Thursday, May 24, 2007

Update from Cross-country riders

The stars are clear and bright over the high sierra desert. I delighted in my view of the Milky Way as I began folding my tent and boiling water for the girls' breakfast and a little camp coffee. We slept the night before just across the highway from Iron Camp. I'm not sure what that is, but it has intimidating signs on the driveway and a vehicle with a spotlight that drives out and turns around about once an hour all night long. Nobody seems to mind our presence.

Services, including water, are about 50 miles in any direction from this location. Luckily, we packed plenty of water and food and we always carry camping gear. We broke out the tent at mid-day as well, to provide shade for lunch and a siesta in the hottest part of the day. Most of our gear has proven flexible enough to serve us as well in this climate as in the Pacific Northwest rain forests.

Michele, Tala, and I made an extra effort to get rolling early each of the two mornings of this long desert crossing and it paid off. We were able to make the crossing in the projected time without dehydrating any of us. We even learned some new songs and practical geometry along the way.

There was a visitor during our siesta. Kareena, whom we had met the day before in a park, had thought about us all night and decided to drive out and give us iced tea. We were delighted to see her again, along with her children, her mother and her grandmother.

We met a pair of cyclists from Montana on the last leg of our trip. They were coming from Colorado through Nevada and bound for San Diego, taking a shorter cut across the desert. Each pulled a bob trailer behind a well outfitted touring bike. We enjoyed swapping road stories before heading off again in opposite directions.

Raymond stopped his motorcycle to talk with us out there among the Joshua trees. He's had plenty of experience touring on bikes with and without motors and shares many of our attitudes toward life. We ran into him again when we got to Parker and shared a six-pack in our room. He's thinking about riding the rest of the way to DC with us. We're excited by the prospect.

Our projected route has been changed significantly ( to include the Veterans for Peace national convention. Of course nothing is written in stone. We changed course as we went down the west coast(, mostly based on recommendations of local cyclists. Please look over the list of towns and give our contact info to anybody who might host us or participate in discussions. Thanks.