Descending from Cajon

The night before I decided to do a load of laundry, which consisted of my shirt, shorts, and bib. It had been three days of wearing the same clothes and I thought it warranted a cleaning. To wash the clothes I fill the bathtub with warm water and dump in a bottle of shampoo. After swishing it around a bit and giving it a scrub with the soap bar the bath water turned a mucky brown. Drain the tub, rinse the clothes, soak, and rinse again. Hang dry in front of the the A/C.

The closest bike shop didn’t open until 10 AM and was only a few miles away, so I got a late start. Studying the area the night before I came across the California Earth Institute. Not open at the time, but I got a glimpse of some of their buildings from the road.

The first bike shop did not have my spokes, but recommended another bike shop in Victorville. This one, I called first before going there. It was several more miles down the road, but in the general direction that I was heading. I got there about 1:00 and the owner said her mechanic just went to lunch and probably wouldn’t get my wheel fixed until 2:30. Not much I could do but wait. She recommended a burger place in the same shopping center and described it as “the bomb”. Burger joints and me don’t usually get along, but this place truly was “the bomb”. I got a handmade veggie burger with a portabella mushroom and avocado slices, and a full plate of breaded zucchini. I could only finish the burger and wrapped the zucchini up for dinner. I stayed there blogging until nearly three when the shop text me.

Forty miles to go and it was nearly 4:00 before I got on my way. It was mostly downhill with the occasional mound to cross and I had a strong Westerly helping me along. This section of Route 66 was full of contrasts in means. I saw two plywood and tin settlements that reminded me of the temporary housing near construction sights in China. Other properties had two story victorian homes and lush green lawns. I got caught by a tourist trap not too far down the road.

The highlight was the Bottle Tree Ranch. I got to speak to the owner and artist who had been there for 17 years. He said that he and his father would collect bottles and scrap along the route. When his father passed he inherited the collection and started the Bottle Tree Ranch. As I stood there talking to him I noticed a humming bird zipping around and he said he had just put out fresh water in their feeders and they were hungry. He also said if I stood real still I might catch a photo. I crept to where a few feeders hung, ready with the camera to catch the birds. Four sometimes six were playing around the feeders, but mostly on the other side, until a pretty red male dared to come to my side. He didn’t seem to mind me standing just feet from him.

It was a cool 70 degrees, but the sun was mostly on my left side and I could feel the burn on my skin. I stopped a couple times to re-apply sunscreen and finally decided to use the UV sleeves I brought: one on my left arm and one on my left leg. I must have looked odd to the occassional car going by.

Between the wind and descending elevation I kept an easy 15-18 mph pace. I stayed in my 9th gear for most of the day. Besides the few mounds, which I sweated up, I only had to pedal every minute or so. That was mostly just to keep my legs from cramping up from sitting too long.

I flew into Barstow about 7:30 and as soon as I crossed the city line I was stopped by a cop. I must have been speeding, because that was the only law I could have broken. The cop just wanted to make sure I wasn’t lost and wanted to check out the touring rig. He was a fellow cyclist! He said he would ride West into the wind and then let it carry him back home. Leaving him it was just a matter of finding a place to stay for the night.

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