??? How can that be ? We are laughing about this. They say it is true. It gets so hot that the icecream melts before the person can get to their car. 120 degrees is the avg. They close up their stand for 6 months and will be back when the weather cools. An interesting note: the pop. is 4000 in the hot weather. Then overnight it swells to 300,000 ! They say it is an amazing transformation with every inch of road filled with the swapmeets and RVs. We are amazed and glad we are not here to see it. They make a very good living selling icecream. OK , I know you want to know what we bought. Well Kim got a chocolate milkshake. Now you ask, why did we only get one? It was ONE QUART of delicious rich and creamy icecream. It was $5. It was wonderful. She got 2 smaller cups and shared with Pete and I. I am still kicking myself for not getting one of their delightful menu items. Next time ...

We reach the pedestrian bridge which crosses the Colorado River and marks our entrance into California ! Yeah. We are in Ehrenburg AZ on the one side but they have no camping and we are ready to be out of AZ. We walk our bikes across and take pics. We are now in Blythe CA. We have some difficulty finding the KOA and finally realize we saw it right on the river and did't make the correct turn. After we finally get there we also realize it is on the other side of the interstate and that there is only the one underpass and that we are 5 miles from a grocery store. I know that may not seem like much but we rarely if ever get back on the bikes at the end of the day. We made an exception back at Mama Jacks in TX.

The KOA is very nice and we have a really shady campsite. They have a nice clean set up. I had discovered that I had a rear bike tire flat on the way to the KOA but it was a slow leak and we just added air till we got here and could take it apart. This is my first on the whole trip ! The other one was on the left rear trailer. I am in CA and now this happens. Pete helps me take it apart and I have his help getting it changed. This is why I do the laundry and invent cooking recipes and buy treats for the others, I am no bike mechanic. While we have the bike apart I also clean the chain ring very well and lube it. I am a greasy mess so I go off to the showers.

When I get back I notice that there are grackles in my food bag and there are peanut butter cracker wrappers blowing around the campsite. WHAT! Those darn birds have been having a picnic. They loved the shiny paper I guess . I rescue some of the crackers and implement the 8 second rule...I eat them up and put away all my other food. Sorry birds.

Kim and I walk down to the river and watch the boaters. It is VERY swift and you have to stay close to the beach area that is here or you would be downriver in a flash. The water is pleasantly cool and I sure would love to swim. She and I walk back . We fix dinner and I do the laundry. As it gets later we decide to go for a swim in the pool. Pete uses the jacuzzi and I swim a few laps. It is very pleasant and the lights are on in the pool and we have it to ourselves. A nice end to the day.

April 25th Blythe CA- Palo Verde ( actually Mitchell Rd campground west of town ) 24.6 miles /2 hrs 11 min to P.V then 11 more miles out of town to campground in desert

I have oatmeal and pecans and raisins and honey and a banana and cinnamon sugar all together. It is so yum. I never get tired of the combo.

You will note the shorter distance today. We are resting up and staging our days now for the longer ones to come. The maps are very helpful with this . When you have miles of desert or no services ahead then you have to plan when you will and stop and take advantage and plan your miles accordingly. If you are doing a supported ride, this means a van carries all your stuff, then you can ride a road bike and easily do 100 miles if need be to get to the next facilities. We have no such assistance so we have to make sure we don't over extend our strength and supplies.

We go to an Albertson's, one of my very favorite gorcery store chains from when we lived in SLC , and we stock up on supplies for tonight and all day tomorrow. We count how many meals we need. It is a struggle here as everything looks fabulous. We also have coffee at a Starbucks. We like Mom and Pop places but this is close by. We ride on out of town and pass lots of alfalfa fields that are having their second cutting as there are already bales stacked in the fields. It is so fragrant ! Really beautiful. I wonder where all this alfalfa goes. I know my Dad purchased a lot of it over the years for the racetracks. He used suppliers in other parts of the country though.

