Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wind and Traffic

We woke up super early at our hotel and took full advantage of the complimentary breakfast: omelettes, pancakes, hash browns, fruit, yogurt, waffles, and more!  When we left around 7, the sun was already high in the sky.  We rode through the suburban tangle of Santa Clarita, finding bike paths here and there until reaching the outskirts.  We picked up Soledad Canyon Road, which took us through a narrow canyon with steep walls and interesting rock formations.  There wasn't much traffic; in fact, it was a great road for biking.  Unfortunately, from the moment we left in the morning, the east wind was blasting: a constant headwind. We battled against the wind for hours, going slowly uphill.  It was physically and mentally challenging riding.

Finally we reached the small town of Acton, which isn't significant except that we decided to stop for lunch.  It was cool in the shade, and we enjoyed our hummus, cheese, cucumber, and avocado tortillas before warming up in the sun.  Back on the road, headwind still  roaring, we pushed uphill.  The riding was tough, but we kept at it.  Then, all of a sudden, the shoulder disappeared.  We were on the Sierra Highway at this point, a busy road with a lot of truck traffic.  Not a good road to bike, let alone without a shoulder.  We were turning off in a mile anyway, so we walked our bikes in the gravel shoulder until reaching our turn.  The California Aqueduct, a shimmering blue ribbon in this parched landscape, greeted us at our new road.

Finally we were on a smaller road.  The wind had let up somewhat, and we left the traffic behind, making for better evening riding.  We rode a little ways on some back roads then camped off the road among the desert creosote and sagebrush.  Because of daylight savings time, darkness fell around 5:30, and we ate dinner under an incredible sunset.

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