Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Well a great deal has happened since our last second hand encounter with this amazing resource, our seemingly distant and long lost friend, the internet. We now find ourselves in a small town in Central Utah by the name of Escalante. How we made it here from Walker Pass is a blur. Consult map for a better understanding but here she goes...

Ridgecrest, California came fast after a long descent from Walker Pass. We drank Coors Light (trademark) at the bottom courtesty some motorcyclists. Trona was our toxic gateway into the desolate basin east of Death Valley and there we camped out on a concrete pad at the rest area that was across the street from a potash processing plant that went clank all night. Panamint Springs was our resting place the day before we would climb Townes Pass into Death Valley. Up at four the next morning (we started taking to early morning riding in east Cali due to the ridiculous heat) to start our ride that would bring us from below 1000ft. in elevation to 5000ft. in less than ten miles..., later we found out that the major car companies test there rides there to see if they can make it up without overheating. Sat through about three sandstorms that afternoon, a couple games of chess, some beers, and some sardines. Then off to Furnace Creek at 180ft. below sea level for our newly established early evening rides. There we were greeted by large groups of European tourists, an overpriced market, a yukulele (spelling debatable) thief, annoying flies, and a pool! After sleeping in the next day we lounged next to the pool and did some casual stretching in preparation for our ride out of the valley and towards to Las Vegas. 3 miles into our climb out we had some technical difficulties and ended up catching a ride to the big city with bright lights from a maniac driver who likes to "rock and roll" down the highway. There Rush went on a scavenger hunt to replace his bottom bracket while Elspeth and I went on our own hunt trying to find the necessary bank so as to keep our accounts from running low in expectations of some heavy gambling that evening. Rush got his bike fixed and some free cocoa to boot, his buddy Pip showed up on his way out to LA and we all stuffed ourselves at a Saharan buffet. No money was won that evening but we saved Rush from having to hang out with the kiddies at the arcade in Nascar World. (Sssshhhhhh, he's not 21, yet...) We caught our second ride of the trip the next day out of Vegas to the town of St. George in Southwestern Utah. There would have been a considerable stretch that would have taken place on interstate 15 and would have brought us through a zanny canyon with less that no shoulder so we figured $20 a head was worth it. From there is was a silly night ride to an ATV State Park that someone disguised as a good idea. Pretty yes. but hard to concentrate on beauty when you are worried about getting smashed by four spinning tires with memorial day partiers at the wheel. Since then it has pretty much been ideal riding. Better weather, amazing roads through some of this countries most amazing scenic beauty coupled with some really interesting small towns that rely on all those damn RVs.......

whew, well time to go treat ourselves to a DQ Blizzard (trademark), and give someone else a chance to use this computer. Oh, and we had about 50 new pictures to put up but for some dern reason they aint uploadin'. Until next time.......

Monday, May 18, 2009

No Open Wounds!

This Joel, Shane's cousin, posting in place Rush, Shane an Elspeth. I met up with them Saturday night at Walker Pass Campground just east of Lake Isabella. We were at about 5,250 ft above sea level. Two days previous to that they had been in Bakersfield(about 500ft). They had climbed almost a mile vertically in 2 days! Quite a feat.
We had a great evening. I cooked (homemade guacamole and fajitas) while they shared stories from their trip through Big Sur and across the Central Valley of California (ask them about Wasco and Vern from Kern). Some family members had shipped me gifts and supplies for the crew and I came bearing the well wishes of my friends in LA (Big thanks to Scott and Nate). As the warm afternoon faded into a cool evening, we watched the sunset and the stars light up the massive sky.
In the morning we had a quick breakfast (oatmeal and coffee) and slowly packed up our camp. I watched them prepare for their day ahead, which began with a steep 2 mile summit of Walker Pass followed by a 14 mile 2000ft decent into Owens Valley and the Mojave Desert. As I drove away, I realized how impressed I am at this endeavor they are undertaking. They are in great spirits and are having an incredible time. Best of luck Shane, Elspeth and Rush!