We head on out of Palo Verde and have a very hilly and hot 11 miles to go to get to Mitchell Rd and a campground. It .6 miles of dirt road off the main road. is HOT. The campground is populated by quite a few RVs but we see noone except the manager. He has an interesting story. He and his wife lived in northern CA and made tons of money and never took vacations and rarely saw each other. They would sit in their hot tub at night and talk about how great it would be to retire some day and how much stuff they would do when that day came. One day 2 years before in 2008 they decided to take a "leap of faith" as he called it and sell every single thing except what fit in their RV. They headed out. They ended up here in this deserted desert area on the Old Colorado River. The RV park had been for sale and the residents decided to buy it as a coop and they hired Ron to run it. He is happy to be here. I ask him what they do and he never really says...he just asks me " you mean for excitement?" and never does answer.

The Old Colorado river runs right next to the campground. Here is a link to the area. It is part of the Cibola Natl Park. These are the backwaters of the Colorado river. Ron explains to me that due to the low flow of water the river is becoming choaked with tullies, a reed grass. The people who use their boats here and fish want the flow of water increased by the managers of the Colorado river so that the growth is reduced. I tell Ron about the Mississippi river and how there is too much activity and flow in the delta and the growth of the grasses that the seafood need to thrive is thus reduced. Man has certainly messed up the waterways of the US by tampering.

We are so hot and don't even bother to set up our tents. Ron is only charging us $6 for the 3 of us. He offers to turn on the swamp cooler in the rec hall and the refrigerator and we get showers and also free cool water to drink from the cooler...whew , I think we cost him more than we paid .

We spend the whole afternoon in the bldg. It gets hotter and hotter.I have not mentioned the gnats. The very second we crossed into CA we have been surrounded by gnats. Even when we are cycling you can feel them hitting your skin. The campground is no exception. They are everywhere and they bite. I think it has something to do with the agriculture but we are now in the desert although by the river. I never do find out why there are so many in CA and nowhere else we biked.

We cook inside the rec. bldg. I made a pack of the Idaho mashed potatoes and added red bell pepper and a roma tomato and a can of chicken and cheddar cheese...boy was it too much to eat. Had 2 Dove chocolates for dessert. Kim has started buying them instead of Pete. We finally set up our tents as the sun sets.We are warned about rattlers. They have had several 4 ft ones in the camp area. I am concerned about them hiding under my trailer. I already put my shoes in my tent at night and always shake them out since we do have to worry about scorpians. It is still hot. We do take a walk up to a high area to watch the sunset. It is not colorful at all so we are disappointed. We talk to a couple that live here in the park. They have been coming here for 17 years. They love it and never leave. Some folks only come for the winter but many like the baking heat. They fish and go into Palo Verde, 11 miles away.

We are just falling asleep and suddenly the RV park comes alive with people. Where have they been all day ? What is happening? It turns out they stay in their "little tin cans" as I call them during the heat of the day and then they all come out and talk and walk and exchange stories and news with the other residents. It is a very different lifestyle and not one the 3 of us think we would like at all.

April 26th Mitchell Rd Campground to El Centro 74 miles/ 6hr 45min

We get a VERY early start. We have been warned that the hwy has lots of 18 wheelers and not much shoulder. This is true. It is Monday so the traffic will be heavy. It is Hwy 78. First 13miles/1hr 25min., 17 miles /1 hr 15 min. You can tell that we went from hills to an easier time of it by the times it took to ride.

