Donnerstag, 21. Juli 2016

Day 89 - We. Did. It.

On July 17th at 4pm local time, after 89 days, 6900km (4,312miles) and 387 hours on the bike, we finally arrived in San Francisco! It was very cold, cloudy and windy but we didn't care about he weather for once. We just celebrated our arrival and the view (more or less).

The last days we discovered the city and just relaxed and we did all the tourist stuff you have to see when you are in San Francisco. At the moment we stay at a friends place. We met him on the route in Utah (Thank you very much Leslie and Paul!!!). Now we have some more days left before our journey is over and we have to go back to Germany again. We think we just hang out on the beach and enjoy our success.

Hints for cyclists:
- Do a 6900km bycicle ride. Feels good afterwards...
- Hwy 1, scenic street along the coast
- Golden Gate Bridge ;)

- Total mileage: 6900km (4,312 miles)
- Days in total: 89
- Days off: 15
- Daily average: 92km (58 miles)
- Hours on bike: 387 h
- Crosses states: 9
- Highest point on route: 3448m (11,312 ft), Monarch Pass, Colorado
- Flat tires: Lukas: 0, Marian: 3
- New sunglasses: Lukas: 1, Marian: 4

Our destination since mid april: The Golden Gate Bridge
We. Did. It. 
The acutal weather on july 17th whem we arrived. Windy as hell!
But in a good mood, though
Pacific ocean on stinson beach. We dipped our feet in. It was a bit chilly...
But in a good mood, though ;)

Donnerstag, 14. Juli 2016

Day 84 - I love Lake Tahoe

Meanwhile we are in California, our last state on our trip. We still are way ahead of schedule and last time we spoke about doing some off route trips. So we did. We left the official 'Western Express' route in Carson City and took our own route to the famous Lake Tahoe. Unfortunatelly there was the Sierra Nevada mountain range waiting for us so we had to do a big steep climb and a little bit of downhill before we reached the lake. What we didn't know so far: It was not our last time crossing this mountain on this street...

But first of all we reached South Lake Tahoe and it was crowded like hell. It was one day before independece day and every single motel was fully booked. We prefered to stay in our tent anyway, but the campgrounds were crowded as well. We didn't have any reservations so we just tried to get a spot somewhere. The first campground had a sign saying "full" on the entrance but we pretended to be illiterate... And after some conversation with the friendly staff we got a so called 'oops-site', which means that something went wrong in the booking system and acutally this site is still empty. Lucky us! So we set up our tent under pine trees next to the lake. Unfortunatelly this place was just for one night so we had to move on the campground the next day. But in the end we spent four nights there.
The next day we met four PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) hikers, two americans and two german guys. So we had some beers and discussed german and american stereotypes all day long. In the evening there was a big firework at the lake, well actually there were three more of them, but they were so far away we could barely see them... after the firework one of the german hikers got his pocket trumpet and played the american national anthem. Everyone on the crowded beach was surprised. No one moved anymore, everyone just listened. When he finished the anthem the crowd went totally nuts and cheered and applauded him. What a performace! When a lady next to us smalltalked to us she noticed that we have an accent and she asked if we even were americans. We replied with 'germans' and her reaction was like: '...wait, Whaaaaat?' Looks like the germans rocked the independence day at Lake Tahoe...

After a couple of nice days at the lake we decided to go further south to get to the Yosemite National Park. So once again, we had to climb the mountain on the street we came from, but this time it was a short climb and a very nice and long 2000ft downhill. It took us two days to reach Lee Vining, a little town on the east gate entrance of the Yosemite. We were almost there, but to get into the National Park we had to climb once again. This time our enemy to defeat was the Tioga Pass. A very steep 3200ft (970m) and 10 mile long climb, with very heavy traffic and very heavy winds. If we were in a videogame, Tioga Pass would have been our final boss before we achieved the holy grail of the Golden Gate Bridge... We had to fight, but we did it. Like every other pass before... And then: The Yosemite. Absolutely stunning, breathtaking and impressive... how many tourists there are! By the way: the landscape was nice as well. ;) But seriously, the Yosemite Park was one of our highlights of our trip. A beautiful landscape, rivers, mountains, wildlife and lakes. Almost no picture can capture this place. We stayed two nights and three days in the park before we decided to carry on. We'll definetly come back to this place some day...

