California!

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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Also at our motel were Alessandra and Gherardo, the Italian friends we met yesterday, seen below in a previously unpublished photo.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!

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Today we learned that Alessandra works in tech, Gherardo is a retired restaurateur.  Behind them: George’s rented truck.

And sometimes the world is too big to grasp.

We started the day at 3300′ (1000 meters) above sea level. The road climbed.

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George’s truck is at the left.  He generally drives 5-10 miles ahead, then waits for us, usually at a turn, or at the top or bottom of a long fast run.

Then it dropped to 2800′ in Golden Valley, where we saw our first patches of wild desert cacti.

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The road climbed again, to almost 3600′.

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Jeffrey had to pedal up a mountainside for an hour and a half to reach the truck at Union Pass.

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Water jugs—for migrants?  for cyclists?—were at the base of a Union Pass information board, and in several spots along the road on the way down.

Then came a steep, continuous drop of 12 miles (19 km)!

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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.

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Colorful rocks.

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Look carefully in the upper left quadrant and you’ll see the same divided highway we were on, winding between red peaks far below.

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At the end of the 12-mile, 3300′ (1000 meter) drop:  Bullhead City, Arizona.  The hotel-casinos are across the Colorado River in . . .

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. . . Nevada!

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.

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Ordinarily, Jeffrey eschews sidewalk biking.   He asserts cyclists’ right to be on the road.  But this road had no shoulders, no “Share the Road” signs, and lots of speedy motor traffic.  We stuck to the sidewalk for miles.  Only when it ended did we brave the road, which turned rough and gravel-edged.  Trucks and hordes of Harley-Davidson motorcycles (in the area for a convention) roared by, often at over 65 mph (105 kph) and sometimes too close.

Not far from the Colorado River was the first cultivated field we’ve seen on this Ride.

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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.

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The bridge is over Lisa’s left shoulder.

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.

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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.

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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.

4 thoughts on “California!

  1. Jeffrey, I just started at Human Rights First a little over 2 weeks ago, shortly before your ride, and want you to know that I donated immediately (and I hadn’t even received my first paycheck!).

    I’m the new major gifts officer and want you to know that everything you’re doing — and the gentle, non-pedantic way you’re interacting with fellow travelers — makes you an absolute hero in my book. I’ve shared details of your ride with all my friends and hope I can thank you in person on one of my trips to the west coast.

    Travel safely and God bless,
    Gina Taglieri

  2. Great pictures Jeffrey! And best news is you’re safe especially cruising at 35 mph down a mountain!!

    Your ride through California should be beautiful.

    M

    ________________________________

  3. In lieu of a sign, let me extend this greeting from a Californian, friend and supporter:
    WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA! Barbara Rugh Robeson

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