(written July 30th)
Today marks one month from the date that Ale and I left my house in Los Gatos. A lot has gone down and I already feel very different about life, this trip, other people, and myself. I am excited to see how I continue to change and gain new perspective on the remainder of the journey.
To celebrate this exciting day Ale and I decided to venture out and take a “shortcut” from Dayton to Pomeroy. This shortcut was through some country roads that we figured would be much less busy, much more beautiful, and much shorter (it shaved off about 5 miles). Win win win, right? Very wrong!
You know those huge yellow deserted hills covered with windmills that you drive between on highways and think to yourself, what even goes on up there? Well now I can tell you what goes on up there, because that is exactly where we road today and I got some major bonding time with those hills.
Our short cut ended up being 25 miles of gravel climbing and descending. It was awful! It took us 4 hours, including breaks filled with food (bars) and jokes and gratefuls and fantasizing about a hotel room. The road would have been hard but doable if the gravel wasn’t composed of mini boulders and loose rocks that were most definitely not ideal for cycling, let alone cycling with huge heavy panniers. The awful road conditions encouraged our bikes to go in random directions and get stuck in certain parts. Our back wheels would often lose traction going up hills, which was pretty awesome and exciting. The bumping up and down over the huge rocks also caused the average saddle discomfort to quadruple, which did wonders for the moral during those wonderful hours. I am actually shocked we got out of there without seriously injuring ourselves. I have a whole new appreciation for what our bikes our capable of (thank you Tom Holtzinger for picking out some good ones). Oh, it was also so hot with no shade and I sweat off all my spf 80 sun screen on the first hill climb, so I currently have beautiful tank top, shorts and ankle sock tan lines. We were also covered in dirt so about half my tan line disappeared after my shower. Great success.
When we finally got to a little town called Pomeroy, we immediately searched for our fantasized hotel. Unfortunately that did not exist, so we got a room at the only motel in town. It smelled of smoke and had mice running around, but whatever, we were out of the heat and we had a bed. Good enough. We lay there eating ice cream for a while laughing about the day and how bad it was at parts and then talked about how proud of ourselves that we were able to do it, ect ect. When I went into town a little later to get more ice cream I made friends with the guys that worked there and was telling them about our hellish ride that day. I explained the roads we went on and they both looked at each other and were like, “ummm, you went where?!” Apparently, it is pretty well known not to go on these roads because they are super steep, gravely, filled with sharp turns, and best of all, covered with rattle snakes. I am very glad we didn’t know this at the time, but now I feel like a badass for doing it and surviving. The men working at the ice cream shop were very impressed and wanted to know all about the trip and my background and what kind of training I did to prepare for this. I wanted to say, “well my friend and I did live at REI the week before we left to get every possible piece of equipment we might need,” but I figured that answer would not be what they were looking for, so I just left them in suspense and told them I had been training my whole life (left it vague). Haha, got em.