Days 93 and 94: Gardnerville to Silver Lake, CA, then to Plymouth

Two days ago in Gardnerville, David drove me to Walmart so I can buy a pair of swim trunks. I had a meatball sandwich at the Subway inside the Walmart. David bought some ingredients, so I can make omelettes the next morning before the ride. Then we went to David’s father’s house where David had some business to discuss with him. I was so tired that I took a nap on the couch. Afterward, I drove David’s Suburu while he drove his truck to fill it with water at a water station, so he can water his trees at one of his properties.

When we finally got back to David’s house, we decided to visit a hot spring in Markleeville. Unfortunately, it was closed for the day due to some problem with the water pump. We ended up stopping at a reservoir. On our way back, we stopped by a convenience store in Woodfords to get some ice cream. David also paid for some popcorn and some snacks.

The reservoir

It was a long day. By the time we arrived home I only helped David with his Gmail account. Judy and David cooked another delicious dinner. After the meal, we went for a walk and listened to some music before I finally went to bed.

David and Judy

Sunset during our walk

Yesterday morning, I made omelettes for everyone. They didn’t turn out well since the pan I used was too small to flip the omelettes. But we still got our protein. David wanted to ride the first 12 miles with me. I noticed my back tire had deflated a bit. Must be a slow leak somewhere. After David pumped up my tire, we left at 9:15 AM.

The ride wasn’t so bad. We climbed some small hills, crossed the California border, then made it to the convenience store in Woodfords, where we were the day before. After getting some drinks, David and I said our goodbyes. I felt like I’ve made great friends with him and his wife. They were just so pleasant and easy to talk to.

At the last border crossing

Now the tough part, the massive hill known as Carson Pass. I started to walk my bike almost immediately after my rest at the convenience store. After about 45 minutes of walking, a truck driver stopped on the opposite side of the road and asked me if everything was OK, and more importantly, if I needed a ride up the hill. When I heard the offer I felt today is my luckiest day!

Going up Carson Pass

The driver is about my age and his name is Brandon. He works as a software engineer. He was driving into town to prepare for the Death Ride this weekend, where a bunch of cyclists are riding up five hills, including this very hill that I’m trying to overcome. I couldn’t believe that on my last major hill a kind angel came to help me!

Brandon dropped me off at the summit, in the parking lot of the visitor center. I took a photograph of him to remember this road angel.

Brandon, my road angel

Because of the car ride, I was early on my route. I hung out at the visitor center for awhile, talking to Bruce, a docent there. He gave me a can of soda to cool me off and a Carson Pass magnet as a lucky charm. I also saw some PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) hikers and talked with two of them. I decided not to camp at Caples Lake, where I had planned. Since I can ride further I aimed for a campground at Silver Lake.

The ride there was mostly downhill and I loved it! I had a late lunch at Kirkwood Inn before arriving at Silver Lake. I arrived there in the early afternoon, but both campgrounds were full. When I was trying to persuade the ranger at the second campground, Silver Lake West, to make an exception for me to camp, two spots opened. I got lucky again! The fee was a little overpriced at $25, but I was glad I had a place to stay for the night.

I made some ramen for dinner. Probably my last ramen of the trip. I still have two more, just in case. After setting up my tent, I ended up going to sleep a little after 7 PM.

This morning, I woke up before the sunrise and started riding around 5:30. It was downhill and will be for most of the day. There were a lot of switchbacks, so I had to be careful with my speed and not crash, like the time I did going down the Blue Ridge in Virginia.

Riding before the sunrise once again

I made it to Cooks Station where there is a restaurant. I ordered an omelette and a cup of coffee for breakfast. The reason I like omelettes is because they are full of protein and great for long distance cyclists. Cooks Station was my original place to stop for the day, but it was only 9 AM, so I decided to go to Plymouth and stay there over night.

Another omelette

As I was riding I noticed something was wrong. I had missed a turn and went about five miles in the wrong direction. I had to walk my bike back up the hill. After getting some cell phone signal, I decided to use Google Maps direction for a shortcut to get back on my route. The short but was a one lane local road that twisted and turned. It wasn’t well paved and I had to use my breaks a lot. I hope my break pads will last until I get to San Francisco.

By the time I got back on my route, I noticed the road had less traffic. This is probably the reason why the route had changed when I wasn’t paying attention.

The road to Plymouth

I had a soda break at a small convenience store in Fiddletown then I rode into Plymouth. Then I had a Zinfandel chocolate chip ice cream cone and a cream soda at the Prospect Cellars while trying to find a place to stay for the night. The inn was too expensive, the campground didn’t allow tent camping, no Warmshowers or Couchsurfing hosts, not even AirBnB, and the local church will not call the pastor for me because it’s not an emergency. When I called the inn a second time the lady told me to check out the fairgrounds in town.

When I arrived at the fairgrounds office the clerk told me they allow tent camping for $20. I gladly paid. After parking my bike, I decided to change to my swim trunks and see if I can get into the community swimming pool that’s right next door to the campground. The lifeguard allowed me in the pool without a fee. The water felt nice compared to the 99 degree heat. I ended up hanging out in the pool for about an hour.

So nice to cool down in a swimming pool

After the cool down, I walked over to Vintage Market to get some late lunch or early dinner. I had a garden salad, a crab cake, some pasta salad, and two scoops of gelato. The cashier thought I ate a lot, and I did!

Currently, I’m back at the Prospect Cellars drinking a bottle of root beer and using the WiFi to write this blog post. Tomorrow, I’ll be going to Orangevale and stay with Joan, one of the cyclists I had met in Palmyra, Virginia. She had finished her bike trip in June and invited me to stay with her for a night.