John Steinbeck's America
Video by Nick. Words by Jay.
Holy. Wind. Batman. Not only did it not ease up overnight, the tent spent most of the night blowing into Nick and by morning, one of the loops had slipped its stake. We both got up to brush our teeth and I was worried it might blow away.
As we were eating breakfast, a ranger came by to ask for payment. Not the $6 we were expecting, but $36. He told us the $6/ person were day use fees. Nick, not wanting to argue without proof, because he is a smart man, paid him, but I couldn't get it out of my head. We ate our oatmeal and broke camp, and headed towards the usage fee signs. Which clearly stated in our favor. Not being able to find the golf-cart-driving old man who collected our payment, we headed to the front gate, where the women calmly told us that their fees had changed, but not the signs, and they were very sorry and had just spoken to the manager about it. We were probably the first cyclists to come through and camp in ages,based on what a scarefest it was to approach, but, I asked, would they be willing to issue us a refund and honor the signs posted everywhere that Nick and I each had a photo of? And they did.
So we were off, headed through back roads on levees, with water to the one side and farmland to the other, in an attempt to avoid the major road from yesterday. While the pavement was rutted, the traffic was minimal, and we cruised on, both feeling significantly better than the previous morning. Good thing,as we had 50 miles to go.
We hit our first bridge, a concrete semicircle arch connecting to a metal swing arm structure that someone just had to climb, and took a few minutes to do so. After all, it was snack time. Even with pleasant cooling breezes (the wind died down after leaving the campground), it was hot, and we wanted to stop often to hydrate.
Traffic continued to be light, and the wind was mostly in our favor as we rolled on, spotting cows, horses, goats, sheep, even an Alpaca! There were wheat fields and vineyards… and palm trees? Who designed this farmland, anyway?! And we saw the silliest ferry there ever was, a deck with a winch, pulling itself back and forth on a cable. It was so cute, we stayed to watch for several passages.
We stopped next to another small bridge for lunch, and about an hour later, with ⅔ of our miles behind us, sat outside the Yolo County library, even though it was closed so Nick could charge his devices and I could stretch. Despite our best intentions, we haven't been doing as much mobility work as I’d like because either time or energy always seems to be in short supply at day’s end. Today, I'll be happy to find a playground to hang upside down on.
We remounted our steeds, and shortly thereafter, hit the outskirts of Sacramento. It was gross. After all the fresh air and empty roads, there was traffic and the streets were dirty. And I needed a bathroom. Side effect of the huge homeless population, it's really hard to find public restrooms here. That was incredibly frustrating for someone like me with chronic stomach issues. Finally we turned off the main drag to a quiet public park that met our needs. 7 miles to go. But our host for the night wasn't going to be home yet, so we headed towards a playground across from her street where we could rest in shade and hang.
Miriam and I were in Israel together last summer, and there aren't many folks from that trip on the west coast, so it was special to be able to see her! She and her husband took us for Vietnamese, where the waitress paid no attention when we ordered and then delivered us the wrong thing, but the food was good. Too good, actually. Nick and I have probably not been eating enough, as a side effect of me trying to take it easy on my stomach. In retrospect,all that veggie fried rice and water took up too much space, and now Nick is feeling out of sorts.
Hopefully he will be better in the morning, we only have 15 miles to go tomorrow. We are to be in Davis, CA around 3pm to help load up the sculpture and play with the “whymcycles”. Whatever that means, you can be sure there will be pictures.
Total miles: 50