We had never been more excited to jump out of bed than we were today. Why? Well, because we were having vegan apple crisp and vanilla ice cream for breakfast. That’s right. And guilt-free too because we knew we had a day’s worth of exercise ahead of us!
And the day was already looking great. Rick and Lee had ridden across America a few years ago on their tandem bike, and decided to ride us about ten miles out in the morning. We have had many hosts talk about riding a bit with us, and it was fun to see this come to fruition. We warned them that we weren’t the fastest bikers, and they reminded us that we were a third of their age, so we wouldn’t have to worry about pace! They also know what it’s like to ride with extra weight, so we all related on that level too.
The four of us hopped on three bikes, and headed out just as the sun was rising. We sped down many hills, and paced ourselves up others. We stopped off at a grocery store to fill up our water bottles. Just as we were almost to the spot where we would part ways and say goodbye, Jaime began talking it up with a couple that was sitting outside drinking coffee. They were cyclists too and had actually started a cycling Facebook group with around 8,000 people! They took pictures of us and posted to their Facebook group, wanting to share our trip and also offering to hopefully help us find housing for the last few nights of our trip!
After leaving the grocery store, we rode a little more with Rick and Lee. We said goodbye, thanked them a ton, and continued on. There were clouds in the distance, which worried us a bit, but we knew the only thing to do was to keep biking. After a couple more hours of biking, we eventually entered Hawaii. What? Well, almost. Right before our eyes, the landscape transformed into a tropical resort. We’re not kidding. We were riding along in awe of the beauty surrounding us. Could we possibly be in the same country that also possessed Kansas?
We turned off at a restaurant to refill our water bottles and met the lovely Claudia. She was enthusiastic about our trip, and wanted to get us on the radio. We told her we were trying to get all the way to Twentynine Palms today, and didn’t think we had the time. Our plan for the day was to get all the way over the California border to Parker, and then hitch a ride to Twentynine Palms, about 115 miles away. The reason we wanted a ride was because this would be a 115 mile stretch of desert – this meant no water, and no where to stop off for the night! While we are confident in our biking abilities by this point, we definitely do not want to get in a dangerous situation. We also knew we had a place to stay at the Twentynine Palms Fire Department, which we were really excited about. We told her this, and she offered to drive us if we needed it. We took her number and told her we’d call if we absolutely couldn’t find anything else! Before saying goodbye, she told us that there was a little beach spot just up the road, and we had to jump in the water before leaving.
We biked up a couple hills to the beach, and ran right in the water. Once again, we couldn’t believe our surroundings. We relaxed for all of twenty minutes before getting back on our bikes. California was waiting for us, and we could see the final state looking at us from across the water!
While biking to the border, we kept thinking we were approaching the bridge to California. We were wrong several times, but excited nonetheless. Finally, we reached the right bridge! Did really just bike to California?! After a photoshoot with the “Welcome to California” sign, we biked over to a convenience store that would be right before the turn to Twentynine Palms. We’d hitch a ride with a family heading to Twentynine Palms, no problem. What a great plan, we thought. Well, three hours later and still no luck. Not surprisingly, few people were heading 115 miles through the desert. Early on in our hitchhiking quest, a couple told us they were heading to Orange County that day, so they’d be happy to take us. However, they wouldn’t be leaving for several hours. If we were still here when they came back, they would take us.
While waiting for them to come back, we made several phone calls trying to plan lodging for the rest of our trip. We called fire houses, warm showers hosts, family and friends, and actually made some headway in our planning! Time well spent.
It was around 4:30 and we still hadn’t gotten a ride. The couple who said they’d drive us still hadn’t come back. We recommenced hailing cars down, and still had little luck. One man couldn’t offer us a ride, but did offer us a place to stay in town if we weren’t able to find a ride by dark. Just as our spirits were plummeting to rock bottom, an RV turned the corner. There were road bikes on the roofs, mountain bikes on the back, two kayaks strapped on the top and a friendly couple in the front seat. We waved our arms and they came right over. They weren’t sure if we’d be able to fit our bikes, seeing as they already had four bikes on their truck. But they took the time to make it work! Steve, Christine, and their dog Howie were on their way back home, but went a total of hundred miles out of their way to bring us safely to Twentynine Palms. We had a great time talking with them in the car about their adventures and their family.
When we finally got to the fire station, we thanked Steve and Christine profusely and went to talk with the fire chief. At first, no one answered. We were a little worried. We knocked again, and a man answered the door. When we told him we had spoken on the phone with someone about staying here, he didn’t seem to know what we were talking about. He called one of the firefighters and put it all together, and let us inside. He showed us around — showers, kitchen, laundry, TV, and where we could set up our tent for the night. Unfortunately, it started drizzling right when we pitched our tent! Luckily, the staff was nice enough to give us two cots to sleep on in the station between two trucks! We did a final round of bike maintenance, met the whole fire fightin’ crew, and hit the hay. We’re hoping for a good night’s rest, but who knows how many calls they’ll get throughout the night!
October 20, 2015
Starting Point: Lake Havasu City, AZ
Destination: Twentynine Palms, CA
Today’s Miles Biked: 45
Total Miles Biked: 2,491