Day 50 – Bodega Bay, CA

Bodega Bay Cycling

Day 50 – Sebastopol, CA to Bodega Bay, CA

16 miles

I slept in till about 9 before having an incredible breakfast, I was still tired but relieved that I only had to do 16 miles today to make it to the coast. After a slow morning not doing much, Sue took me into Sebastopol to show me around and to grab some lunch. On returning I started to feel really ill, when you start relaxing everything seems to catch up with you. I went to sleep in their hammock for a couple of hours before I decided to cycle the final 16 miles to the Pacific. I wanted to do it in the evening to get the sun going down, I thought it would be a fitting end to the trip. Once I got going and I got closer to the sea, it got colder and then I went through a smog cloud and didn’t return out. I saw the sea when I was about 30 metres away from it. It seemed somehow wrong in the way of the weather, this whole trip had had freakish weather throughout, records were broken throughout a handful of States, drought in the Mid-West as well as heat waves nearly everywhere I went, I finished on a beach in Bodega Bay, freezing cold. I was going to ride around the bay but it was so cold, I decided to shelter in a restaurant and grab a drink, Root Beer as an ironic choice!


So, after sleeping in Soya fields, on dirt tracks, random motels and Mormons bathrooms, I had reached the Pacific Sea, it had taken just over 7 weeks and I had clocked around 3,700 miles. It has been an incredible experience and one that I won’t forget. The people of America have been unbelievably kind and generous and they are the heroes of this story. Paying for my meals, to giving me money for food, to letting me in their homes for a good night sleep. It blew my mind at times how kind people were to me. I owe those people so much because it was them that made this trip so unforgettable. I have seen some incredible things on this trip such as the Tetons, South Lake Tahoe to name a few but my favourite parts of my trip were off the bike and in the American people’s company, chatting to them about their families, their home and just getting to know the real America. While relief is a word to describe how I feel now I have finished, that is only because I maybe rushed the final week causing my morale to fall and making it as difficult as possible for myself.


This trip is an incredible thing to do and I can’t recommend it enough. It is a trip for anyone, in my opinion, people may say they are not fit enough, but you pick it up quite quickly and you can go at your own pace. I saw families with little children doing exactly what I am doing going across the Country. Although at the time I probably hated it, everything, the flat tyres, the slow mornings, the wind, it all led to me meeting and seeing the things I did. At the time you can’t see it but for example, if I hadn’t got all those flat tyres in Nevada, I probably won’t of gone to South Lake Tahoe, I would have never ridden with Peter and probably not have stayed with Tyler in Davis. It was all part of the adventure and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

I had done something that a lot of people can only dream about, I had seen more of America than 90 % of American people would get to do in their lifetime, and I felt very privileged to do and be able to do what I wanted to do. Well, I head down to San Francisco in a few days to relax and enjoy the city and can’t wait.

Day 49 – Sebastopol, CA

Day 49 – Davis, CA to Sebastopol, CA

97 miles

Away early after little sleep. I sneaked out trying not to wake the others. California was in stark contrast to the other states, cornfields were now replaced by fruit tree and the hilly roads were now flat. I had been at Altitude since Nebraska and now was close to sea level, so I was feeling stronger. California was like a different country. I had a pleasant ride to Fairview through the fruit farms and stopped for breakfast after 30 miles. The temperature was again going to be in the hundreds and the wind was getting stronger as I got closer to the coast.

I headed up to Napa, through wine country. It was hilly, but stunning to go through. However there were road works going on and no hard shoulder, people became a little impatient about getting past me and I had more abuse thrown at me through that afternoon than in my entire trip. People were beeping their horns and shout out the window at me, you can imagine what sort of words.


I was stopping off at the fruit huts at the side of the road every so often to grab a punnet of strawberries, a welcome change from the corn on the side of the road that I had been used to in the mid-west.

