First Day of Driving – Bike for the Cure XX – Grand Junction CO to Salina UT – May 25
“California, here I come
Right back where I started from
Where bowers of flowers bloom in the Spring
Each morning at dawning
Birdies sing and everything
A sun kissed miss said, ‘Don’t be late!’
That’s why I can hardly wait
Open up that Golden Gate!
California, here I come!”
This is actually the chorus of the song, written in 1924 by Buddy DeSylva and Joseph Meyer, and made famous by Al Jolson’s recording in the late 1940’s.
As ill-prepared as I’ve ever been for a “Bike for the Cure” ride, spirits are high as we undertake the 20th ride to benefit Huntington’s Disease research and family services, and raise awareness of this tragic disease.
Ron and I drove separately out to Charlotte’s house so he could help pack and then return home. Got there at 3:00 pm. She had everythig ready, so it didn’t take long to load up. Saying goodbye to Ron was as hard as ever; he has always been such a great support for my endeavors.
This first day is a “short” one, both in time and mileage. The first leg of the journey is from Grand Junction CO to Green River UT, all on the I-70 transcontinental highway. It runs from Cove Fort UT to Baltimore MD. Leaving GJ, we pass through Fruita, now a famous destination for mountain biking. At the CO-UT border we see a sign saying “Leaving Colorful Colorado” and one that welcomes us to Utah.
Green River is a town alongside the I-70. The East side of town has new motels and other structures, more “life” than when we stayed at the Green River Bible Church in 2012 on the way to Las Vegas. Still many boarded up buildings, etc. Downtown is maybe one mile long parallel to the I-70. It’s famous for growing melons in the summer.
Green River to Salina is 110 miles of highway without any services close to the Interstate. It opened in 1970 as the longest stretch of Interstate with no services. It was build over a completely new route (newest one since the Alaska Highway). Most exits are rest areas, brake check areas, and runaway truck route with few traditional highway exits. We passed through the San Rafael Swell Area, with redrock formations beautiful enough to be a National Park. Then the scenery changed to high desert with scrub bushes. Went over a couple of passes, the highest being the Salina Summit is 7923 ft in alttude.
Salina is in Sevier County UT, population 2489 in 2010. It was first settled in 1864 by pioneers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). It is high desert, with less than 8″ of rain per year.
We are staying in the Econo Lodge. It’s the Memorial Day Weekend so we got our reservation almost 6 weeks ago. Older motel, no elevator to 2nd floor.
Ate dinner out of the cooler.
Driving distance was 211 miles. Much longer day tomorrow, close to 500.
With love from the road, in Central Utah,
Second Day of Driving – Bike for the Cure XX – Salina UT to Reno NV – May 26
Up early for complimentary breakfast before taking off for the longer day. Filled up gas tank on the van for the drive.
Delta UT is in Millard County, population 3436. During WWII, it housed a relocation center nearby, in Tipton. Topaz Relocation Center housed thousands of Japanese Americans from the San Francisco Bay area. What a blight on our nation’s history.
Delta UT to Ely NV is 162 miles, with only two gas stations in between.
We are now on US Hwy 50, which was build mostly along the Route of the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway in the US. That was in 1913. US 50 runs from Sacramento CA to Ocean City MD, 3074 miles. US 50 serves no major population centers in UT. It was created in 1926 as part of the original US Highway system. It’s pretty desolate and remote.
Ely is the first city on Hwy 50 going West into NV. We will drive 408 miles across NV, with 17 mountain passes breaking up the desert of the Great Basin. There are some hairpin turns through pine forests and up to 7500 ft elevtion. In 1986 Hwy 50 crossing Nevada was deemed “The Lonliest Road in America” by LIFE Magazine. Very apt.
Ely to Austin is 134 miles. Eureka (about half-way betwen Ely and Austin) bills itself as the “Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Hwy in America.” Austin to Fallon is 110 miles and part of the original Pony Express Route.
Fallon to Reno was only about 60 miles. In Reno, we are staying overnight in the apartment complex where Mary Ann and Sherri’s mom Marge Ellison lives. First we went to Mary Ann’s daughter Leslie’s home. Mary Ann prepared some stuffed pasta shells casserole and a nice salad. Yummy! Her daughter Shannon was there to take over babysitting duties when Mary Ann leaves with us tomorrow for the ride. Leslie and her husband Matt were vacationing in the Dominican Republic, I think.