We pass miles of desert. This is where the Yuma proving grounds are located for military testing. Also we pass a large company that has high barbed wire and concertina wire called New Geld. I have not been able to find anything about this. We suddenly arrive at Glamus CA. If you haven't seen pics then you have missed an amazing place. It is miles of pure white sand dunes. I am riding alone and Pete was ahead and Kim was way back. ( still has the fat tubes in her bike tires...don't worry we finally figure this out and she throws them away. ). Here is a link. I stop at the only place in "town" believe me there is NOTHING here. It is a covered picnic area. I have all I need so don't go inside at all. I expected to find Pete here but he is nowhere to be seen and the store manager comes out and says he hasn't seen him I eat and drink and only stay 15 min. I am on my way riding a huge hill up away from the area when I hear someone shouting my name. I look up and it is Pete at the top of the overlook rest area. It has bathrooms I think so as he is madly waving his arms I ride up this STEEP road to where he is standing. OK....I am sorry I did this after about 15 sec. First it is HOT here, second the bathrooms are locked, third it is obvious what every single last visitor to the are has done since the bathrooms are locked...big sigh...Pete says go around the I do...I then look down the slope of sand dunes and see people with movie camers and lots of equipment. I call out to Pete and he says , " oh yeh they are filming a movie.." another big sigh. Donot look for this to end up on Prime time TV.

Pete now has a great idea. We fly down the twice damed hill and stage a photo shoot of our own. I ride past the dune and Pete shoots a pic of me from across the road. I do the same for him. I have now spent one hour messing around. It is now really hot.

Pete and I ride on to Brawley CA. We have been riding in the Imperial Valley. It is at 60 ft seal level. Irrigation is obvious everywhere. This is the agricultural center of the west it seems. Here is a link : We see trucks of potatoes and carrots etc. We wait for Kim for 45 minutes. We are at a gas station. Pete asks an incoming truck if the driver has seen her and he says she is on her way up the road.

While standing here we discover I have a FLAT on my trailer...number 2 in CA and the second on my trailer. We change it here in the parking lot of the gas station. Not sure what it is with CA and my tires. It is the right rear on the trailer and there is wire in 2 places from steel belted truck tires. We use tweezers to remove it and put in a new tube.

As we are standing in the parking lot we notice a man going around to the various trash cans and collecting aluminum cans. Pete stops him to ask what he is doing. The fellow very cheerfully states, " this is how I earn my living." He then hurries to another trash can by us. Pete can't resist asking and inquires, " how much do you get for the cans?" Again the fellow stops and cheerfully answers that he gets $1.05 per pound. He states this is enough for him to buy a meal every day. I ask what he gets. He states he gets 5 burritos and potatoes and a soft drink for $6. A few things to note about this whole conversation. Never was this gentle man asking for a hand out. It takes approx 300 cans to make #6. He was "earning a living" by his own words. CA doesn't have recycle bins placed where it would do alot of good. I was left feeling very emotional after this conversation. Plenty to think about.

Kim arrived and was hot and tired but willing to ride on to El Centro in order to shorten the day tomorrow. We stop at a small restaurant and I have one of hte best chef salads I have ever had. Huge amounts of lovely slices of meat. It tastes great .

It is 14 miles to El Centro.. I ride in front and set a fast and furious pace. We get there in one hour. We have a hard time finding a motel. It takes 3 tries but we do get a very nice and clean place to stay. This is the area that was the center of the earthquake around Easter. More on that later.

Pete , Kim and I have dinner cooked in the microwave in the room. It is lasagna and I buy a small loaf of Itl bread and we share a 6 pack of Fat Tire beer. I also buy a pint of Haagan Daz raspberry swirl sherbert and eat it all. I am pleasantly full.

April 26th 67 miles/9 hrs 20 min. El Centro to Boulevard

We are in El Centro CA . This area had a 7.5 eaerthquake on April 4th. Our morning began with the clothes hangers on the rack tinkling together and the walls and celing creaking. Kim whispers, " Caroline what is that ?" and I say " earthquake ! ". That is how our second to last biking day and longest day time wise began. She said " cool". It was actually one of over 300 tremors that have hit the area since the "big one". Our tremor was rated as a 2.5 we later found out. We got up and packed up and rechecked that we had sufficient fluids and food for the whole day. We knew there would be no services at all for the whole time we biked. We finished most of our breakfast items...pks of oatmeal and raisins and pecans and the last of my cinnamon sugar.

Our A.C maps as well as word of mouth had already prepared us for the road to Ocotillo being in terrible shape. They offered a detour route which we planned to take. My trailer as well as their bikes would not have done well with the pot holes we were told we would encounter. The detour was listed as 9 miles longer.