It’s always the final 10 miles that are the hardest and the longest, I was so close to Sebastopol and Sue’s House, it almost felt like my final destination. San Francisco had been completely booked up through the weekend so I decided to go north and see the wine country and hit the coast up there. I arrived with Sue waving me down from the bottom of her drive. We went up and I grabbed a drink and said hi to everyone. Sue was taking pictures and I felt sorry for Fiona who had to put her arm around me numerous times to get a picture or two. Fiona had made supper and after a shower, we sat down to eat. It was such a treat to have a home cooked meal, and after pudding, I was exhausted and went straight to bed.

I had been cycling every day since Norfolk, Nebraska, over three weeks ago. Since Chudbuck, Idaho, I had been pushing myself to get to Sue’s for the weekend. The last week had one of the toughest I have had to endure my whole life. I don’t think I had been so closer to breaking point as I was then. I was both mentally and physically drained and looking forward to relaxing a lot more in coming weeks.

Day 48 – Davis, CA

Day 48 – South Lake Tahoe, CA to Davis, CA

137 miles

I left South Lake Tahoe at 8 30 am after a big breakfast at Denny’s, I knew another huge climb awaited me, but it was short in comparison to yesterday. It still took an hour to 5 miles and there were a couple of hairy corners where I was a little nervous of the big lorries hitting me. Eventually, I made it to the summit, it was a huge weight off my shoulders as I knew the big climbs were over and it was mostly downhill now. I flew down at 30 odd mph and did 20 mph in no time. I was determined to get as far as possible today in order to get to Sebastopol as early as possible tomorrow. I had earmarked Fairview as my final destination today but that was 150 miles away, so maybe a little over ambitious. It had been downhill all the so I thought it would be a breeze. I got off the highway and took the back roads before stopping for an early lunch. I was keen to be quick as the weather was getting hotter and h otter as I descended and every minute passing. I was told that I would have to pedal all the way to Sacramento but that was on the freeway. The back roads were a different story, it was an up and down affair, no pun intended! The hills were at a ridiculous gradient, sometimes I just got off to walk because they were so steep.


The temperature was at 106 when I collapsed at someone’s drive under a tree. I was almost out of water, and was exhausted. I was out like a light and woke up an hour later with someone looking over me, asking if I was alright. I have to admit I was quite dazed and a little unsure where I was but after a split second, it all came back. His name was Peter and he was cycling around California. He asked if I wanted to ride with him to Folsom and I agreed. The next half an hour was a bit of a struggle and Peter was out in front after a bit. After stopping to grab some water, I felt a lot better. We cycled onto the bike trail that took us into the centre of Sacramento. It was bliss, however, Peter wanted to stop before we hit the old town near the centre. Originally we had planned to stop for a quick bite before parting ways but he very kindly offered to put me up for the night, however, I wanted to get going as the evening was drawing in. The trail was 30 miles and I reached the centre just after dark. I had done 100 miles but I wanted to continue. Fiona a family friend, had asked one of her friends in Davis if they would give me a place to stay for the night, and a guy called Tyler had very kindly agreed. I reached Davis at 11.30 pm after cycling on a path next to the freeway to Davis. I had done 137 miles and broken my record for the most miles in a day. I was somehow buzzing but rather tired too at the same time. We stayed up for a bit chatting before I crashed out on the sofa.

Day 47 – South Lake Tahoe, CA

Day 47 – Reno, NV to South Lake Tahoe, CA

63 miles

Well, I was hoping for a change in fortune and there was a noticeable change to start the day with a bike trail through the Reno City Centre made a change from the freeway. I got to the centre and found a bike shop, today I was climbing the Sierra Nevada Mountain range or Donner’s pass, for you people who said that it would be all downhill after the Rockies, you were mistaken just like the Donner Family all those years ago. A little story about them then, The Donner Party found the route blocked by snow and were forced to spend the winter on the eastern side of the mountains. Of the 81, only 45 survived to reach California and some had to resort to cannibalism to survive.


I went to a bike shop to make sure the tyres were at their optimum level before the climb, while there they told me to go to Carson City and go over to South Lake Tahoe. Always keen for the advice of the best route as I don’t carry a map. I headed over to Carson City against the wind and stopped for Lunch. I was keen to get to South Lake Tahoe early and chill in the town but what I didn’t realise was the ridiculous gradient to get up. It made the Rockies seem flat in comparison, doing the climb to the Rockies I would stop every 5 – 10 miles but going up here I was stopping every mile or so. It took me 2 hours to go 10 miles. I crossed the State Line and my word was there a huge difference, just by crossing the road, the buildings went from high-rise casinos to smart wooden alpine like shops.


