July 22, 2012
After coming out of the bathroom at a gas station in Benton, CA a biker (motorcycle) asked me, “Is that you?” while pointing to my loaded bicycle. I replied with a triumphant yup and he smiled (almost laughing) saying, “I saw those bikes and thought those are probably some badass (…a few more modifiers) , seven foot tall German dudes…a skinny girl and her boyfriend are the last people I expected.”
Not German, but I definitely felt 7 foot tall and then some knowing that Andrew and I made it to California. Did we really just bike across the country?! HECK YES.
After a long, exciting, and eventful expedition through the Nevada’s desert that culminated with a storm and a road side pickup, Andrew and I were very eager for a rest day. After a delightful evening with Theresa and Francesca, we spent the following morning exploring Tonopah, catching up with family, and relaxing. Andrew actually took an afternoon nap. Those who know Andrew and know his never waste a minute tude towards life can appreciate this. I did.
The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, and biked for about 40 miles with the winds at our back until we came across an abandoned town where we stopped for lunch. From there we started our climb that eventually ended at Montgomery Pass (elevation 8500 feet). Montgomery Pass was our bridge between California and Nevada, but instead of a huge “ Welcome to California, all of that long, monotonous climbing up the pass had paid off, you rock Anna and Andrew” sign, we were met by some heavy head winds. Go Figure. We eventually made it to a gas station in Benton, CA. We left our bikes outside while we freshened up inside the gas station. We had dinner outside and spent some time chatting with our biker friend and his friends. Really nice people who offered us some great encouragement about the roads ahead of us. “If you can bike through California, you can bike through anything” was the last nugget of wisdom that they left us.
Important wisdom of the road: When people say that “it’s all down hill from here” understand that it’s never ALL down hill from anywhere.
Yosemite! At 6:30am we hit the Whoa Nellie Deli [pay due credit to Rick’s collegue in photo] at the base of Tioga Pass for breakfast. Awesome breakfast and great spirits we were ready to bike our final pass. Twelve mile climb. Intense, but you know what? No trepidation for this girl, in fact, the climb felt awesome! That climb was a testament to our progress throughout the trip. Both of us feel much stronger and I no longer tread the passes because I am confident about my physical abilities.
It was time to put my money where my mouth was at because after our twelve mile climb we had another seventy miles of biking up and down through Yosemite National Park and on through to Groveland, CA. I mean we had A LOT of big hills, and ninety miles of up and down up and down can really get to ya, BUT we made it! “We always do,” says Andrew.
Once we got to Groveland, Andrew knew that only a hug could suffice in that moment…and then some food (he knows me well). We had dinner at a cool local restaurant called the Iron Gate and then polished off two pints of Ben and Jerry’s before hitting the sack.
The next morning we woke up and had the best breakfast to date at the best diner to date, Cross Country Cafe. I can still taste the homemade bisquits and gravy and fluffy blueberry pancakes as I type up this entry.
Their outstanding service and warm hospitality kept me in great spirits all morning as we made our way to Oakdale, CA for lunch and finished off in Tracy for the day.
Much love, Anna