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May 25, 2014
Tracy: Wait… where are we again?

Our route today!

He says…

Today is Towel Day! Do you have your towel? (Click here if you don't understand.)

I have already mentioned the insane car shuttle that we are doing all along this trip. Another aspect of ensuring a successful trip is the insane amount of electronics we are packing. We have a PC to keep the website updated. We have cell phones. We have a camera. We have a GPS device. We have a bicycle speaker. We have an MP3 player. And we have chargers for every single one of these devices. (I’m sure they make a tablet or smart phone that consolidates many of these devices, but we are old and behind the times.)

This is just *some* of the electronics we are bringing on this trip!

We also have a small bicycle odometer that provides us with all of the data that we list at the end of every post. The odometer measures mileage by wheel rotation, so our mileage comes out a bit higher than Google Maps – but Gail says she wants the extra bragging rights.

Russell’s handlebar (in the front) has the speaker and the bicycle bell (which came with a compass)

Gail’s handlebar (in the back) has the GPS (which she actually never uses) and the odometer

I mention all of these electronics as a contrast to a very interesting fellow we met today. As we’ve written, the highlights of our days are the people we meet. At Mossdale County Park in Lathrop, our first rest stop, we met Cyrus, a man who may be even crazier than we are. Cyrus, 30 years old, is a software guy (he was the founding engineer at Clearspring, an Internet Widget start-up).

Cyrus had a 10-day break before his next start-up milestone, so he decided to walk from San Francisco to Yosemite. Unlike us, he is carrying his world on his back. The only thing he is picking up along the way is water. He is limiting himself to 800-1,300 calories a day; he brought five pounds of nuts and other essential nutrients. He is sleeping on the side of the road or wherever he can find a spot – without a tent. He is charging his cell phone with solar power. He is reading one of Alan Watts’ classic books on Buddhism as he goes. And he is purposely not blogging his trip, because he is afraid that would change the purpose of his travel.

Our first sight of Cyrus: resting in the shade, while his phone recharges in the sun

Cyrus was resting at Mossdale County Park during the heat of the day, and we got to chatting with him. We ended up having an impromptu picnic with some fresh boysenberries that Gail had picked up at Clements Ridge the other day.

A picnic of boysenberries (Gail was so pleased to finally use those ThermaRest pads!)

Meeting people like Cyrus reminds us that there is so much to see and experience in this world. We are so proud that we have made it this far – we are now more than halfway past our 160-mile journey – but hopefully there are many, many more adventures ahead for us!

She says…

Last night after the long ride, the car shuttle and the hot tub, I collapsed right after writing my half of the blog entry. I was exhausted. I am sad to say that Russell still had all of his blog work to do – write his side, download the photos, format everything, etc. This is why we are doing shorter days (that’s what I tell myself).

This morning I woke up completely disoriented. Now, some of you know that I can get lost in an elevator. I do not deny that I am directionally challenged, but I try to make the most of it. “Look what we found/saw because we got turned around a little! Isn’t that cool?” Russell, who has an unfailing sense of direction that I envy, just doesn’t get it at all.

The problem is that darn car-shuttle thing that we have going on. What happens daily is we arrive at our hotel at about 3:00, rest a few minutes, and then drive back to the vehicle at the place we just left. Then we turn around in separate vehicles and go past where we just arrived to drop one vehicle at the next stop. Then we drive back to this day’s stopping point. This means we are crossing and re-crossing the path we just bicycled (and it takes us hours to bike what we just drove in a fraction of the time). Needless to say, this is messing mightily with my poor internal compass.

Add to that the constant reshuffling of what we are taking, and what we are leaving, and which vehicle does it have to go in to be where we end up… and, well, my brain is about to explode. Plus, we are now one day ahead of schedule and I have no clue where or when I am. So far I am happy to say that the only thing I have lost is my rear view mirror. (Okay, who said “mind”?) Today I even had to change out my bike saddle, as the short saddle was just starting to hurt. I hoped the change would hit differently and relieve the pressure points I was just starting to feel. I also had to go to longer pants, to cover what got slightly sunburned on yesterday’s long trek.

Russell’s saddle is a Terry Fly

Gail’s primary saddle is “The Seat”

Gail also has a secondary saddle: A Serfas

So eventually I get on the bike and go where Russell takes us. (Yesterday he handed me a map while we were at a stop light, and mayhem ensued. Really, he should know better.)

Today Russell took us on another amazing ride. He was really excited to share this part of the trip with me – it was one of his favorites when he walked five years ago. I can see why. We rode through a very nice neighborhood to an access point for the levee on the San Joaquin River. It was our first attempt at a gravel surface and we did great. The view really was picture perfect, so we took pictures! I was amazed at one point that we could see the windmills at the pass. I realized that in one more day we would be biking there.

*This* is why we have big, fat, heavy mountain bike tires!

The Altamont Pass in the distance

The river is not very wide here, but the boaters were out in force – as were the fishermen. The fish that we saw jumping looked huge, but one guy said that fishing has really dropped off in the past few years. He blames too many boaters.

Our first goal was Mossdale County Park at the bridges that go over the river. The bridge is the only way to get from one side to the other unless you are driving. Thankfully there are restrooms, and they were open. Yay! We walked the bike down to the benches and met a young guy named Cyrus who was sitting on the ground, leaning against his backpack and reading. Of course we got to talking to him, As Russell has recounted.

The pedestrian bridge at Mossdale County Park

After leaving the park and heading off over the bridge, we got to a bike path that goes right along Highways 5 and 205. If you have driven through here, you may have seen Dell’Osso Family Farm – the place that has the big Halloween display or the Mud Run or the Ice Sled Hill. You can’t see the bike path from the freeway, but it goes right past this and keeps on going until it finally meets up with a paved road.

Again, the day brought us amazing bird sightings. At least 50 raptors all in one spot were circling the fields. Nearby, we sat down along the side of the road under some walnut trees at the edge of a field. There was water bubbling up and it was the perfect place to rest, cool off and grab a snack.

A gorgeous rest stop on the side of the road

A sky full of raptors

So we arrived hot, sweaty and grimy at our destination: Tracy. We had gone almost 14.5 miles. We made it through 100-degree temperatures, and I had no further sunburn. We’ve done the car shuttle and have determined that Jamba Juice sounds pretty darned good for dinner. And, just as a funny aside, the guy who checked us into the Extended Stay America was named Cyrus. I have never in my life met a Cyrus, and today we got two – both very nice.

But remember that saddle change out? Nope, that’s not gonna go any further. I am changing back to my Seat saddle… as soon as I can figure out which bag it’s in.

Overlooking the San Joaquin River

Total distance: 93.66 miles
Distance traveled today: 14.44 miles
Time spent riding: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Average speed: 9.4 mph
Maximum speed: 16.4 mph

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