I reached South Lake Tahoe and went to grab a milkshake and sandwich before searching for a camp site, but while there the guy serving me, a South African chap, was keen to find out more about what I am doing and offered me a bed at his place and the milkshake on the house. I stayed in and around the lake until the sun went down chatting to random people before heading back to his. He was going to head to the pub but we ended up chatting till about 11 pm before I went to bed, I was thankful to him that I wasn’t going to camp as another bad night sleep would have been bad for morale which was hanging by a thread at the moment.


Day 46 – Reno, NV

Day 46 – Lovelock, NV to Reno, NV

92 miles

There was obviously something going on at the weekend because there were people walking around the stadium at 5 am and every step they took echoed around at quite a loud rate. I left quickly in order not to be seen but didn’t imagine anyone would have really cared. Quick breakfast and then I was on my way. 10 miles down and another flat tyre, this had become a joke and a constant frustration. I was getting quite annoyed, I may write like it is funny but I can assure you in a hundred plus heat it is the last thing you want to do. Now I had both liquid tubes in so hopefully should be the end of it.

Stopped off along the way to read about the 40 miles desert that I was just about to embark upon, about the huge number of people and animals that have died making the trip, this bodes well for me then! It was a struggle but I managed to make it to Fearnley just after 1 pm before the heat was excruciating.


I decided to go to a pizza buffet and this was a huge mistake, my thinking was that I should treat myself after doing 70 miles but after a pizza and a bit, 3 salads and 2 litres of ice tea and root beer which is disgusting by the way. I headed over to the gas station to pump up my tyres and this is when I started to feel horrendous. I wasn’s sure if it was the heat that had got to me or I was sleep deprived or the food, or a combination of them all, but I couldn’t move. People came up to me and wanted to chat but I didn’t want to speak. After 2 hours of feeling awful and rejecting lifts to Reno, which was very tempting, I went behind a garage to lie down and that’s when it all came up. I felt better but still not great, my throat was parched but I was determined to get to Reno. It was slow, my tyres felt and it was tiresome. It dark really quickly and I needed to make it to my motel by 10 pm which earlier seemed like ease. On the way to Reno I was pulled over by a highway patrol car who couldn’t quite believe that someone was cycling at night on the freeway, he told me to get off the freeway ASAP and find a motel in Sparks which I did.

Today had just been the worst, the worst day of the trip so far. Maybe it was the build up from the previous days, but when I was stuck mending tyres at night and all alone. I felt it was all part of the trip and when times felt horrendous, I kept saying to myself ‘it’s just a ride’.

Day 45 – Lovelock, NV

Day 45 – Minnimucca, NV to Lovelock, NV

103 miles

I had slept right next to a JCB on a dirt space and had woken up to yet another flat tyre. After fixing it I got going and climbed yet another peak, a great way to start the day! I got to Minnimucca just before lunch, I rode pass a bike shop and stocked up on tubes, this time with a liquid centre that seals tiny holes and this hopefully will stop the many punchers I seem to be inheriting at the moment. I had a nice brunch at the Griddle and then got away as quickly as possible to get the miles done. Well after 20 miles, yes you guessed it, another flat tyre, now to try out these liquid tubes to see if they would work. I stopped at the next rest area as the temperature was ridiculous and I was short of water. Managed to plough through 1 kg of nuts while resting, think that might be a PB!


I reached the town of Lovelock just after dark and wanted to camp, I went searching for the park but it was in the middle of the town so opted for the school fields only to see the sprinklers on, so I decided to sleep under the stadium on the concrete. It was fine but what I couldn’t believe was people decided to go running on the track at 11 pm and the janitor goes on a search and destroy missions at 1 am to catch kids drinking, surely the man has better things to do than that.

