Bernie: It was odd to set off without being able to say goodbye to Gary and Avery and thank them properly. It was a shame not to get to know Gary better and Avery, who is clearly a very talented baseball player and motorcyclist, and even at 14 seems to be a really nice lad.
I was slow to get going this morning. The first 25 miles and the first climb of the day were through pretty country and I perked up after breakfast and coffee at Graegle. Beyond Gaegle a brief few miles of flat across wide meadows and then into the next climb. Sun was shining but the wind was strong and swirling all over the place.
The descent took us into a beautiful wide valley but the wind was now really strong and gusty. What should have been 12 miles of respite from climbing were actually the most difficult of the day. The gusts sometimes had us almost at a standstill and, when coming from the side, almost blew us into the middle of the road. It was really tiring and by the time we got to Sierraville at the other side of the valley we had done 3000ft of climbing, battled the wind and were pretty tired!
We knew we had a big climb ahead so although we had already had a full breakfast we had burritos in a small mexican restaurant and rested for half an hour. The afternoon climb out of the valley was steady and steep at times but looking out over the trees at times we felt we were on top of the world. At last the road flattened out across a beautiful high meadowland and, although the wind was still strong and swirling, it was not quite a bad as earlier in the day. We started the descent but as we crossed the county line into the Nevada County the state of the road instantly deteriorated into horrible ruts that crossed the whole road and made the going veruy unpleasant for a few miles. A last few short steep climbs to finish us off for the day made this our biggest climbing day yet across 70 miles. We were exhausted but also exhillerated at the day’s ride.
A short way off highway 89 (and a last very steep climb!) and we found our warmshowers host for the night. Mike and Kim live in a lovely wooden house among the trees about miles north of Truckee. We were delighted to reach there and they were charming and hospitable and cooked us a lovely vegetable stir fry. Kim works as a nurse practitioner in a correctional facility for youngsters and it was interesting to compare systems. Most of the problems and causes are of course the same – drugs alcohol, sex trafficking etc. The facility she works at sounds model and innovative insititution to try and keep the 14-18 year olds out of the jail system.
We had been riding for a week and had had 2 long days so were due a rest day and we gratefully agreed when Mike and Kim offered for us to stay another day to re-energise.