We headed out and quickly found Drew Road. Unfortunately it had a road closed ahead sign . We were told the state was doing repairs caused by the recent earthquake. We went on and took a parallel road one mile further up. We were relying on Kim's GPS to be sure we were even close to where we wanted to be. It is for hiking and not navigation of regular roads but it does well finding what we need.

We are riding through mostly farmland at this point. It is really early in the AM and they are already out baling the alfalfa and cutting it. The fragrance is wonderful and the air is cool. We also enjoy seeing burrowing owls hunting for food. They live in the berms at the side of the road that were constructed for the irrigation. It really is a nice ride so far. We finally decide it is safe to head back left to the original route. We do so and sure enough we are past any construction and on our way to Hwy 98. We arrive at the corner and make the right turn. A couple things happen at that time. We hit an AMAZING head wind of over 20 mph , we note large rolling hills and we see a sign for the Yuha Desert. We also know we have 23.5 miles to go till we reack I 8 which we will ride on for a ways. Thhis isn't such a long ways to ride but with those conditions it was really tough. This is called the Colorado Desert and is part of the Sonoran Desert. Kim and I struggle for litterally hours. Pete went on ahead. He may be 73 but he out weighs us by 100 # and has the muscle to prove it. We were exhausted as we topped the last hill and saw the end of the desert . We arrived at teh intersection of Hwy 98 and I 8 in 4hr 45 min from the motel. 4 hours of that was just riding. We were so glad that we found a Texaco station at this intersection. I also had a voicemail from Pete. I called him. He had bypassed the station and gone on. He was ready to do the first climb of 10 miles and was at the next entrance to I8. We said go on and he said he would meet us at Mt Spring Road. . Kim and I were out of fluids for the most part....thank goodness we had this stop . We were not ready for the climb at all as far as fluids. The only problem with the Texaco was that there was no plumbing. The earthquake had destroyed the sewer line and it still had not been repaired. Again we get to find a bush as there would not be any place along I 8 away from cars to stop. We got several things to drink and filled our water bottles with them. We added Gatorade finalized our prep with a Starbucks drink full of caffiene. I usually don't drink these but decided it couldn't hurt.

We pulled out at 11:50 AM for Interstate 8. We are allowed to be on it and then have to get off and then get back on. We have 10 miles to go . The wind is amazing. There are signs for the trucks to beware the wind and the steep climbs and the hot temps. It was hot but not nearly as hot as it could have been. The grade is 6%. There are frequent concrete water reservoirs on the side of the road that say " for radiator only". As Kim and I start up this road we know we are really going to have a challenge. I note that I am going about 2.5 to 3 mph most of the time. When the wind gusts grab me I am not moving at all and then they stop for a minute and you go on. We stop very very regularly to rest and regroup. we get to #4 barrel and I walk over and pull off the white cotton shirt I have worn since Shepherd TX and dip it in the water. Uh....cold....ugh...full of bleach ! I warn Kim and she says she doesn't care and pulls off her shirt too and dips it. The bleach made no lasting impact so not sure that is the exact product but the DOT told me they use a chemical in the water to prevent algae. We continue climbing very slowly. The truck and car and RV traffic is heavy, the air temp is hot and the going is made so tough by the swirling wind currents.

We reach Mt Spring road at 2:15 PM and there is no Pete. We go under the over pass and he is not there. We sit in the shade and eat a bit and drink. One of the advantages to my trailer is that I can bury the drinks I buy under my clothes and they stay quite cool for a long time. I swallow one whole qt of gatorade before I can stop myself. Kim is amazed...Richard Schick eat your heart out ! ( Mark will know what this means .) Pete has left me an email. He will meet us at the top....In-Ko-Pah. It is at 3000 ft.,_California As we are riding we have to Devil's canyons to cross. They are wide open spaces and have no shoulder on the road for us. Only a raised walking area. We take our life in our hands and walk our bikes across. The second of the crossings is quite long and has a high metal fence that ostensibly blocks the wind. It is still a mighty wind and the rattling of hte fence is really loud.