Went over to Marge’s senior living complex. Vistited with her for awhile. Hadn’t seen her in quite a few years. Lovely lady.
Lovely guest apartment.
Today we drove across almost the full width of Nevada, the 7th largest US State. Only two major cities, Reno and Las Vegas. Tomorrow we will finish the last few miles over Donner Pass on the I-80.
With love from the road,
Bike for the Cure XX – Third day driving – Reno NV to Sausalito CA – May 27
Got to “sleep” in a bit, since we only have about a four hour drive from Reno to Sausalito. It had been pre-arranged for Sherri, Mary Ann (MA), Shannon, MA’s darling 4 and 2 year old granddaughters Madeline and Eleanor, Marge (Sherri/MA’s mom), Charlotte, and me to meet for breakfast in the dining room at Marge’s senior living complex. How special for Marge to have four generations there. Everyone enjoyed their meals. The little girls are pretty good eaters, too.
About 10:00 am everyone headed in different directions. Mary Ann home to Truckee to get her stuff together, Sherri to pack her stuff in Marge’s room (where she had spent the night), Shannon back to Leslie’s with the little girls, and Charlotte and me to Best Buy. My Samsung Tablet “died” (internal battery kaput) so I had to buy another one. Not what I was planning to do, but really no choice if I was going to fulfill my promise of Daily Messages for everyone who wants them. The “Geeks” at Best Buy were respectful and helpful, and we got the new tablet set up. It set us back about an hour or more. Then we had to go back to Marge’s, pick up Sherri, drop Charlotte off at Leslie’s to send her e-mail messages, back to Marge’s former home to pick up Sherri’s bike, then back to Leslie’s to pick up Mary Ann‘s bike, the van cooler, and a bike rack for Sherri and Mary Ann to use on the rental car which they will drive back to Reno from LA. By then we lost another hour or more.
Filled up the van (19 gallons for $72) – got 27 mpg which is very good for a fully loaded van. With Sherri driving, we got on the I-80 headed West out of Reno into CA, to Truckee, where Mary Ann lives. She and her husband Scott live in a beautiful “cabin” among lots of trees. After a brief house “tour,” we got Mary Ann‘s stuff loaded, and the 4 of us left for the SF Bay area, with Mary Ann driving, since she is very familiar with the area.
It was downhill most of the way. Beautiful scenery. CA is a beautiful state for sure.
Wended our way to Sausalito with Google Maps. Staying in a Presbyterian Church on a steep hill. Pastor Paul met us there, and made us feel at welcome. He got gourmet pizza and salad for us. He and his partner Joey and their daughter Ellie ate dinner with us. Lots of interesting conversation. Joey was so helpful with showing me how to work my new tablet. God sent just the right person.
Sausalito is in Marin County, at the Northern edge of the Golden Gate Bridge. The name Sausalito comes from the Spanish word “sauzalito” meaning a small willow grove. It has both steep wooded hillsides and shoreline tidal flats. It is a wealthy area; per capita income is $81,040. There is a houseboat community. Many of the homeless people are what locals call “anchor outs.” They live on a boat without a dock. Although it isn’t mentioned by name, the 1967 song “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” sung by Otis Redding, of R & B fame.
Sherri, Mary Ann, and Pastor Paul drove to the Northern Terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge to scope things out. It was determined that the best thing to do was to load everyone and everything up, drive to the terminus and over the GG Bridge, park the van, and everyone could ride over the GG Bridge twice (South to North, turn around, then ride back North to South). So now we have a plan for the morning.
Before Pastor Paul left he said a lovely prayer with us. He and Joey have been fabulous hosts in a great overnight spot.
Not sure of today’s mileage; I have misplaced my little notebook with that information.
With love and anticipation of the start of Bike for the Cure XX,
Bike for the Cure XX – Day 1 – Sausalito to Half Moon Bay CA – May 28
An iconic start to the day – riding across the famed Golden Gate Bridge. A little background information. It is 8981 feet long (about 1 1/2 miles). Construction started in January 1933 (during “the Great Depression” across the strait connecting the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It is considered by the American Society of Civil Engineers to be a “Wonder of the Modern Wòrld.” It opened on May 27, 1937 (81 years ago, almost to the day). At the time, it was the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world, the main span is 4200 ft, and it is 746 ft tall. The color is “orange vermillion” and also called “international orange.” It has a moveable median barier which is moved during the day. There are 4 Southbound lanes in the morning, and 4 Northbound lanes in the afternoons of the work week. Off-peak and weekends there are 3 lanes in each direction. Speed limit is 45 mph. The main walkway is on the East side, accommodating bicycles and pedestrians.