Now we are in the big valley (Great valley? Grand valley?) between the sierras and the pacific coast. We are close to big cities which means that we have heavy traffic all day long. And it is very hot again. In the mountains it was nice and cool, but down here we have three digit weather again... But we are not in a hurry so we take our time. Tomorrow we'll only do about 35 miles to get to a nice campground. So our estimated arrival in San Francisco will be: Monday, July 18th.

By the way: Since we started our trip in mid april, we sang a song from the band 'A' almost every morning when we got on our bikes because the refrain says 'here we go again...' This is a song about the Lake Tahoe and it was in our head the whole trip. This is why we dedicated this post to this song. :)
Here we go again

Lukas and Marian

Hints for cyclists:
- Lake Tahoe, NV/CA - Always worth a visit
- Mono Market, Lee Vining, CA - Best chocolate croissants since france!
- Yosemite National Park, CA - A must see when you are at the west coast area!!! (Make sure you have campground reservations)

Total mileage so far: 6596 km (4096 miles)

Lake Tahoe sunset
The Mono Lake near Lee Vining
A break on the Tioga pass road
One of many lakes in Yosemite
Yosemite landcape
Our place for the night.
Lukas prefered the bear proof tent
Doing the dishes
The Yosemite Park with the 'half dome' in the background
Our shower for the day
Unfortunatelly we didn't see any bears.
Another beautiful postcard scene
A very rare moment of an empty street in the national park!
Down in the valley it is a totally different landscape again
Different behaviour ;)
And different animals

Freitag, 1. Juli 2016

Day 73 - Blinded by the light

Well, first off all we have to admit that after our love letter to Utah our last day before entering Nevada was one of the worst days on our trip...

We stayed in Milford where we met three cyclists going east and we all spent the night together in the city park. As we arrived Marian noticed he had a flat tire on his back wheel, so he had a perfect activity for the afternoon. Next to the park there was a church celebrating the bible school summer camp and after a short while we got invited for hotdogs and drinks. We had some interesting conversations and after the pastor showed us the curch we decided to have an early night. The next day we had to do a 85 mile (136km) stage without any services (no water, no towns, no houses, no nothing) and because it gets really hot immediately after the sunrise we decided to do a night ride. So we didn't set up our tent for the short night but slept on the benches in our sleepingbags. Our day started at 1.30am and we've been on the road at 2am. The first miles were easy, we were in a good mood, even if we startet with a long climb to the first pass. The temperature were in the 50s and around 5am it even got colder so we had to put on our jackets. On the long downhills we were freezing like hell. After the second pass we had heavy headwind and it didn't stop until we reached our destiation Baker. It took us almost 1,5 hours to climb the third pass, because of the headwind and the uphill we only went 6 miles an hour (10kmh). It seemed to be an endless day... As we reached Baker after 4260ft (1300m) altitude difference (uphill) we got into a motel and went to bed immediately. Thanks Utah for another, well... unforgetable day!

The next day we acutally realized the first time that we were in Nevada now. We were told it is the state with the most mountain ranges and we were proofed right. This state just consists of mountains and valleys. We did three of those passes on our route the day before, and we had 13 more to go. Once you are on the summit and drive into the next valley you can see the the road for miles and miles. Those valleys seem to be endless and you dont have any scale for proportions. So you just keep on pedaling until you reach the part of the valley which is almost flat until you have to climb onto the next pass. But until you reach the part where you can see and feel the uphill you first have to deal with those 'invisible climbs'. You dont see them, you just wonder why you are going slower and slower and why it is so exhausting. And just if you turn around you see that you climbed...

