Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 20-Apr-2004 : Porterville

The el cheapo motel we stayed at last night a real dump. Lots of perm residents, and I was kept awake by various guests fighting and screaming.

Not entirely unhappy to be on the road again.

The climb up through Wofford Heights is *very* very steep. The town seemed to go on forever up the hill, and the road was unevenly graded, constantly varying between 8% and 12%. After an hour we'd left the holiday houses behind and reached the Sequoia national forest. If anything the road got steeper, with the occasional false flat. We slowly ground past the 4000ft and then 5000ft altitude signs, without covering many Ks. The higher we climbed the more trees and less desert scrub lined the road. After nearly two hours leaching sweat through our jersies we saw a sign facing up the hill “Steep Descent, 5miles, 11%”. Sure enough, we'd covered just under 5miles (8km) and climbs more than 900m in fits and spurts.

Eventually reached Greenhorn Summit at 6102feet, and the real fun began. A brilliant descent down to Glenneville which seemed to go on forever. And unlike the climb the descent was a relatively gentle, and twisted and wound it way around the slopes through beautiful North American pine forests. Best of all, this was a wide smooth road with no traffic at all.

We turned off onto the Old Stage Road, which while narrower and rougher (still not as rough as New Zealand's roads) we enjoyed another half hour twisting curling descent out of the forests and cattle ranches and eventually onto the brown rolling foothills.

Had a break under a massive eucalypt tree outside the Sequoia Forest Fire station.

The last hour we cycled along wide smooth roads that were almost deserted through miles and miles of citrus fruit orchids that smelt almost as good as they looked.

Happy to crash out at Porterville.

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