Palmdale to Lake Terrace, LA. 56 miles.

We started the day with a gentle ‘get up’ as we knew we had a relatively gentle day ahead (oh, how our perspectives have changed). We were on the road by 8.45 and another sunny Californian day in the fall. The route skirted round the city – the combined metropolis of Palmdale and Lancaster having a population of 300K it was by far the biggest place we had cycled but the road was remarkably quiet.

 

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Having negotiated ourselves past various freeway junctions we turned off onto a properly quiet road, the Angeles Forest Highway, although there were no sign of trees here. Our last major climb (2000ft) was a bit of a grind through very arid landscape and a strong blustery wind which blew in all directions alongside lines of numerous marching electricity pylons.

 

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At the top all changed for the better. Th road gave us a great ‘downhill’ – steep but not too steep, bendy but not too bendy we had a great whizz down into much more interesting scenery. Near the bottom of the descent the mountain sides closed in round the deep cleft of the Big Tujunga Creek through dramatic rocky scenery.
A small climb up the side of the canyon and we finally turned off the Sierra Cascades route and the trusty maps that had guided our way over the weeks, as the ‘main road’ (although we had seen very little traffic) bent away from LA. We took a side road continuing down the BIg Tujunga canyon towards LA. Shortly after we stopped for our picnic overlooking a small reservoir and could not believe how silent and beautiful it was just 10 miles from the edge of the massive LA conurbation. A few gentle ups but generally it was a gentle cruise downhill as the canyon widened out and we hit the very outer suburbs of LA. Google directions taking us through pleasant residential areas to our warmshowers host for the night in Lake Terrace.

 

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Pam and Matt were out when we arrived but they had left a pleasant note on the doorstep telling us to go on in, use the shower, make ourselves at home – which we did. The US seems to have less of an obsession with locking up their houses and we saw the incredible warmshowers trust at work again.

 

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When Pam and Matt arrived home we found them to be a couple in their late 20’s or early 30’s (Pam/Matt correct us if we are wrong!), very keen on bike touring (ie traveling by bike rather than cycling for the sake of it – so very much in our groove. They were about to set off in a few days on an American Adventure Cycling Association route across the southern states from San Diego to Florida. We had a really enjoyable time chatting to them about cycle touring and their lives and really liked them as we got to know them through the evening.
They cooked us a delicious meal and told us how they had met in the Navy. Both had been out of the Navy for a few years and had move to LA 3 years ago. Matt had a job that allowed him to work lots of overtime, bank the hours and then take up to 49 days off – pretty rare in the UK and exceptionally rare in the US to be able to take such time off. Pam wasn’t working at this point but had completed her Masters Degree in Education a few years previously. However she explained that she would be very unlikely to also find such a flexible job so was not working at the moment.

 

Matt described his fascinating job running the electricity network in LA, working for a company owned by the the City. It sounded an incredibly high level and responsibe job with moment by moment, instant decision making about ramping electricity supplies up and down to keep the supply as constant as possible. His job was ensuring that a stable electricity supply was available to a population of millions every time the needed to flick a switch.
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A whole hidden world was opened up to us that we all take for granted. It was so interesting hearing his views on the wind turbines we had passed – not against them in principle but explaining that it caused them incredible problems. When the wind blows they need to ramp down supplies from oher sources but 10 minutes later the wind may of stopped and they need to ramp them up again. Facitlies that aren’t really designed for such quick reaction times. They did usefully harness the the supply though by ‘storing’ the energy, particularly overnight, by using the power to pump water to an upper reservoir and then releasing the water to a lower reservoir and producing power. An incredibly simple system that had in operation for 40 years and one of the most reliable powere sources.  


It was clear that Matt was supported by Pam in managing a very stressful job that he clearly did very successfully, and had wonderful priorities whcih carved out time for bike touring as well. Finally to bed to prepare for our last day.

 

A whole hidden world was opened up to us that we all take for granted. It was so interesting hearing his views on the wind turbines we had passed – not against them in principle but explaining that it caused them incredible problems. When the wind blows they need to ramp down supplies from oher sources but 10 minutes later the wind may of stopped and they need to ramp them up again. Facitlies that aren’t really designed for such quick reaction times. They did usefully harness the the supply though by ‘storing’ the energy, particularly overnight, by using the power to pump water to an upper reservoir and then releasing the water to a lower reservoir and producing power. An incredibly simple system that had in operation for 40 years and one of the most reliable powere sources.  

 

It was clear that Matt was supported by Pam in managing a very stressful job that he clearly did very successfully, and had wonderful priorities whcih carved out time for bike touring as well. Finally to bed to prepare for our last day.

 

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