Day 87: John The Vegan Chef

We woke up and were feeling pretty exhausted, but knew it was time to get going. Our Warmshowers host, John, is also vegan, and he had texted us asking if we could arrive by 6 PM in time for dinner. So that meant we better head out as soon as possible, because there was no way we were missing a home cooked vegan meal after a long day of biking.

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Goodbye Rancho Mirage!

We had some sourdough bread that wasn’t so good, but we toasted it and dipped it in olive oil, and suddenly it was a whole lot better! We said goodbye to the wonderful house, set the alarm and left the key as instructed. Thank you to Aunt Ruthie for setting us up to stay at her friends’ house! Tt was perfect. We began cycling and soon realized that we had gone about 20 miles off of our route to get to Rancho Mirage, so we had about 20 miles extra ahead of us. We were bummed for only about half a second because the house we got to stay at was so worth it!

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Wind energy!

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Solar panels too!

We climbed lots of hills, but it was incredible because we were surrounded by solar panels and wind turbines the whole time. The wind turbines towered above us and seemed to grow in size the closer we got! Rows of solar panels were beside us as well and during a windy and hot day, we were thankful that those elements were being translated into efficient energy.

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Biker chick

Google Maps instructed us to get on I-10 for a bit and we weren’t as nervous as maybe we should have been. After all, we did bike across Arizona on I-40. But I-10 was different. The shoulder wasn’t as wide and there were no rumble strips in sight. We biked cautiously, wearing our reflective vests of course, and tried to stay as far to the right as possible. We got off at the nearest rest stop to refill our water bottles and take a break. The construction workers there were extremely excited about our journey and about how close we were to our destination. They took us to their water supply and let us use their filtered water. After some handshakes and well wishes, we took the ramp back onto the freeway.

The GPS directed us off the freeway and onto the I-10 alternate for about 6 miles, which runs parallel along side the main highway. And we hit some of the worst headwinds of our trip. Not only were we gradually climbing, but the wind was causing us to go probably somewhere around 4 miles an hour. If that. The wind was relentless and brought out a bit of frustration. We pushed ourselves to keep going. The only way around is through.

Then, we ran (or should we say biked?) into a predicament. The next stretch of the ride wasn’t possible. We had three options that weren’t actually options. A dirt road (no way Jose!), the freeway (which wasn’t really legal to bike on in that area), or through an Indian reservation (that doesn’t allow bikers on their roads). We immediately knocked the dirt road option off the list. Next, we called highway patrol to see if we could bike on the freeway. They said we could for that stretch, but looking at it, we were freaked out. It seemed as if the traffic was flying faster than ever, and safety first, always. So, we knocked that off that list. Lastly, we called the municipality of the Indian Reservation, and they responded by saying we couldn’t pass through. So, that too, was knocked off the list.

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Our lives. What will we do without you?

What a strange situation. We had no way to get from point A to point B. This had never happened before to this extent. So it was time to hitchhike. And by now we really are pros. We asked many cars at a few different gas stations, and finally Victor drove back to help us out! He wasn’t headed west, but detoured a few miles to get us through the stretch of biking that had no route for us! Thank you Victor. He is a biker too and loved hearing about our trip and we heard all about his work in regards to water irrigation. Soon enough, Victor dropped us off in Beaumont! Jaime found a vegan burrito in about three seconds, and after refueling our engines, we worked our way to John’s house. Thanks to Victor we were going to make it in time for John’s unbelievable vegan dinner!

We biked through some cute neighborhoods, and ended up on a road that took us on a gradual downhill for about 7 miles. It even had a bike lane! It was quite the contrast to the not-so-cycling-friendly earlier roads. We biked past lemon and orange orchards, wanting to stop so badly and pick some, but knowing that wouldn’t be right. So we admired from afar as we stopped at stoplights and soon turned onto a steep 1 mile climb to John’s house. We went as slowly as we could, and most of the cars patiently waited behind us (we did have one or two yell, honk, and zoom off around us), and finally we made it to the top! This may have even been our last steep climb of the trip. Let’s hope!

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John, Mike & Gay

John had out crackers, hummus, and guacamole for us! All of the biking essentials! We showered and soon, his college friends Mike and Gay came over for dinner. John humbly presented us with a top feast of our trip. A vegan roast filled with tofu, lentils, walnuts, zuchinni and more, brown sugar spaghetti squash, salad with fresh vegetables, and mango sorbet with berries galore. This whole trip, we have had an ongoing joke of a vegan chef appearing and cooking us an fantastical meal…JOHN! YOU WERE OUR VEGAN CHEF! Thank you! Mike and Gay are vegetarian and they have a daughter who is vegan, so we spent much of dinner talking about what made us all transition to a plant-based diets and our different related experiences! After dinner, we were completely exhausted, discussed our route for the next day, had some emotional conversations, and soon cuddled up (by cuddled, we mean that Naomi hogged the whole bed), and got some shut eye! Two days left. WHOA!

October 22, 2015

Starting Point: Rancho Mirage, CA

Destination: Redlands, CA

Today’s Miles Biked: 48

Total Miles Biked: 2,603

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