Norman Carr was at our motel. He is a nature photographer, travel blogger, and self-styled Boondocker Vagabond. The rig you see above, including his self-built trailer, can sustain him in the wild for a month, even longer if he has access to water. After Norman admired our trike, he and Jeffrey got to talking about human rights. Norman, a military veteran, saw disturbing things done by American officials in the first Gulf War. He offered to help us reach a wider audience with our message of justice and kindness for refugees. Jeffrey will explore the possibility after this Ride.
Also at our motel were Alessandra and Gherardo, the Italian friends we met yesterday, seen below in a previously unpublished photo. Sometimes it’s a small world!
And sometimes the world is too big to grasp.
We started the day at 3300′ (1000 meters) above sea level. The road climbed.
Then it dropped to 2800′ in Golden Valley, where we saw our first patches of wild desert cacti.
The road climbed again, to almost 3600′.
Then came a steep, continuous drop of 12 miles (19 km)!
Gravel, debris, narrow spots, turns, and a rough surface, slowed us and made Jeffrey cautious. But what a ride! We descended as fast as 35 mph (57 kph). We stopped a couple of times to enjoy the view of a part of our world that is too big to grasp.
We didn’t stay long in Nevada. The temperature was over 90F (32C) and the shortest route to our destination was via Arizona Route 95, so we recrossed the Colorado and turned due south.
Not far from the Colorado River was the first cultivated field we’ve seen on this Ride.
Soon we crossed a bridge into Needles. CALIFORNIA!
There was no welcome sign. But we got a welcome from Lisa, whom we’d passed trudging along the highway and who had hitchhiked to Needles and arrived before us.
Lisa has worked as a house framer and security professional. She was on the way to San Bernardino to visit an ill friend. We talked a little about her troubles, and the world’s troubles. When she learned that asylum applicants can have a lawyer only “at no expense to the government”, she was surprised and disapproving. Jeffrey and Lisa wished each other well on their journeys.
George loves green chilis, so after they found us a place for the night, he and Jeffrey dined at a Needles institution: Valenzuela’s Cafe.
The owner’s son kindly helped Jeffrey to choose meatless food that wasn’t too spicy. New Mexican George said the chilis he ate were hot enough for a change.
Jeffrey mentioned the Ride. The owner’s son reminded Jeffrey that everyone’s family came from elsewhere, and he wished us success on our journey and voiced admiration for the work of Human Rights First.
In lieu of a photo in front of a (nonexistent) Welcome to California sign, Jeffrey took me out to see my first California sunset.
Now you know, in broad strokes, how today, after 9 days on the road and 506 miles pedaled from Rio Rancho, I reached California, as promised.
Tomorrow we continue on toward that sunset.