Total Trip Miles: 574
When we left Tehachapi this morning, the moon was still shining in the sky. What a beautiful view to start the day!
|The morning sky over the Tehachapi Mountains.|
And the wind turbines were still turning. I just learned today that the Tehacaphi-Mohave area is one of the world's largest producers of wind-generated power. No surprise there! In addition to wind turbines, we've also seen lots of solar panels on our ride. Southern California makes the energy-efficient girl in me quite happy.
About five miles of our ride today was on State Highway 58. Here's the sign we passed as we entered the on-ramp:
Generally speaking, bicycles are prohibited from traveling on highways unless there is no other reasonable means for a bicycle to get from point A to point B. In this case, there were no other reasonable means. The addendum notes to our maps confirmed that bicycles are indeed allowed on this stretch of the highway and that the California Department of transportation would be removing this sign. The removal, apparently, has not yet happened.
We passed through the town of Caliente, which was true to its name, as Alex's bike computer once again registered 100 degrees.
You'll notice two things in the above photo.
- The train. This is part of the famous "Tehachapi Loop." The loop is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the railroad world. The loop is a three-quarter mile-long spiral of railroad track, which lessens the grade for the trains as they traverse over the Tehachapi Pass. Built in the late 1800s, the loop will cause a train exceeding 4,000 ft in length to pass over itself.
- The square-shaped contrail in the sky. Our route yesterday took us very near to the Edwards Air Force base. Apparently, many of the Air Force stunt planes do their training from this base. We're assuming the contrails are from the stunt planes.
|Caliente's only feature.|
We reached the top of the second of our three climbs around mid-afternoon. The heat was unbearable, and we were parched. Fortunately, there was a Trading Post at the top of the climb. It was the only establishment around for miles. We stopped in for cold drinks, and we enjoyed the refreshing shade and breeze from the front porch.
|A most perfectly situated Trading Post.|
We were glad to see the official Adventure Cycling Association's Sierra-Cascades route sticker on the door of the Trading Post. This is the second place we've noticed the sticker.
|The Sierra Cascades sticker.|
There was a "Loose Gravel" sign on one of our descents today. The gravel was part of an effort to fill potholes along the road. The gravel was quite painful to ride through, as our tires, traveling at fast speeds, kicked up the gravel against our legs.
|The little bits of gravel on my froggie feet.|
A washing of my froggie feet at the end of the day yielded some colorful, chocolate-like water.
|Like chocolate for (dirty laundry) water.|
We had originally planned to do about 48 miles today and about 2,500 feet of climbing. This plan would have involved stealth camping in the middle of a mountain range. Alas, Alex is in need of a rest day -- one in which we do no riding at all. So, we decided to ride an extra 17 miles, which involved an extra 2,500 feet of climbing, so that we could spend our rest day in a town.
We're once again staying in a motel, as Alex is seeking comfort in an effort to kick his head cold, sore legs, and saddle sores in the butt.
Today's ride ended up being one heck of a long ride. The climbing was tough today, but I really enjoyed it. I loved seeing the cattle resting beneath the trees on the side of the road, with no fence separating the cows and the road. I loved the feeling of riding in the refreshing shade of the occasional tree. I loved the breeze that would arise every now-and-then to whisk the heat away from my body. And, of course, I loved the well-earned descents.
At the end of the day, my face was quite salty. It looked as though I had closed my eyes, held my breath, dipped my face in a bowl of water, and then dipped my face into a bowl of coarse sea salt.
|A very salty face.|
Climbing is mostly mental; ninety-nine percent of the climb is mind over matter. But my salty face reminds me that at least some of the climb is physical. It's good to be reminded that touring is beneficial to both the mind and the body. Yeah for salty goodness!