DAY 21: September 15, 2011 (Thursday)
Kramer’s Junction, California to southern Apple Valley, California: 52 miles (980 total for journey)
Began pedaling once more, for the final day of this three-state journey, as the sun rose over the Mojave Desert. Highway 395 has some definite shoulder issues on this stretch south of Kramer’s Junction as far as cyclists are concerned. It is rough, cracked, potholed, and nonexistent in places. The cracks are frequent enough to set up an annoyingly regular bumping of the trike … really glad I have rear suspension, which definitely helped. Occasional rocks that had rolled down from road cuts forced me into traffic lane now and then, but fortunately traffic was not too insane this day. Interestingly, all the way from Susanville in northern California, US 395 has great shoulders most of the way. This section today has not been upgraded by the highway department for decades. Oh well, I’m almost there, so I can withstand anything at this point, right? By the time I reached Adelanto, Calfornia, where I turn off 395, I was so bushed and wiped out in the high desert heat, I began to wonder if I could actually finish the trip. My blood sugar was low, I had not slept well last night, my water supply was running out, and the bottoms of my feet were experiencing hot spots from pushing the pace as I had been doing here towards the end. This ride was predominantly uphill, another reason for my severely diminished physical and mental state – no trees or shade! The fact that the road this morning was the roughest surface on the entire trip made matters miserably bumpy … so close, and yet so seemingly far to the end. Pulling into a Chevron mini-mart, half dead, I used their bathroom, got some ice cold juice and other food, chatted politely with one of the the store clerks who was curious, and quickly excused myself to the searing outside temperatures and pushed my Q around back into the hot shade, but shade nonetheless, and tolerable compared to the sun. I sat on the cool concrete curb with my trike panniers right in front of me, and ate and drank, and ate and drank. Not in any hurry because I was still in recuperation mode, I even brushed my teeth, as no one was around the back of the store by the vacant desert lot. I turned off US 395 finally, having made it my home for days now, at Air Expressway, a super wide road in perfect condition that goes past the Air Force base and airport for the Victor Valley. The fine paved surface partially made up for the increasing heat that sucked water out of me practically faster than I could drink it! Once I hit the Apple Valley Town Limit sign, I still had miles to go, as mama and sis live in the far southern portion of the town of 75,000 inhabitants. My focus remained on arriving at their house, full of cool drinks, lots of food, refreshing showers, and a soft bed. I was spinning and grinning, churning out each mile so slowly I wondered when it would end. The good news was that portions of the ride were slightly downhill, but even then, I was sufficiently beat that I couldn’t maintain my high gears as I normally would. At long last, I pulled into their driveway at 2:30 PM, with my sister coming out to offer me a cold full bottle of Fiji Natural Artesian Water, and my mom snapping photos of my pathetic bones barely propelling my ICE Q slowly up her short driveway with a little incline. It was over! I had made it. My Achilles tendons were normal. I would live to trike again!
Three wheels, three states, three weeks! The trike gods were with me on this one! From cool foggy coast to hot arid cactus … thanks to Glen and Gary for their valiant participation and company on the journey.