Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 18-Apr-2004 : Mountain Mesa

A long day, but pretty enjoyable. Lots of the arid mountain scenery I like, with very few miserable trees to obstruct the view. The other thing we're enjoying is the smooth American road surfaces, that after New Zealand's rocky roads feel like cycling on polished marble.

We climbed out of Mojave township (thanks to making a wrong turn), and we could see the desert plains (and desert planes too) spread out for yonks. Mojave bills itself as “America's golden Crossroads”, and is a rather dilapidated looking place. Having said that I'm not aware of any human occupation of desert regions that look fresh and invigorated.

We're finding the US stop signs rather confusing. Everyone seems to stop, then everyone starts again at the same time (except us, because we're still scratching our heads).

Long flat riding along California State Highway 14, which alternated between a 2 lane highway and an 18 lane freeway. Spectacular desert scenery, with the Sierra Nevada Mountains to our left, and the Mojave Desert and the dry Lake Koehn to our right.

The road climbed up through the beautiful arid Red Rock Canyon. Red earth, the sun beating down on us and clear blue skies, this could almost be Western Australia, except for the truck, Rvs, OHVs (which is American for trail bikes, obviously) and the fact the sky was lined with hundreds of jet vapour trails. Oh, and it was 38 Fahrenheit, not Celsius.

Guy at the 178 Junction selling “Fresh Jerky”, another American concept I can't fathom. (Why would anyone want their preserved meat to be fresh?).

It took us an hour to climb across the Los Angeles canal and up the slopes of Walker Pass (5250 feet, or ~1600m) with the assistance of an erratic tailwind. “Steep” Descent signs at the top explained the grade was a modest 7%.

Great 9 mile (still not quite sure what that is in modern) downhill, but ridiculous amount of wind now being channeled up the canyon into our faces.

Totally whacked out by Onyx (which I still can't pronounce), where I ate an “iced honey bun”. Still not entirely sure what that is, but it did have a satisfactory over concentration of sugar.

Made it to Lake Isabella's lake, but not the town. We'd ridden far enough, and decided a cheap motel and a dinner dinner (very good actually, a burger with extra calories) was in order.

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