Early on before begining this ride, I posted why I was riding. I had a thousand and one reasons (excuses) not to ride and couldn't come up with a single reason why I should.
That was nonsense. The real reason I ride is the people.
What follows are just some of the awesome folks I've met:
The first person was Jim Sweet in San Francisco. picked me up at thhe airport and hosted me for 3 days. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo. But he was a huge help in getting this party started.
In the flurry of trying to get out of San Francisco, I negelected to buy much food for the road. Rom was kind enough to share his pasta and cheese with me. Mac and cheese has since become a staple for me for dinner. I boil pasta and throw in chunks of whatever cheese I'm carrying. Don't need sauce, the cheese melts all by itself.... Mmmmmmmm...
Steve and Ginger. I met them when they offered to share their campsite at Pipi in California. Lovely people. I learned to play Dominoes or at least one of about 100 games one could play with Dominoes. They gave me a lift out of the camp ground with my bike the next day. It woud have been a hell of a climb out otherwise.
Tim and Cathy Pinther. Cycling down from Carson Pass into Genoa, Nevada. I was looking for a cold drink late on a hot afternoon. They were enjoying a glass of wine after on the porch of the General Store after their own hike in the hills. We got to chatting and they ended up hosting me for two days at their beautiful home in Gardnerville. It was a real breath of fresh air in these days when many folks would consider bringing a stanger into their home outrageous. Well, here's to being outrageous. It's this kind of hospitality and kindness that can tone down the sharp edges of all the chaos the media likes to feed us.
Gary, Kevin, Jan, Eric and Bob. Eric, second from the right is an interpretive ranger at Great Basin National Park. Gary and Jan are his parents who were visiting from California. Eric gave us a great tour of the Lehman Caves in the Park. I caught a ride up to the Bristelcone Pine Trail in the higher elevations. It was really nice to get out of the oppressive heat in the lower elevations.
Twin sisters Tabitha and Cheri Phillips manage and cook at the Lectrolux Cafe in Baker, Nevada.
One of the best burgers I had had thus far. Some very interesting art can be seen hanging from the ceiling.
Jess and her dad. Afteer the epic night ride from Baker Nevada into Utah, I started down Wah Wah Pass about two hours earlier than I should have. I was headed to Milford, Utah. It was cool and breezy at 6700 feet but clouds were building and I could hear thunder. When I arrived at the lowest point of the Wah Wah Valley, it was about 111 degrees and I got about 2 miles up the other side and just could not tolerate the heat. There had been cloud cover but the wind shifted and so did the clouds. All I heard was my brain screaming, "Get out of the sun!!!!" Lucky for me, there was one tree about 100 yards off the road. I left my bike and staggered over to the shade to lay down with one of my bottles of by now very hot water. The shade brought instant relief and I was going to wait until dark again. About 30 minutes went by when I heard this voice, "Hello"? I think. I don't really remember.
As it turns out this father/daughter cycling team found it too hot and fairly dangerous to ride. They had rented a U Haul and were carrying their bikes all the way to Panguich. They offered me a ride which I took to Cedar City.
Devin. I was hanging out at The Grind cafe in Cedar City, drinking a rare coffee and reading emails. Mostly staying out of the heat. I was on my way out after about three hours and I spotted a loaded touring bike leaning against a tree near mine. I had to find the cyclist. I walked back in and he was pretty easy to spot. Funny that, pickng out the one other touring cyclist in a crowded cafe. He had that glow of someone happy and enjoying the freedom of the open road. We hung out that night and part of the next day. Devin said that he liked sleeping in the dugouts of the baseball fields in all the towns he went through since leaving on a bicycle from Virginia Beach, Virginia for the west coast. He had a connection for a place for the night and I went with him to a friend's near the university. It was a great couple of relaxing days after the harsh Nevada desert.
In Escalante I met Charlie Martin and his two daughters, Maggie and Katie. Another father/ daughter trip. We got to chatting in the little cafe there in Escalante and Charlie was kind enough to buy my breakfast. We talked about travel and I was able to share some of my experiences. I'm not sure Charlie was too thrilled with the advice I was offering, such as after college take a gap year and find a service project in Africa or South America. I'm not sure I was helpful to Charlie or his daughters but it sure was a pleasant conversation.
And when I think about it, I realize that what I'm donig is in some ways (re)discovering America. We are such a diverse and great people. We don't always agree but that's what makes us at least in theory, a democracy.
Thank you to everyone mentioned and to those I have not recognized in this post abd to the folks I have not yet met.
Thanks for reading.