Day 44 – Minnimucca, NV

Day 44 – Elko, NV to Minnimucca, NV

98 miles

Well, no breakfast at the motel, so I decided to go and get 25 miles under my belt before breakfast and stop at a rest area to cook myself some oatmeal (porridge). However, after what felt like quite a big climb I reached the summit and it ended up being a truckers stop and the rest area had move 13 miles further on! Thankfully most of it was downhill but I was feeling a little peckish and a little weak, so every pedal felt like a lot of work. I set myself up and rested up before what I thought was a short journey to Battle Mountain, but with road works, heat, wind, and a flat tyre it took a little longer than I thought. I kept pumping up the tyre, hoping it would get me through because the freeway was so hot.

I got to Battle Mountain and settled there for a couple of hours before fixing the damm tyre, I don’t know where these tiny pieces of metal come from but they have cause about 80 percent of my flat tyres so and to me in the this heat, a flat tyre is about the most annoying thing that can happen.


What happened next was ridiculous, because my pump is quite useless at best and can only pump my tyres up enough to get through to the next bike shop, I was outside a gas station by the air pump and the first tube I wanted to see where the holes were, exploded in my face, then tried to mend the others and they then exploded in my face, what the hell is going on? Cutting a long story short, I got through another tube before I was down to my last two. One in now in my front tyre and the one spare which has holes all over it but I decided I would fix it properly when I get to the motel.

I got going about 5 pm and the sun sets quite quickly here, all very nice etc, but I had ear marked a rest area to camp at. But as I was going along I could hear my back wheel ticking, I stopped to see a metal rode had punched my tyre and tube all the way through, this was so boring as it was pitch black and the freeway was quiet so not much light to work with. I spent the next 45 minutes looking for my headlight and fixed the tube only for me to burst the tube pumping it back up. This was becoming a joke now, I spent the next 30 minutes fixing the other tube and searching for holes in it.

The bug life was becoming a pain now and when you see scorpions crawling around you, you think it might be time to get going. I must have been at the side of the road for about and hour and half because it was 10.30 pm when I got going and all I wanted to do is sleep. I did another 10 miles before pulling into a layby and setting up my tent, I had no idea where I was but thought been close to the freeway, I should be ok till the morning.

Day 43 – Elko, NV

Day 43 – Contrast, NV to Elko, NV

98 miles

Well through the night, I thought I was witnessing a massive downpour only to find the sprinklers on the front lawn had been turned on! I was offered breakfast in the next door house, which I accepted of egg burritos and tea. They were telling me about what they do, proper Cowboys they were, riding horseback over the mountains herding cattle. I couldn’t quite believe what Nevada was like I was imagining a desolate plain but it was quite stunning much to my surprise.


I headed off and continued along the highway till I got to Wells, a quick lunch, but still slow to get away, one thing the desert is, is boiling hot and again the temperature rose way above a hundred degrees and not for the first time this trip. I headed off on the freeway but I saw a parallel road next to it following the freeway, I thought it would be amazing if this went the whole way to Elko, so at the next exit I got off the freeway and onto this road, and at first, it was great. However, with each mile, the road got progressively worst, starting with a few pot holes but then it became gravel. Then I hit a dead end and was left with a choice of whether to backtrack 10 miles or jump the fence into the fields which is what I did. The freeway is fine when there aren’t road works because you have a huge hard shoulder to play with and although lorries are flying past at 70 mph, you feel a lot safer than the highways with the tiny shoulders.

I hit Elko just before sunset and again had planned to go on but I was knackered, so I put myself up again to get a good night sleep and get going again in the morning.

Day 42 – Contrast, NV

Day 42 – Twin Falls, ID to Contrast, NV

73 miles

I was slow at getting away today, which didn’t help with the wind picking up, I was heading into the desert through highway 93. I stopped off at nearly every gas station with the thought that maybe when I come out again the wind would have calmed down, but no! Road works along the way slowed me even further down and with the busy traffic it was proving quite dangerous, tall lorries were going past me giving me no room and when a car went past with a trailer, it was so close I ended up falling over the edge and down the hill. I didn’t hurt myself but it was just really quite annoying.


