Sunday, May 11, 2014

Day #5: A Lovely Visit to Yucaipa

Today's Route: Idyllwild, CA to Yucaipa, CA (53 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 254

I asked Jeremy, our Warm Showers host from last night, why it was that I might have heard of Idyllwild. Jeremy asked if I've ever seen the "Ride the Divide" movie. Have I ever seen "Ride the Divide"? What a silly question! Of course I've seen that movie. I've seen million times! In fact, that movie gets credit for being a big part of why I want to ride The Great Divide.

As it turns out, Mary Metcalf-Collier, the female racer who is featured in "Ride the Divide," lives in Idyllwild. She and her husband own The Hub Cyclery in town. In addition to running the bike shop, they also offer bike tours in the surrounding area.

We stopped off to see the bike shop. Unfortunately, the shop didn't open for a few hours.

In front of The Hub Cyclery.

Idyllwild is an adorable little town. Alex and I both commented on how Idyllwild felt like a cute little town tucked in the mountains of Colorado. California, of course, is entitled to have cute little mountain towns, but Idyllwild seems so different from the deserts we've biked through the last few days.

There were four sections to today's ride: 1) a glorious climb out of Idyllwild, 2) an awesome 2,000 ft winding and gloriously beautiful descent, 3) an intense, handlebar-gripping additional 2,000 ft descent, and 4) a slug of a 1,000 ft gain followed by an instant loss of that gain. It's amazing how a single day's ride can illicit so many different emotions.

It's also amazing how a single day's ride can pass through so many different ecosystems. We've seen it all today -- everything from dry deserts to lush, green forests.

We came across a "road closed" sign today on our route. Past experience has taught me that roads closed to automobiles are not necessarily roads closed to bicycles. I told Alex that we should ride through the road closed signs; we'd figure out a way to get where we needed to be.

We came across a road construction crew working on un underpass under Highway 10. We asked if we could ride through the construction. "No." Well, can you escort us through? We're bikers, and we're going to have to bike miles (emphasis added) to go around the construction. "No, I'm not allowed to do that." Argh! We ended up backtracking a bit to find a way under the highway. I'm convinced that if I was riding alone (without Alex), I totally would have been granted passage through the construction site. Oh well!

The construction site.

At some point in the ride, I glanced at my gloves and noticed that the black panel on the back of my hands was all sweat-stained with salt. I looked over at Alex's gloves, and they looked pristine. What's the deal with that? I guess I need to be eating more salt!

Alex's pristine glove on the left. My less-than-pristine glove on the right.

After we dropped into the valley today, we rode through a few towns that were less than impressive -- lots of sprawl and lots of cement. But when we rode into Yucaipa, the town where we would be staying for the night with a Warm Showers host, we were impressed.

A cool sculpture in one of the town circles.

We had a few hours before we told our host that we'd arrive, so we decided to spend some time at a coffee shop, catching up on emails and blogs. We flagged down two high school-aged girls, who were walking down the street with coffees in their hands, and we asked for a recommendation for a good coffeehouse with wifi. We were directed to White Rabbit, just a few blocks away.

White Rabbit Coffee, in Yucaipa.

This was the perfect spot to pass a few hours. Alex and I both ordered drinks. Alex sat inside and worked on his blog, and I sat outside and worked on my blog.

As we were leaving, a gentleman walked up to us and asked if we were biking the Sierra-Cascades route. Why yes, we are! He is from Yucaipa, and he biked the entire route last year, from north to south. As it turns out, his daughter works at White Rabbit.

After the coffee house, we went to a nearby grocery store to restock our food panniers, as we wouldn't be passing through another large town for a few days. At the checkout stand, I noticed the headline on "Globe" magazine:

Has it really been 20 years?

Has it really been 20 years since the OJ Simpson murders? Wow! I remember the trial like it was yesterday! I remember sitting in one of the high school cafeterias, eating lunch and working on a homework assignment when the verdict was announced. Oh my! I'm getting old!

After the grocery stop, we rode over to our Warm Shower's home. The home belongs to a guy named Tim, but Tim was busy tonight with a circus performance. Tim's mom, Nanette, lives with Tim, and so she served as our host for the evening.

Alex, Nanette, and me.

Nanette was a great host! In anticipation of the arrival of two hungry cyclists, she made us a lasagna and a whole bunch of other fixings. We talked for quite a bit about a lot of things -- Nan's recent stroke, her RV travels, and Tim's upcoming year-long bike ride to Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. Nanette is one hip chick! I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to meet Tim, as he sounds like a great guy, too.

Thanks, Yucaipa, for making us feel at home.


  1. I remember this white rabbit coffee house from somewhere, hmmmm. Could it be that you skyped from here :)


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