Thursday, December 8, 2011

I have arrived

Dec 8,

   Last night I rode into Oceanside CA my final destination.  It seems an Irony that I arrived on December 7th.  It did not occur to me until the night before last watching Pearl Harbor memorials on TV.
   I'm at the library so limited on my time but will catch up my blog here in the next couple of days.  I've kept a handwritten journal and will copy the entries.
  Total milage ridden is 3,550 miles + or - about 50 as my first odometer broke and the second one reset on me a couple of times.  I got one ride across the Newport Rhode Island bridge which prohibits bicycles.  Corrine was with me then and a big help in getting the ride as she made a sign and had her clown nose on.
    I'll be here in Oceanside for a week or two and hope to meet with fire and police in surrounding cities.
More soon...

December 6,   Julian CA, Rode 75 miles
     Good meeting with Octillo Wells fire, part of San Diego Coundy FD.   Octillo Wells does not look like it is big enough to be a town but the fire department is big as it covers part of the county.
     Rode by Salton sea.  It looks like the Great Salt Lake.  I took route 78 and rode from sea level to about 4500 feet.  It was a grueling ride into the night to reach a motel.  Spectacular vistas most of it.  Not a lot of traffic until late in the day.  I almost quit to sleep by the road but it was very windy and temperaturs at night were going into the teens at that elevation.

December 5,   still in Brawley CA (My day "off")

     I find that my mind seems to need more of a rest than my body.  It could be too that normally I go into what could be called depression during November and December.  One counselor called it a creative low or drawing back of the bow string for the next project.
     Ofthen on the road I have to give myself safety talks reminding myself out loud to be alert for the drunk and texting grivers.   When I find myself feeling comfortable in what I used to sonsider dangerous situations then I need a talk.
     Before this trip I was apalled at how bicyclists rountinely seemed to take the right of wasy and expect cars to look out and avoid them.   I don'''t want to be one of those cyclists.    I think bike lanes are suicide lanes            because they take you way out into traffic where right-turn lanes start.
Bikers should go right and cross the road as a pedestrian if necessary.
   Cyclists accustomed to taking the right of way will not do well on bike-friendly freeways where only shoulder riding is permitted.
    I'm writting about bike safety partly in response to the news that a young medical student was just killed in a bike lane in Salt Lake City, my home town.   On Martha's Vineyard I've seen cyclists use the overcrowded state roads when a paved bike path is available beside them.
   That said, for most of the day I just veged out but I made a trip to the Brawley fire deparetment and had a good meeting with the Fire Marshall.   Brawley is a small city of about 22,000 people.   Most small cities welcome the 60-Second training cards and rad monitors as the big cities "get all the money."

December 4,  Brawley CA, Rode 74 miles
     I left monitors inside the Hotville fire department.  It was open but nobody was there.
     It was not windy as forecast..   I made it to California today.  San Diego is just a stone's throw away but feels lkie the other side of the world.  Maybe it's because the ride is ending.
     In any case I'm pretty worn out.   I've been riding hard for the last five days because I don"t want to sleep in the desert.   The towns with motels are often more than 70 miles apart or I'd have to cut short the day because the next motel is a stretch.
     It's not that I don't like sleeping in the desert.  I'm worried about running into smugglers and bandidos.  The King County sheriff in Texas warned me not to travel near the borders as I have been doing.   The alternative of riding through northern NM and AZ was not possible due to cold weather.
    That said I'm heading north now.  At one point today the freeway ran right next to the Mexican border.   After I rode about 16 miles into California   a sign on the freeway ordered all bicycles to exit right in the middle of nowhere.  There was no legal way to continue on but I did anyway until I came to a frontage road about ten miles farther.  It was really the old highway before the freeway was built and in bad condition but rideable.  I was glad to finally get off the interstate.
   The scenery changed a lot today from Sahara-looking sandy desert to irrigated vegetable farms.  The weather was sunny and cool.   As bionic as I am at 61 I doubt that I could have handled hot days on this ride.   By hot I mean in the 80's.  At age 16 I used to ride when the temperature was as high as 105 degrees F in Iowa and not be bothered by it.
   It has been disappointing meeting so few police and fire fighters it these remote areas but I hope to make up for it when I get to the San Diego area.

December 3,  Yuma Arizona, Rode 42 miles
     I met with the Yuma Rural Metro Fire department at Station #2 and explained the monitors and 60-second cards to two firefighters.  
     I rode over  a small mountain pass about two miles of steep hill and three of moderate incline.  There was about ten miles of gradual incline before that.  It was nice to climb a mountain again.  I'm looking forwart to more mountains coming up soon.
   I rode by gigantic acreges of irrigated crops today.  I also passed gigantic feed lots with 10's of thousands of cows.   No wonder the EPA wanst to regulate cow farts, they want some of the income stream from the feed lots.  Another hidden tax the poor end up paying in higher food costs.

Really windy today.  I qw pretty tired and quit early because the  next motel is another 55 miles.  Sunny but chilly with a north wind.  Still it is great riding weather.  I don't think my body would take the heat if the day was hot.

   I friend in Salt Lake likened my trip to the "Odessy."  Yes I agree or at least I'd like to.

December 2,  (yesterday and today) Tacna Arizona, Rode 79 miles.
     Left monitors att Gilabend health department for police and fire.   Not a quality drop-off.
Almost no wind, a flat tire.   I found three weathered pennies in the desert.   I'm getting tired of the desert and long flat rides.

December 1, Gila Bend  AZ, Rode 58 miles

November 30,  Casa Grande AZ, Rode 73 miles

Dropped monitors at Casa Grande police department after talking to dispatcher.  I always try to get the dispatcher to refer me to an officer but none was available.

Wind assist to Casa Grande which means the wind was at my back pushing some.   It was a wind resist to to Gila Bend as it was blowing hard against me, gusting to 30mph + sometimes.   It was a hard ride but beautiful desert and mountains, lots of cactus.  I got to Interstate 8 and was relieved to see bike-friendly signs.  I had been worried that bikes might be prohibited and there was no other road.

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