I entered Nevada, the State of gambling and what better town to stop off at then the town of ‘Jackpot’. I went into one of the casinos not to gamble but to have lunch and when I returned to my bike there was a huge storm brewing. I got going but I was actual quite nervous of getting struck by lightning after passing a car that had been struck and was now on fire in the distance. I stopped for a bit and got going when I thought it was safe again. Nevada was nothing like I thought, it had mountains everywhere I looked, surprisingly beautiful.


I had a very narrow shoulder to work with throughout and as the light began to fade and I wondered what bizarre place I might camp at tonight. I saw a farm in the distance, now I haven’t gone to a farm since Ohio and I wasn’t that impressed with their hospitality, but I thought I would try again and much to my delight, I seemed to of picked a fantastic and welcoming family, they didn’t mind me pitching my tent and they invited me in for some leftover BBQ beef and then let me watch the Olympics with them before I settled in for the night.

Day 41 – Twin Falls, ID

Day 41 – Chudbuck, ID to Twin Falls, ID

122 miles

I kept to my plan and was away before the sun rose, I decided to go on the freeway as it was quick and I could make up the miles easier before lunch. The wind was down and I was cruising. I sailed through for lunch at 12.30 having done 77 miles, after grabbing a couple of meals I went outside to make a phone call home but after a few minutes I fell asleep while chatting to them on the pavement. I was exhausted and after an hour sleeping like a homeless person outside the Diner, I got going again.


I decided to take the back roads and enjoy the scenery. The roads were quiet and the landscape was a bit different from the usual mountain landscape I had been used to. The hills were kind and although the wind had picked up again I was enjoying the slow back roads. The mountains were becoming a distant haze and I could have been mistaken for thinking the mountains were beyond me now.


I made it to Twin Falls like I had planned. I had made up for lost ground today and was where I wanted to be. I feel like I am on the home straight although it is the same distance to San Francisco as it is from the top of the UK to the bottom, John O Groats to Lands End. So a while to go!

Day 40 – Chudbuck, ID

Day 40 – Idaho Fall, ID to Chudbuck, ID

48 miles

As every bike shop decides to open at 10, I decided to sleep in a bit, no real need to get up early. I was figuring out how to get my bike there as the tyre as the tyre had worn down to nothing and it weighed a tonne, however after a bit of failed trial and error, I just pumped the tyre up again with a new tube and pushed it 2 miles to the bike shop.


After a few supplies and a new tyre, I got chatting to this old man, now usually I am delighted to stop and chat but I could feel the heat getting stronger and stronger with every word spoken, I didn’t want to be rude and luckily after hearing about his family, previous jobs, all the bikes he owned, family history dating back to Britain and more than I could remember I finally got going just before midday. After 20 miles I stopped for lunch, the afternoon wasn’t great, the heat was the usual 100 odd degrees and the wind had picked up. The wind is ridiculous in this area and quite boring as I can’t listen to my Ipod as I can’t hear it and the ear plugs just get blown out of my ears.

I decided to cut my losses again and put myself up in a motel with the intention of making the lost miles up tomorrow.

Day 39 – Idaho Falls, ID

Day 39 – Idaho Falls, ID

51 miles

I was awake most of the night rubbing my legs to keep warm as the temperature had plummeted, I had all my clothes on practically and I was still freezing cold. I refused to get out of my sleeping bag before the sun rose and hit my tent and after that, it was slow going again but it was the same magnificent scenery all round.


I stopped off at a rest area to have lunch and the wind was absurd, it was so strong and pedalling against it is just plain boring and not much fun. I rested up and then got going hoping to make it a bit further than Idaho Falls but then as I am cycling along the highway I hear a bang at the back of my bicycle, like a gun going off in your ear. I knew something had gone but was surprised to see that my entire back tyre had dissolved through to the tube and ruptured the tube. I couldn’t go on as I hadn’t foreseen this and although I had planned to buy a new tyre in Idaho Falls, I fell short of it by 12 miles, sadly I had to rely on the good natured Americans to give me a lift into town and I didn’t have to wait long before I got one. Tim a fly fishing instructor was coming back from a day on the river and kindly gave me lift to a motel, all the bike shops were closed until tomorrow so I rested up and relaxed knowing I had to make up time tomorrow.


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