Thursday, May 8, 2014

Day #3: Stream of Consciousness

Today's Route: Pine Valley, CA to Lake Henshaw, CA (51 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 131 miles

Remember the sidewinder from She Shot the Sidewinder? Well, Jill sent some photos and stats abut the snake.

The dead sidewinder.

Look, there really is blood coming out
of the little booger's mouth!

Jill estimates that the sidewinder was just shy of four feet. And that doesn't include the three inches of rattles that Jill had removed. Jill counted ten rattles on Mr. Sidewinder's tail, suggesting that the snake had a good ten years of life before Jill showed him who was boss!

I asked Jill why the snake looked so bloated in the photo. Theories include: a) the snake recently ate a squirrel and b) the snake was pregnant with 8-10 baby snakes. I prefer the second theory, especially since I have been referring to the sidewinder in masculine form.

Guess what? Alex's bicycle has now earned a name. From this day forward, Alex's green Surly Disc Trucker shall be called "The Beast."

We had our first gear failure today; one of Alex's water bottles cracked. As far as gear failures go, a cracked water bottle is far better than some other failures.

During our motel stay last night, I discovered a new pet peeve of mine -- unsynchronized two-ply toilet paper. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, each ply of this two-ply paper had to be unraveled and separately severed from the roll.

My new pet peeve.

Alex brought along his Go Pro video camera. Alex mounted the camera on his helmet for a couple sections of today's ride. I can't wait to see the footage.

Alex and his helmet-mounted GoPro.

Me, in person. Alex, in shadow.

I learned today that snowball throwing can earn you six months in the slammer. Wowsers!

Californians take snowball throwing seriously!

After yesterday's arse-kicking day, I thoroughly enjoyed today's ride. We passed through lots of beautiful places and enjoyed lots of downhill thrills!

Shirley, looking particularly feminine amongst the wild flowers.

I love this photo Alex took while I road by.

Today marked a first for me -- the highest elevation I've ever biked -- just in excess of 6,000 feet. This record will be shattered numerous times on this trip. The highest we will bike is 9,943 feet, at Tioga Pass in Yosemite. One thing is for certain: the oxygen is noticeably less plentiful above 5,000 feet.

Another thing is also for certain: it's much colder at higher elevations. It seemed as though the theme for today was "changing outfits." We must have stopped a dozen times to add clothes or to remove clothes. At one point, I brought out my ear warmers, thick bike gloves, leg warmers, and rain jacket. Brrr!

I'm always on the lookout for the perfect whoopie tree. I had to stop and take a photo of this beauty.

A great whoopie tree.

Last August, as I was bicycling to Leavenworth for a wedding, I met this guy named Monty (refer to Bicycling to a Wedding). He's a "trail angel," helping hikers as they travel along the Pacific Crest Trail. Monty was intrigued by bicycle touring, and I think it's partially my fault that he now owns a touring bike. What can I say? I'm always happy to be an evangelist for bike touring.

Monty mentioned that if I'm ever in his neck of the woods, I should stop by, as he would be happy to host. Who would have thought that nine months later I'd be riding right through Monty's neck of the woods!


Tonight, Alex and I stayed at Monty's place, along with six backpackers who are hiking the Pacific Crest. Monty has quite the set-up for hosting masses of dirty and hungry travelers. He has showers. And laundry facilities. And sleeping space (including underneath an outdoor carport). Most importantly, Monty feeds his travelers. And he's one helluva fantastic cook.

My dinner, compliments of Monty.

I could only eat about one-forth of the food on this plate before I could eat no more. Now, its possible that hikers have appetites that put cyclist appetites to shame. But, I think Monty may have given special treatment to me and Alex by giving us quadruple portions. After finishing what I could eat, the backpackers were kind enough to help clean my plate.

Dinner time at Monty's.

Most of the hikers at Monty's place are staying for a few days, resting and recovering from injuries. A few of the hikers are suffering from foot problems -- mostly blisters gone wrong. Soaking feet in tubs of water with epsom salts is popular.

Kathryn, soaking her sore feet.

Alex and I joked about how cyclists have different sore spots than hikers. We all laughed about using the epsom salt baths to soak our saddle areas.

I'll leave you with a photo of me writing yesterday's blog post, in the motel room, with the lights out. I thought Alex was asleep in the other bed, but apparently he was busy taking stealth photos of his awesome riding partner

Blog writing in the dark.


  1. Hi, Sarah, thanks for the updates, enjoying reading about your journey! Stay safe and warm. And cool! xo

  2. There is a trick to the 2 ply out of sync TP peeve:
    1. unroll about 3 sheets,
    2. then peel off the top ply and
    3. tear it as close to the top of the
    4. Turn the roll backwards until the (shorter) end of the upper,

    1. Ah, there's technique for dealing with the unsynchronized two-ply TP problem. Thanks, Fulvio! I'll try this next time. :)

  3. Sorry, for some reason the blogspot comment engine wasn't working the other day. Here is the full trick:

    There is a trick to the out-of-sync 2-ply TP peeve:

    1. Unroll a length of TP approximately equal to 4 sheets, or 10, or 20, in direct proportion to your aggravation. The minimum is 2πr (2 pi r), where r is the radius of the roll at its current level of fullness. In general, the length of a sheet is about the same as the diameter of the full roll, so 3.14159 sheets should do it.
    2. Peel the two plies apart, and tear the outer ply near the top of the roll. (We assume the roll was installed in the canonical “over-the-top” fashion, as opposed to the “down-the-bottom-I’m-going-to-rot-in-hell-and-I-don’t-care” degeneracy.)
    3. Turn the roll backwards until the outer ply is about mid-height in front, now under the previously “inner” ply. You should hold on to the “inner” ply as it gets sucked back while the roll turns backwards.
    4. Find the perforation on the longer ply nearest the edge of the shorter ply, and sever it there.

    Voilà, the two plies are back in sync!

    1. Ah, yes, Fulvio! These instructions are far more comprehensive! And quite entertaining, too. Have you ever tried this trick? :)


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