Friday, May 8, 2009

headwinds and hillsides (by elspeth)

Hello! We're in a little library in the little town of Pacific Grove-- a wintering place for monarch butterflies just south of Monterey. We've dedicated the day to laundering (and smelling all the better for it) and re-gearing our bikes for the climbing hills to come. It's our fourth day on the road, and our first chance to update- so here we are, library time-limit in mind. We woke up tuesday to gray skies and cold rain- AND to Shane's 26th birthday. Shane's Charleston bud Brady gave us a ride over the bridge and through San Fran, to Pacifica-- a town just south of the city. He watched us load our bikes (for the first time) and each take a wobbly spin around the block, and departed with well wishes. and... there we were. It took the first 'hill' (I'd like to say mountain, but I'm told otherwise) to realize that my rear rack (holding all of the stuff) was not gonna do it-- the weight of my bags bent in the prongs and held up the wheel. Eagle Scout Rush and Engineer Shane rigged up rack extensions with tent poles and zip ties, with the cushioning power of torn up sanitary pads. And it was at this moment that I knew we'd be ok, in the long run. We rode the rest of the day through drizzle and mist-- through eucalyptus forests with their clean, mint smell- winding round the mighty Pacific ocean. MAN. At the end of the day we found a small dirt road (marked by a hopping rabbit) that led to a wildflower filled field at the edge of the sea. We set up camp, and had the brightest birthday meal of them all- with celebratory champagne- and gleanings from our 'yard'- wild carrot, mustard flower, fennel and nasturtums (sp??). We hung out with a garter snake, lots of red winged blackbirds, large snails and nighttime bullfrogs... First day we rode about 30 miles-- Day two led us to Santa Cruz- and easy, sunny day of just over 30 miles. We stopped at a pick-your-own organic strawberry patch and ended up at Brighton Beach State Park at a Hike/Bike camp spot for the night. Hot Showers! Eek- I'm running out of time, so this'll have to be clipped. Yesterday was our longest day yet-- over 50 miles (I wanted to claim it as 60, but no go) but really! over 50 miles! that's a lot! aaaaand almost all straight into the wind. we were rounding Monterey bay, and battling the wind off the ocean. The early part of the day was fantastic-- wheeling through a valley with ENDLESS stretches of strawberries. The sweet musk was so thick in the air I think we must've been inhaling vitamins. But afternoon-- all wind and hills. And we did ok. See sunburnt and worn-out smiles below. Last night-- finally pulled to the side of the road a snuck into the woods to stealth camp, accompanied by a most delicious meal of sausages! and spanish rice+kale+broccoli. And now we're being cut off... But more to come!

Monday, May 4, 2009

If you're so Inclined...

We've made it to San Fran! thanks entirely to Rush's father, who scooped us and our bikes up way out east, and delivered us to the doorstep of our takeoff. He singlehandedly drove 21+ of the 34 (STRAIGHT) hours it took to get us out here, refused monies for gasolines, AND slipped Rush the means for a fantastic final meal. Goodness. Gracious. That brillo boy comes from good stock...

We've been staying for the past few nights at the in-home gallery/workspace/terribly nice oakland cornerstop of one Robin Weinert: printmaker, skater, gallery owner et al. Robin and Shane go way back to MICA- where they lived young lives of raucous ribaldry and (green) moonshine. Robin's been leading us and our eager bikes across these misty realms while we try to get rid of our backseat legs and find our pedals. Our very first day in these 'hills' Robin took us straight up the biggest/steepest thing I ever did see. So tall that clouds enveloped the top. He raced straight to the peak- shane following suite (and thinking it fine to wind into opposing lanes of traffic to ease the trek). Rush was almost up there with them, stopping only to walk with me up the midway point. And my flatland loosiana legs laughed at the thought. BUT we all made it to the top (through footfall and cycle), where we ate... more peanut butter. And looked out over all the bay, and sighed sighs of deep satisfaction. (and pretended not to think about the mountains to come)

And now we're off to a bike shop for some last minute details. like BRAKE CABLES. more posting later, while we've still got this luxury computer link...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Most People That Visit the Grand Canyon Spend More Time Looking Through Their Lens (by shane)

Fry bread at the Indian Village followed by a detour north to that epic water carving, The Grand Canyon. Now back on I-40 and 400 miles outside of LA we coast up and down hills in minutes that we are realizing will take us hours by way of bike. Things are starting to seem a bit more real and I think we are all looking forward to our first sore muscles...

Trucking Through the Tablelands (by elspeth)

It is 12:34 and we're gliding past red mesas, roundabout mile 1,330. We've only stopped for gas refills and the occasional mandated toothbrushing- and William Rush Jagoe the IV has been Exceptional Driver Number One, relieved only by William Rush Jagoe V for the awful graveyard shift at the wheel. WHICH means that Shane and I have lounged in the back of this kingly cab for 21 hours. This has been some very serious driving, accompanied by some very serious peanut butter and jelly eating. We forgot the name we chose for the blog, and spent a minute finding it online- which means you're either very skilled at remembering ridiculously long site names, or you've got a link. If you've found us- hurrah! Only sleeping in backseats for now- it seems we'll roll into San Francisco in the early hours of Saturday morning.We've started the first of may in Oklahoma (where the wind comes right behind the rain)and will end it in a sleepy California.