we get back on our bikes. Suddenly a huge swirling wind grabs me and the bike/trailer and spins me 180 degrees into the roadway. I manage to unclip my left foot and realize 2 things...I am facing down the mountain and there is no oncoming Robert says, " my number wasn't up. " Kim was yelling at me to get out of the road and I was struggling with the bike/trailer to do so. When I got back to the side I took a deep breath and decided to walk the bike. I managed this for some yards and then got back on " old paint" and continued on. I did discover that I could walk faster than I could pedal but I do have my pride :)

It was 2 more miles to where Pete was waiting. It took 1 hr and 15 min to get that far. When we arrived we found Pete and the DOT. Nothing else. The workers were so kind and refilled out water with icy water from their coolers and also let use their immaculate portolets. What great guys.

We now get on Old 80n and head to Boulevard. We first come to Jacumba. We have more fluids. It is getting late and we had really wanted to get to Live Oaks for the night. The people in the store tell us that the campground in LIve Oaks is very nasty and the motel is also. The guy behind the counter tries to get us to wait till 7:30 PM and he will give us a ride to whereever we want. We decide we can make it to Boulevard and a motel there. He laughs and says he will see us on the road...ha ! We are better than that....but just barely.

The way is nothing but big ups and downs. We know that it will continue this way till Alpine CA so it is not a surprise but it certainly isn't welcome at this late hour. At least the wind has died down. I am not in the mood for this part of the ride and find myself lagging behind. We have about 8 miles to go and I get in a gloomy funk.

We get to the town of Boulevard and find a very good Mexican retaurant . I have a wonderful steak quesadilla and beans and rice. I can only eat half. I am just too tired. We go on to the motel. What a is a rat hole that costs a lot. So far this day has been long and now this. The positive things are the bathroom is very clean, they have boiling hot water and it is plentiful, the rooms are indeed nonsmoking and the sheets and pillows are clean...the not good things are the carpet is unspeakable as is the bed spread. You can't have everything and we are exhausted. We sleep the sleep of the dead.

April 28th 76 miles 7hrs 20 min. LAST DAY ! San Diego here we come

Kim has typically gotten up an extra 30 min early every AM to call her husband back in Albany NY. He is at work by the time she calls . They had thier 1 year anniversary while she was biking with us. When she comes back into the room she asks if I am awake. I say yes. She then tells me it is pouring rain and COLD and windy. Great yesterday was earthquake tremors and heat and wind and desert and this.

Our last two days were probably the toughest of the whole trip. we thought that we had all downhill from Alpine which was not far today and also that we had about 30 miles to ride. You will note the mileage above. You will also note the riding time. So what were we doing ? Good question.

We finished eating in the room and tossed as much stuff as we knew we could...things we had carried that we were never ever going to use again. I won't bore you with the list but I am glad that I never have to use my 1 qt plastic covered bowl for microwave anything again. It had developed a patina if you will.

We step outside into the wind and cold and pouring rain. My trailer tire seemed a little low. I asked Pete to look at it. He suggested I pump it up and I did...ha...flat. So there we go again. CA and my tires did not agree. He used my last new tube. We checked the tire thoroughly and there was a small hole but nothing sharp. He put in the tube and I pump it up and it goes flat immediately. WTF ??! Exact same place on the tube. We take it off and the tire and check everything again. It is all smooth. I now have no tubes left. Kim takes both in the room , out of the cold and patches while Pete and I get out my new tire which I have hauled almost 3100 miles . Kim brings out the patched tube and it goes into the new tire. Success. It is now 8:30 much for the early start. It is still pouring and cold.

I have on biking shorts, tights, a wool undershirt and wool sweater a rainproof jacket and the hood pulled over my bike helpmet and cinched down. Gloves and wool socks. It doesn't take long to get soaked except for the part of me that is inside the rain jacket. We continue riding. We have on the maps that somewhere there is supposed to be a diner. We ride and ride and the weather contiunes to treat us badly. I have my head down and just plow on as if it is an ultra and I have miles to go with no relief. I can do this. I just shut my head off.