San Francisco is both a city and a county, at the tip of a peninsula. It is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. It encompasses 47 square miles (approximately 7 miles by 7 miles) and is the 13th most populous US City. It is the 7th highest income county in the US, with an average of $110,418 per capita.
San Francisco was established in 1776 by the Spanish. The Gold Rush in 1849 lead to CA becoming a state in 1850. It was the site of the 1906 major earthquake, and also in 1945 the birthplace of the U.N. It is the “center of liberalism in the US.” It houses the headquarters of Levi Strauss, GAP, Fitbit, Dropbox, Reddit, Square Inc., Dolby, Airbnb, Weebly, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Mozilla, Wikimedia, Craigslist, and the Weather Underground. Nicknames include “City by the Bay, Frisco, SF, San Fran, the City, and Fog City.” There are more than 50 hills, and of course the iconic Cable Cars and Lombard Street. SF is the 2nd most densely populated major American City, after New York City.
After breakfast, got everything re-loaded in the van. Changed the positioning of the cooler to the cargo area so that more space was available for two to sit on the second seat in the van. Mary Ann skilfully backed the van up and drove up a super steep hill where we loaded 3 bikes onto the rack. She drove again, about 2 miles to the Golden Gate Bridge, and crossed from Sausalito to SF. Parked in a parking lot adjacent to the Bridge South Terminus. All four of us rode across the partially shrouded GG Bridge, on the dedicated bike path on the West side of the bridge lanes. After a few photos, we turned around and rode back across.
Sherri, Mary Ann and Charlotte continued to ride towards the Great Highway / Route 34 that runs adjacent to the ocean. I drove the van in a slightly different route. Tried to follow the turn by turn routing in the book “Bicycling the Pacific Coast” and the Adventure Cycling map. At one point Hwy 34 merges with State Route 1 , about 14 miles into the ride. Continued South towards Pacifica and Devil’s Slide. Finally met up amidst a huge traffic jam in the parking lot of one of the beaches. Ate lunch from the cooler before Sherri/Mary Ann kept riding over the Devil’s Slide area (Marie and Charlotte were driving in the van.)
Devil’s Slide is so named because of all the erosion. In 2013 the Tom Lantos Tunnels were completed to avoid the erosion plagued area. A trail for bicyclists and pedestrians was created in 2014 using a section of road formerly used by State Route 1. Traffic was slow-moving and bumper to bumper. Montara has a lighthouse built in 1875, and had the 2nd paved highway in CA (Pedro Mountain Road) built in 1914. State Route 1 replaced that in 1937 connecting Montara and San Francisco.
Destination Half Moon Bay, in San Mateo County now. Marie started riding again from near the Half Moon Bay airport, on the California Coast Trail, which parallels State Hwy 1. Charlotte drove the van from there to the Coastside Lutheran Church. Half Moon Bay is the home of the world famous “Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival.” It is 25 miles south of SF. It used to house GoPro cameras (started in 2002) before they moved to San Mateo in 2012, and also Odwalla (fruit drink) whiçh relocated its hdqt to Dinuba CA in 2013.
The President of the Congregation, Walter Rau, met us and got us set up here for the rest of the afternoon and evening. He and his teen-aged daughter had just returned from downhill skiing at Squaw Valley. One of the parishoners (Susan) brought us some drinks and some canned almonds. Sherri and Mary Ann accepted Susan’s invitation to soak in her hot tub, so they followed her back to her house (using the van). They reported terrible traffic – 45 minutes to go 7 miles one way.
Glad to have the first day of biking under our belts. None of us has done much longer distance training so it is a stretch.
Total miles today was +/- 50. Those that rode the whole way had cyclometer issues so no one knew exactly how many miles.
Beautiful weather in the 60’s, sunny, no appreciable wind.
With love from the lovely seaside town of Half Moon Bay
Be sure to check the pictures page to see our riders.