Thursday, October 8, 2009

Central CA

After leaving San Fran, I survived the nearly 50 miles of endless suburbs and strip malls to make it into the hills. As I asked for directions in San Jose the first person thought I was crazy and gave me bad directions. Luckily I found another nice gentleman to send me back in the right direction. I was headed to the highest point in the area, Mt Hamilton at above 4,000 ft. I rode late that night then started early the next morning ready for a long day of hills. Two coyotes ran out in front of me and stopped to stare first thing in the morning.

The climb up to the observatory atop Mt Hamilton was long, took nearly two hours, but was a good grade and I was still feeling strong after my rest days. The road was extremely quiet which made it all the better (only 3 cars passed me in 50 miles!). As I looked out from the summit I saw the continuous hills and ridges I thought I'd be in all day. To my surprise the rest of the ride to the Central valley stayed mainly along a dry stream bed and took me through the valley bottoms. It was a spectacular ride and I was thankful for less climbing as my legs were definitely tired out from the morning.

The view from Hwy 130.
My goal that evening was Modesto. A few weeks back, other cyclists told me about (a couchsufering for cyclists), I'd signed up but without ready computer access hadn't yet used it. Deciding to give it a try I was delighted to hear back from Tom in Modesto and had a place to stay for the night. Tom and Anne hosted me and took me out to dinner with a group of friends and other cycling enthusiasts: Mark and Julie, and Trina and her two daughters. It was a lot of fun to visit with them and talk about the numerous tours they've done. Later, Mark, Tom and Anne, spent a good amount of time deciding on and mapping out the best route for me to take into Yosemite. This was an excellent first experience with Warmshowers, it's wonderful to meet such great local people who have a passion for cycling. Thank you so much for your generosity, kindness and knowledge!
Tom and Anne
The next morning, Tom escorted me out of town riding along a bike path and canals, great way to avoid the busy streets!

This area is known for its almonds and walnuts. The majority of the day was spent riding through thousands of acres of these trees along nice back roads.
Times running out on the computer! I'm in Mariposa, CA right now and headed into Yosemite today. Had some bike trouble-ran over thorns last night and punctured my tires in 2-5 places on each. Discovered cracks in my rear rim, luckily R & E Cycles is going to send me a new rear wheel-just have to figure out how far I think I can survive on this one. I think I'll be keeping my figures crossed to get me through Yosemite-a storm is coming mid-week that could trap me if I delay.
So long for now.

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