Suddenly I hear woohoo and screaming o my name. I look up from the road and off to my left I see the word DINER....yeah ! I thin see Kim and Pete. I make an immediate left turn, don't even look for cars LOL. This place means we are saved. We have ridden 12 miles.

This is a wonderful diner and truly saves our bacon...literally. The lady gives me newspaper to stuff my shoes. I change to warm dry socks and get out my dry gloves. We stuff ourselves. I have a 3 egg ham and cheese omlette and hashbrowns and a biscuit with both honey and strawberry jam. It is so good and I later wish I had ordered a couple to go . 2 cups of coffee with lots of cream and sugar and we are set to rights. We start back on the road and the more miles we pedal down the mountain the better the weather gets. When we reach Alpine we have removed all the winter stuff and the sun is out.

In Alpine, a very upscale town, we go into a very nice grocery. I don't need anything but a bathroom and they don't have one I can use. I go on to the city park and Pete and Kim join me in a few minutes. We head out for what we thought was an easy downhill to SD. Nope it is plenty hilly and not easy or short. We follow the route laid out for us up on Interstate 8 briefly and then back on Old 80 until we reach the bike path that goes through the Mission Valley Preserve. This place is a gem. It is so beautiful and the trails call to me in such a way that it is all I can do to stay on the bike. We reach the visitor center minutes before they close at 5 PM.

I go in and ask for a map of the area of San Diego that has Market St. We still have no idea where the International Hostel is located. The ladies are great and Xerox us a map. They also point out that there is a "hill" no matter what way you go into that part of the city. I look at her and sigh....lady I can DO hills. You will of course see the humor in this shortly. I assure hill that hills are no problem. I have biked over 3100 miles for heaven's sake. I am miles from finishing this adventure. There is NO hill that is too river too wide...well you get the idea. So will some trepidation on her part and none on mine I go outside and tell Pete and Kim I have a map and we set out.

It is now what passes for rush hour in San Diego. We are on Friars Rd and slowly work our way toward our destination. When we turn on what become Texas St and get to the light and the aforementioned " hill" I look forward and all I see is pavement. Ah....the hill she is very steep. Think San Francisco. Kim and Pete are in front of me. The light is getting ready to change . I am NOT going to stop pedaling. I buzz past them and start up the hill on Texas St in San Diego CA. I quickly downshift to "2" . I am in the granny gear and have only one lower gear left. There are tons of cars on my left and a wall of concrete on my right. OK, I can do this...I have not taken off the windbreaker that I put back on as the late afternoon breezes pick up...I am SWEATING...I am breathing hard...I hear is guy on a road bike with teeny tiny gears pedaling past on my left. It would be bad form to knock him over....also impossible as I am gripping the handelbars so hard. I take a deep breath and reach a slight flattening in the road. I realize that I had downshifted to "1" so I go back to "2"....I have 24 gears on this mountain bike but only these 2 are of any import at this moment. I continue to pedal and as I dare to look up I realize I am NOT at the top....I can't see the friggin' top....I down shift to "1" again and pedal pedal pedal. So what do YOU think happened....did I get off and walk or finish ? Of course me and my 2 pals finished the Texas St hill. I was so glad to see the gas station parking lot at the top. I stopped and took off the windbreaker. We were home free. We rode on the 521 Market St and hugged each other and got pics. We were done. It was over. Or just beginning...take your pick....take your pic.

we checked in to the hostel and then went to The Field, an Irish Pub for dinner. We had a great dinner , I had Irish Stew and a very good beer. We then all had Irish Coffee. We talked and laughed and said crazy things and remembered the ride. We then went back to the hostel. I did laundry , for the last time for the group of us. They both went to bed. I enjoyed the silence and wasn't at all tired. I finished at 12:05 and went to bed.

I will write more about the next days and the train ride but for now this enough. c

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