Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 60: Napa, CA - San Francisco, CA

Time: 6:06:41
Distance: 97.06km
Average Speed: 15.8km/h

We started our day cycling through the wine area of Napa Valley stopping to eat the sweetest grapes I've ever tasted on the roadside every now and again. It was possible to use bike paths for most of the journey today aswell as a few quiet roads. My back tire started to warp a bit as we were passing through San Rafael where we stopped to eat. We were in a Mexican restaurant eating Burritos when a loud explosion went off outside. The whole restaurant went silent and the people outside stopped moving. I was pretty sure it was my tire and I was right. It had torn a 3 inch hole and the tube had an even bigger one. I used my last spare tire and tube and headed for Sausalito, the last town before the Golden Gate Bridge. Crossing the bridge is a really fitting way to end such a long cycle. It takes a good while to cross as it is nearly 3km long so it really hits you in the most obvious way that the cycle is complete.

We did this cycle to try to raise a grand for The Irish Cancer Society. To donate to the Irish Cancer Society please click here
Thanks to everyone who has donated already.

Day 59: Rio Vista, CA - Napa, CA

Time: 4:36:48
Distance: 77.64km
Average Speed: 16.8km/h

Today was supposed to be one of the shorter days of the trip but we ran into a few problems. We tried to take Highway 12 out of Rio Vista but quickly found out that there was no shoulder on the road so we asked for directions for a detour. We took a quiet country road flanked by windmills for about 30km before we got onto a part of Highway 12 that had some shoulder. On our way we stopped in a bar to ask for directions and ended up staying there nearly an hour listening to the 83 year old owner tell stories. We were the only 3 people in the pub. The ground was covered with peanut shells which added to the charm of the place. Just outside Suisun City my front tire went flat. It managed to stay up for just long enough to get inside the city limits and off the highway. When I turned the bike upside down to fix the puncture I noticed a thorn in my back tire so I pulled it out and heard that familiar hissing sound. After repairing both tubes we ate in Suisun. We arrived in Napa an hour or 2 later where we met our couchsurfing host Lena who took us to her house. As soon as we arrived we noticed that Ryan had a flat too.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 58: Pioneer, CA - Rio Vista, CA

Time: 5:46:04
Distance: 120.67km
Average Speed: 20.9km/h

The first hour of the day was almost all downhill in intense heat. When the terrain flattened out we cycled through farms of yellow grass and a few vineyards. We arrived in Rio Vista just before dark and managed to find a motel straight away.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 57: South Lake Tahoe, CA - Pioneer, CA

Time: 5:46:41
Distance: 107.71km
Average Speed: 18.6km/h

Katherine thought it would be a shame for us to get so close to Lake Tahoe without seeing it so in the morning we put our bikes in the car and she drove us up. We had a walk around the beach first and then started cycling from South Lake Tahoe as we would have covered the same amount of miles had we started in Gardnerville. We first reached the Luther Pass which took almost an hour to climb. After a descent and some flats we started the Kit Carson Pass, our last big climb of this trip. The climb doesn't go straight up and there are a few flats on the way up but you can reach points as high as 8,500ft and it is very demanding. The good part is the steep descents on the way down and I managed to reach over 70km/h today which I don't think I've done before. We stopped tonight in the town of Pioneer and are staying in a motel.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 56: Stagecoach, NV - Gardnerville, NV

Time: 3:50:04
Distance: 71.90km
Average Speed: 18.7km/h

Setting up a tent last night was tough as we were camping on sandy desert land. We had to pass through thorn bushes on our way out of our camping spot so we spent the first few minutes of the day pulling thorns from our skin. We made it to the Nevada state capitol of Carson City after about 2 hours and stopped in the Bike Smith shop for some air and tubes. They directed us to take route 88 to California followed by route 12. We stopped for supplies in Minden before setting out for Route 88 which would take us through the Sierra Nevada mountains and through the El Dorado Forest. We had planned to stop at a campground about 30km down route 88. After a few minutes we were flagged down by a woman standing beside a car so we stopped. She said she had always wanted to bring some touring cyclists with panniers to her house to help them out. Who were we to deny her this dream? Her house was 2 miles down the road with the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains shooting up just a few hundred meters from the back garden. We got a much needed shower, Katherine cooked a great dinner for us and her husband Roger gave us his home brew beer, wine and limoncella which were all top class.

Day 55: Lovelock, NV - Stagecoach, NV

Time: 7:56:07
Distance: 144.77km
Average Speed: 18.2km/h

We woke at 5.30am for what was going to be a 150km cycle to Reno. The first few hours after Lovelock were pretty barren apart from a male doll caught with his pants down on the road shoulder and the head of a jack rabbit with no body in sight. When we arrived in Fernley Mitch had left us a message saying he was in town. We met him for lunch in a casino hotel just off the I-80 which we've been cycling on since Utah. Things are looking up for Mitch. He managed to get a Burning Man ticket off a local who lives near the festival site. When we tried to get back on I-80 we saw a sign which read "No bicycles". We had another 50km to go so we detoured south on a terrible road to Highway 50. We managed to make it as far as the town of Stagecoach and found a camping spot just off the roadside before dark.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 54: Winnemucca, NV - Lovelock, NV

Time: 5:11:24
Distance: 152.57km
Average Speed: 22.1km/h

We were warned yesterday that today would be stormy. In the morning it rained a lot and the skies were covered in dark grey clouds. Yesterday, everything started to go wrong for Mitch. His saddle kept breaking during the cycle. He started developing a coldsore and an eye infection. When he called the person who had agreed to sell him a ticket for burning man her mother answered and said she had already sold it. He also got a flat tire. So today Mitch decided to hitch a lift as close to burning man as he could in the hope of finding a ticket. I really hope he finds one. If anyone deserves a ticket for the burning man festival it's this man. The strong winds of yesterday were replaced by gentle but very cold breezes. Ryan got a flat after about 15 minutes and a while later my back tire grew a testicle (see photos below). I have never seen a tire do this before and ended up having to replace the tire with my last spare. The roads today were flat and smooth and we ended up in the town of Lovelock a bit earlier than we expected.