Catching up in Photos: Sacramento to Gold Country
Yes. We’re still having fun despite some money woes. Here are some photos and captions to catch you all up!
We try to see Willie Weir at the REI in Sacramento. Despite pleading our case, that we were in the middle of our tour, that we’ve ridden 2000 miles to see Willie, we weren’t allowed in because the room was full. Good for Willie, bad for us. We were really hoping to see him after Kent Petersen told us that he was such an entertaining speaker. Apparently they had sold out the tickets (although there was nothing on the REI site about buying tickets, about booking in advance or about the threat of the event filling to capacity).
The upside, I suppose is that we had rolled our touring rigs into the store (didn’t have locks with us) and Laura fielded touring questions from others that didn’t get in.
Our great hosts, Logan and Tammy, rode with us from Sacramento to Folsom. We rode 30+ miles along the American River Trail, a beautiful meandering bicycle trail. The trees all along the trail were just starting to change colors.
We learned some great lessons from Logan and Tammy. Tammy runs a website called RowdyKittens that focuses on Tiny Houses and happiness through simple living. They both did a recent purge of all their stuff and got their personal possessions down to 100 things.
We spend a night close to Folsom (not the penitentiary) and hit the road towards gold country. We eventually get on the 49, a windy highway that skirts the foothills of the Sierras. It proves to be a lot hillier than we expected but beautiful!
We camp at Comanche Lake, an unexpectedly beautiful rest stop.
As we ride in I notice a strange pulsing in my rear wheel when I brake. On the morning we were to leave the lake, I take a closer look and find that my rim is toast. There’s a crack and it is working its way all around the wheel. I make a quick call to Rivendell and Rich, their wheel builder pulls out all the stops and builds a wheel and overnights it to the campsite!
More beautiful riding. More hills. I don’t think I’ve gotten any faster, just more tolerance for pain.
We pass through cities with familiar names. Angels Camp. El Dorado. Calaveras County. This is where gold was discovered. This is where some of Mark Twain’s stories took place. We feel like we are riding through California’s history – only with more traffic, no shoulders and logging trucks.
The camping is empty. The camping is superb. It is off season, so whatever craziness that goes on during the summer is gone. In the camp loops that are closed, we see families of deer reclaiming their space.
All the lake/reservoirs seem dreadfully low. The earth needs rain.
Tonight we are in Sonora, a cute touristy town with too much traffic for its small roads. The storefronts look like they are from the old west. It’s a mix of barbershops and boutiques, old meets new, a strange pastiche of styles, stores and people.
We meet Jon, the owner of JTCyclies, THE bicycle store in Sonora (and for most of the surrounding area for that matter). He has run his shop from the same space for the last 15 years. It is his worse year. Sales are down, the economy is bad. He is now the only employee. Despite this, he’s friendly and sounds interested in our trip and he gives us the good news that 49 gets better as we head south.
That’s the story thus far. Tomorrow, we are going to be staying with the owner of Carousel Design Works in Sonora – a connection that was made possible by one of our readers (thank you!). Thank you also to everyone that has been so generous with opening their homes to us and helping us along the way.
It has been a remarkable trip thus far, not only the riding, but meeting all the wonderful people there are in this big wide world of ours. It fills us with hope. And your comments, dear readers, push us onward. When we have bad days, when we are down and out, your comments and emails keep us going! We feel like there are hundreds of little angels watching over our backs, cheering for us over every hill and that has made a real huge difference since we’ve left the coast into less bicycle traveled territory.
The roads are long with nary a bicycle in site, the campsites are empty and when we crawl into our sleeping bags for the night we feel the vastness of everything around us. And it is at those lonely times when we are so far away from family and friends that your words mean most.
Today is our 100th day on the road.
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