Saturday, June 21, 2008

Conquered the Mountain, Now Crossing the Desert...

Day Four: We left San Diego late afternoon after having lunch with Walter, that afternoon we started our climb. We missed our first campsite, and it was getting dark. At about 10 in the evening we arrived at the Lake Jennings. As we approached the ranger stopped us, and then said "Well, technically, we're closed now, but you two look like you could use a place to camp." The lake twinkled and glistened under moonlight, and made all the difficult climbing worthwhile.

Watch out for snakes and mountain lions!!!

Dwain, aka, "Duke" was the name of the park ranger who greeted us. A very nice man, who kind of reminded me of Don Knotts. Debbie and I have become pros at setting up tent, even in pitch black darkness. The showers were free and hot. We were exhausted from the uphill ride that day, and quickly drifted off to sleep listening to the sounds of coyotes howling at the moon. We biked a total of 26 miles that day.

Day Five: Happy Birthday to Grantini!!!! Lake Jennings was even more spectacular in the daytime. Today was the big day for our steepest climb. You can see the elevation profile in our last post. We climbed a total of 4,000 feet on this special day, all for our favorite Tutti Fruity.

We stopped in a town called Alpine for lunch and met a nice girl named Jennifer who was doing PR for an organization that raises money to find lost children. We thought she was really sweet and it lifted our spirits to chat with her about our trip.

As we climbed up we started to see signs that read "10 avocados for $2.50," "orange flesh honeydew up ahead," each sign making our mouth water more than the last. We thought it might be a mirage, but the signs led us to Alpine Farms. The farmer, Jack was real friendly and helped us stock up on some healthy produce. We bought grapes, apricots, nectarines, peaches, dates, and string beans. As a parting gift he gave us a jar of bee pollen to help give us the protein and nutrients we need to keep climbing. Everything we bought was so delicious. (what we spent $10 on would have probably cost about $60 at Whole Foods!)

Fruits and Vegetables make people happy!

As we reached the top of the mountain the sun started to go down. We were in Descanso, which means rest in Spanish, which is exactly how we felt when we got there. Maybe it was because the temperature dropped about 15 degrees, but we both felt so relieved to be there. We stopped at the Descanso Market to get ice cream and popsicles and met Robin, who was full of funny stores and interesting facts about the town. The building the market was in is over 80 years old.
She said, "There's something special about this mountain." I guess it used to be part of a Native American trail way back when. She also told us that the high that day had been 105 degrees! and we were biking uphill in the heat of the day!
sunsets make us happy.
We spent that evening at the Pine Valley Inn. The climb had worn us out and we figured it was better to stop now and get an early start than to keep going 15 more miles to the next campsite. There we met Sean & Bill, who made a contribution to our cause. Sean was involved in the local Church and said that he would have the whole congregation pray for us. It felt so comforting to know that people we don't even know are sending us positive energy and love.

As we were leaving Sean handed me a piece of paper with a blessing for us on it.

Day Six: We met a fellow bike touring cyclist; Daniel from Germany. Turned out that our reputation had preceded us. He had heard about us through a couchsurfer that he stayed with, whom we were going to be staying with. A fascinating young man who's biked all over the world. He did a bike trip from Paris to Beijing once on a reclining bike. Here's a link to his blog .He gave us some good tips, and warned us of the heat in the desert. Too bad we were going in opposite directions otherwise it would have been fun to ride with him for a while. Anyway, best wishes Daniel!!!! Have a safe journey.

We stopped at a town called Jacumba for lunch. For a little town with a population of 400, it certainly had a lot of interesting people.
Pam and her friend were staying at a clothing optional part of town. I really wished we could have gone with them. We could really use some nude sunbathing to get rid of our crazy looking tan lines. Pam made a generous contribution to the cause. Thanks Pam!!!!

A delicious apple pie a la mode we devoured over lunch.
Norman Blackwood, "the town kook" as he described himself, is currently working on a writing western novel, and a children's book. He also used to have a stage show which he performed at the senior home.
Glenda the waitress
Fernando, the chef
Bill, a math teacher with cryptic tatoos.
We still haven't figured out the square root of -1, and the square root of 69..
The way down the mountain was so scary. We had so looked forward to it, until everyone in Jacumba started telling us how dangerous the descent was, especially for bikers. It was the funnest and scariest thing I've ever done in my life. The descent was SO steep, and you have to ride on the highway with all the speeding cars on the edge of the cliff. Luckily, there is a wide bike lane. We raced down for about ten miles with tears rolling down our faces, and our hearts beating like crazy. But we made it! Safe and alive. Thank God.
We stopped in Ocotillo, and Ed let us set up our tents in his RV Park for free. He even let us swim in their pool. We got to bed super early so that we could wake up at 4 to beat the heat. (which is 120 degrees where we are now)
We started riding at 5am.
This is the first sunrise that we've gotten to see and we were riding straight into it. So amazing and gorgeous. Again, all the hard parts are forgotten as we remember why we are doing this again.


Sunlight In The Rain said...

i can't believe you guys have been gone almost a week!

i wish you guys had join the clothing -optional place! so diane arbus!

christiaan ;)

Carrie said...

you're really doing it!!! i'm so proud :) so awesome.

elaine said...

your pic posts are rad! :) KEEP IT ROCKIN'!!! I'm totally thinking of you gals, all the best!


Anh said...

you go girls! keep up the good work and be safe in the dessert.
- juanh

Deidra said...

I think you should also watch out for mountain lions with snakes on their backs. Because I have seen that and that shit is crazy.

Just punch them in the throat! Oh, wait, you guys are technically riding for animals....uh, sing him a lullaby. He'll go to sleep.