So this is how a normal day in Nevada looks like for us. Get up early, defeat the mountains, enjoy the downhill, defeat the heat and go to sleep. Then repeat. Most of the times we didn't have any service stops along the road, so we had to carry water for the whole day. But we prepared ourselfes very good and we didn't have any problems. Today on our ride to Fallon the landscape really was dessertlike. No trees, no bushes but even a big dune called 'sand mountain'. We passed a couple of army bases (No, not Area 51, and no, we didn't see any UFOs) and not far away from our route they used to test atomic bombs in the underground. Scary!

Now we are very close to California and actually we are way faster then expected. So we think about doing some off route trips the next days. We are now heading to Lake Tahoe where we'd like to spend the weekend and celebrate the 4th of july on monday. And by the way: if you wonder why we called this post 'blinded by the light'... well we had a lot of sun and a song we couldn't get out of our heads anymore:  Click

Hints for cyclists: 
- Cozy Mountain Motel, Austin, NV (very nice owner!)
- Middelgate Station, Middelgate, NV (delicious burgers!)
- Sand Mountain, on Hwy 50 between Middelgate and Fallon, NV

Total mileage: 5831km (3644 miles)

Welcome to Nevada. 13 miles (22km) to the 'end' of the road. At least one hour of pedaling...
A break on the summit of our second pass right before sunrise.
And one hour later it started to get hot.
Second flat tire on Marians bike within 72 hours. It was like the tubes expired after 5400km...
Problem fixed.
Entertainment on lonely roads.
It's the wild wild west...
...and the dry dry west.
Look! A curve! Better buckle up!
Was this an UFO behind us?
Oh, just a car.
Yay, civilisation!
The sand mountain
#selfie #nevada #middleofnowhere
A little visitor

Donnerstag, 23. Juni 2016

Day 65 - Utah: Life Elevated

Dear Utah, we didn't expect you to be so diverse. We just expected red, dry and hot desserts, but you gave us mountains, rivers, green meadows, canyons, lakes and so much more.

When we met the first time, you met our expectations. Very long, dry and hot stages without any water supply, lots of sunshine and incredible heat. It was a difficult start, but after a while we realized that you are more than this. We cycled through your stunning red canyons, impressive barren moon landscapes, enjoyed your green woods and your refreshing lakes and creeks. Sometimes we had our problems with your steep climbs you provided us, like the 51 km uphill part yesterday, but you always rewarded us with beautiful overlooks and a nice downhill. We slept under your starry sky, far away from civilization and your bright fullmoon was our torch in the night. You always woke us up with a beautiful sunrise and nice cool temperatures to give us a pleasant start in the day. 

We enjoyed your delicious bakeries and restaurants like the 'lickity split' in Blanding or the 'bear paw' at the Panguitch Lake which gave us power to discover more of you. And on your roads we met lots of other likeminded cyclists like Leslie, a nice scottish gentleman from San Francisco, who accompanied us for a few days. We had a great time together cycling, talking, drinking beer and playing hawaiian mow-mow.

Now we can enjoy two more days with you. We hope these last days are going to be as interesting as the days before and that your brother Nevada will be nice to us as well.

Yours, Lukas and Marian

Total mileage so far: 5060 km (3162 miles)

Hints for cyclist:
- The 'lickity split' bakery in Blanding, UT
- The 'bear paw' restaurant at Panguitch Lake, UT
- 'Kiva Koffeehouse' between Boulder and Escalante, UT
- Escalante Creek, the lowest point on route between Boulder and Escalante, a nice creek for a refreshing break before a huge climb!

A normal nice ride in Utah
Leslie and us on the Colorado/Utah border
A foretaste...
Incredible ride after crossing the colorado river
White rocks...
...and red rocks
Little oasis in the canyons
The two sides of Utah: green meadows on high altitude and the hot dry dessert in the valley
A tunnel in the dixie national forest
Summit of the boulder mountain...
...with a stunning overlook at cedar breaks national monument
Our morning view after sleeping a night under the stars
Having a nice evening with Leslie and other cyclists in the middle of nowhere
The lovely team of the 'lickity split' bakery in Blanding