Lost Hills KOA (Hwy 46)[MAP]

Near Shandon, alongside Hwy 46 or Blood Alley as the locals call it (Day 5)

Near Shandon, alongside Hwy 46 or “Blood Alley” as the locals call it (Day 5)

Last night, in order to shorten the two-hour packing up time in the morning, I didn’t put up the tent, but instead just wrapped it over my sleeping bag. Within ten minutes of the sun setting I was soaked in moisture. My sleeping bag was soaked by morning.

I turned inland this morning, the plan is to get to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. My granny gears are getting a major workout as I struggle up the rolling yellow hills. When I got to Paso Robles I saw a sign for an Amtrak train station and inquired as to whether I could put my bike on the train and piss off to somewhere else.

Unfortunately not.

Spoke to my sister’s boyfriend and told him I wasn’t having much fun. He suggested it might take me a month or so to get into it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait that long.

After Paso Robles, highway 46 becomes one of the straightest and flattest roads I’ve ridden so far. It’s not very encouraging to be able to see the road twenty miles ahead of you and know that the scenery there is just as boring as the scenery you’re now riding through. I had a slight tailwind and so could easily ride at about 17-20 miles per hour. Every time a truck passed me, which was often, the air draft would drag me along at another 3 or 4mph. Ninety percent of the truck drivers were considerate enough to almost cross over on to the wrong side of the road as they passed me (I only had a narrow shoulder). By the end to the day I was wishing they’d pass closer to me, just for that extra push of wind.

Passed the spot where James Dean crashed his car but didn’t know about it until I got to the spot where James Dean last bought gas. They sell all sorts of nuts there now and lay claim to having the largest parking lot in the world. While I was paying for my overpriced mocha flavoured almonds, the owner told me I was crazy for riding along the 46. They call it “Blood Alley” because of the high number of vehicle accidents on it every year.

Almost did my first century ride today. I considered riding the extra 0.64 miles just to see my speedo click over but I was too buggered.

Wheat field along highway 46 (Day 5)

Wheat field along highway 46 (Day 5)


Cedar Creek Campground[MAP]

There was barely a tree in sight today. Miles and miles of bare, dry, yellow hills. And warm as well. My $5 REI compass/thermometer that probably has an accuracy of plus or minus 20 degrees, read 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I had to trust my sketchy intuition when I got to a crossroads not shown on my map. I eventually wound up riding into the finish of a women’s three day bicycle race. A guy was kind enough to refill my water bottles as well as giving me a handful of detailed maps. One of the competitors asked me what I was in training for and didn’t seem to understand that I may be doing this just for the pure fun of it (I wish I could find where the fun of it is). Another cyclist I met on the way to Woody gave me much needed route advice on the general hilliness of the roads ahead. I’ve decided to skip the National Parks and just head straight over the Sierras.

I got into Glenville at five o’clock, already exhausted, to discover the only camping was ten miles up towards the summit. At my slow 4mph it was going to be dark by the time I got there. Just out of town I passed a lady parked in a van by the side of the road, who exclaimed an “Oh boy” when she saw the load I was carrying.

Several minutes later, just after I’d dumped all my excess water in order to lighten my load, she pulled up beside me and offered me a lift. Before I could answer, she had a barrage of questions “Do you have a gun, a knife or any sort of weapon on you?”, “Do you have any drugs?” which she repeated about four times until she was convinced by my answers. I took off all my panniers and shoved them and the bike into the back of her van. Before she started the van she demanded my name and made it clear that she would bust my arse and kick me out of the van if I tried anything shifty. That was followed by several minutes of praying over me and asking me questions about whether I’d ever said thankyou Jesus for coming into my life and so on. Susan was saving me from a two and a half hour arse-busting climb, so I humoured her with her terrible attempts at the Aussie accent and her other ramblings. She was a good sport though and even sent my Mum and Dad a picture that she’d taken of me and my bike.

Thankyou Jesus.

Towards Woody, no shade for the last 120 miles (Day 6)

Towards Woody, no shade for the last 120 miles (Day 6)

A day of doing diddlysquat. It’s a free, empty campground but with no facilities except a drop toilet. I’m ravenously hungry but out of fresh fruit, almost out of water and just rationing my overpriced mocha flavoured almonds.

Fell asleep for four hours in the middle of the day, feel like I’m totally out of energy. The overpriced mocha flavoured almonds aren’t helping much.

I have had a very painful left knee since day one. I have a very tender saddle sore on my right butt. I’ve had a gash on the first finger of my right hand since day one that keeps opening up each day. I have a popped blister on the middle toe of my left foot. Why am I doing this?

I keep seeing a lot of motorbikes passing me and I think I should have done something like that instead of this bicycle riding madness.

My bike short tan lines (Day 7)

My bike short tan lines (Day 7)

Cedar Creek campsite near Greenhorn Summit (Day 7)

Cedar Creek campsite near Greenhorn Summit (Day 7)


Green Horn Summit[MAP]

It turned out that the summit was only a few miles above the campground. If I’d have known this yesterday I would have ridden into Lake Isabella instead of starving myself on my rest day. When I got to the summit I took a self-congratulatory photo of myself. My first Sierra Nevada summit (Greenhorn Summit, elevation 6102 feet) and I’d barely ridden any of it myself. I was proud regardless. As I was about to head down the long hill into Lake Isabella a lady in a pick-up stopped beside me and exclaimed “You rode up the hill with that?” Straight away I knew she was a Kiwi and I told her I was an Aussie. Turned out Cheree lived in Lake Isabella and she quickly offered me a warm shower and a hot meal. We first collected firewood for her winter stockpile and then she showed me around town.

Before getting to her house she warned me that she was looking after an 11 month old German Shepherd whose owners had abandoned it due to its bad behaviour. She gave me instructions on how to behave around the dog; ignoring it, avoiding eye contact and turning my back to it if it tried to jump up. All the while acting calmly as possible. However trying to behave calmly with a dog barking aggressively inches from my exposing tight bike shorts, is a bit nerve racking. I only got bitten a few times. Turns out Cheree is a bit of a genius when it comes to animal training, she even has a chook that she can make poop on command.

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