We're back! After a trying and tiring three days, we have returned, safe and sound, incredibly sore but incredibly proud at the same time. We had beautiful weather (maybe a little too beautiful--sunburn!), mostly great drivers, incredibly amazingly tolerant children, and the best friends we could ever ask for. We have also determined that my Yuba Mundo
is an amazing bike that can take on any challenge but stay incredibly comfortable (comfort is a very relative term after about 30 miles). Let's get started on the recap. I will be doing a more thorough journal on Crazy Guy On A Bike
but for now, pretty pictures will do most of the talking.
With 85 miles to go on the first day (it turned out to be an even 90, just to make things fun), we decided that the only way we could get the kids to tolerate that length of a trip was to leave insanely early (some of you might have thought "they should just leave insane," that would be correct, too). After one of the roughest night's sleep ever, we packed up our gear and got the kiddos in their trailer. We decided to bring the trailer so they would be more comfortable, warmer, and hopefully sleep better. I also left the Peanut Shell on the Mundo to give the boys some space and a change of scenery as needed. Since we were going to be staying with friends, we didn't need any camping gear so food and toys became the bulk of our load. Clothes came close behind, packing more than we would normally pack on a bike tour as we usually don't care if we smell like exhaust and funk, but we didn't want to impose that on our hosts.
The beasts are ready to roll!
This is the highest fashion for buttcrackofdawn riding.
Even with the lack of sleep, Big Brother is still happy to ride (food helps).
We were following Central California Cycling
's route, mainly. Because they start in Carmichael, we had to catch up to the ride. The CCC's route was amazing but our catch-up route wasn't the best. Although the roads were mostly quiet, there wasn't much of a shoulder. Cars were pretty great, giving us almost a whole lane's space in most instances but it was more nerve-wracking than necessary. Once we got on the proper route, it was smooth sailing. We passed through some of the most beautiful farm areas with very little traffic. We managed to get half way there before stopping for lunch at a little elementary school (CCC's route suggested the location).
My favorite time to ride.
Yes, these are camels. That's weird.
Quick camel viewing stop.
Great passing etiquette.
Cutest kids ever (besides mine).
Little Brother loves his food.
Awesome playground for a picnic and yaya time.
Is this not the best look ever?
A little brotherly love. Super helpful (most of the time) to have the big guy in with the little one.
Books, dolls (Baby Shoe, to be exact), water, and each other.
Our last stop, just a couple of miles from our destination. Big Brother breaks free while Little Brother chills.
Little Brother's buddy!
Big Brother's buddy!
At our friends' house in Modesto, we had a wonderfully relaxing time. Pizza for everyone! The boys had their little friends to play with, too. It was the perfect way to end the longest ride any of us had done. I was having a bit of knee pain on one side which was troubling but the next morning, I raised my seat a touch and didn't have any problems for the rest of the weekend.
Day two was rough. Jose and I were both pretty sore and starting the ride off in Modesto wasn't very fun. Our friend had offered to let us relax and then drive us to Stockton but that would have felt like cheating so we declined (and a couple of times regretted that decision along the way). The boys slept better on this ride than the day before, tired out from all the fun they had had. Our route took us as far has Highway 26 but then we had to find our own way to Stockton. After a few backtracks, we managed to get on a levee road--gravel, nothing marked, gated off in many places, and a bit sketchier than either of us would have liked. Jose's crank arm fell off at one point. For awhile, we almost thought our trip was over since we didn't have a #8 allen wrench. Amazingly, Jose was able to tighten it enough with a few pieces of rock from the ground and a smaller wrench with a shim (we had to do that a few more times along the way). He's so talented! We trudged through ankle-deep mud, pulling and tugging our loaded up bikes, climbed steep banks, and ducked under gates. It was a workout! Jose and I both managed to get terribly sunburned and even though we only went 44 miles, it felt longer than any other ride. However, as soon as we got to Stockton, Jose got a beer, the boys got to play, and I got my bestie best friend in the world! Life was good again! Another fantastic pizza dinner, hot showers, and we were refreshed.
The boys are thinking "are you sure you don't want to take the ride...?"
One of many snack breaks. I almost polished off the entire bag of peanut butter cup trail mix during this stop.
Not for us!
Dirt road diaper change!
Jose's crank arm fell off. He fixed it with a rock. Amazing!
Luckily, the boys slept through our troubles.
Levee roads. Beautiful but I'm smiling because I have no idea what's ahead...
Not so beautiful anymore! This was probably the hardest part of our trip.
Muddy ride home. The bikes got hosed off and oiled the next day, much to their delight.
At our destination!
A long day makes for a camera-shy boy.
After our wonderful evening, we had another great night's sleep. However, that led us to Day 3. Our hardest ride yet. The trip had worn us down. Jose was hurting (I had switched bikes with him for a few miles on day 2 and was horrified to find out how uncomfortable it was. I finally convinced him to raise up the handlebars which helped a bit but not enough. My sunburn was really bad so it hurt to pedal (and move). The boys, though, were just in their same wonderful mood.
We got a really late (11am) start. Big Brother wanted to ride in the Peanut Shell (he actually almost always does) so he climbed aboard with me. It was great for Little Brother, too, to get some space and sleep soundly for much of the ride. Stockton is probably one of the worst biking cities ever. It took us two hours to get through about 8 miles of busy, horrible streets. I am even more thankful now that I live in Sacramento with it's wonderful (compared to Stockton) bike infrastructure. Stockton has no bike lanes anywhere, hardly any shoulder, and 4-6 lanes of miserable traffic. We actually spent as much time on the sidewalk. Legal or not (I'm not sure in Stockton), I wasn't risking my boys' lives.
Once we got past Stockton, we got on some much, much nicer frontage roads. We were still incredibly exhausted and we did a bit of bike swapping so Jose could have a chance on the Mundo. It was slow going. Finally, we reached Cosumnes Wildlife Refuge for our lunch (it was 3:30pm). We got started on our final 20+ miles but then Big Brother decided he wanted to be in the trailer. He had been up on the bike for over 4 hours, without a nap--what an amazing kid!. Once in the trailer, there was a bit of a struggle between the two boys, being so tired, but once that was sorted, they were both quickly asleep. They stayed asleep for the rest of the journey. Once we got to Elk Grove, it was busy traffic but a nice shoulder lane and tailwind made it tolerable. Our one incident was when Jose got stuck in some deep train tracks and I crashed into the back of the trailer. Luckily, no one was hurt but it knocked off Jose's front wheel and taco'd a trailer wheel. It wobbled the rest of the way home (just like us!), but made it. We had a few more stretches of sidewalk riding and less friendly traffic but we rode safely and cautiously. We rode 52 miles for Day 3 bringing our weekend's total to 186!
Tired boy on our walk for coffee.
Ready to hit the road.
Trudging through Stockton. Blah.
Crossing onto Thorton Rd., we finally see our first bike-friendly sign.
Happy Mama on farm roads again.
Lunch break at Cosumnes.
Tired and hungry.
Through all that, this is still a darn good-looking bike.
I can see now how tired he looks. This is right before he wanted to go in the trailer.
Putting the wheel back on after our crash.
Sweet, sweet boys.
Thirty seconds out of the trailer and he's back at work.
We have now unpacked, showered, and most of us are sleeping now (all of us very soon, I hope). It was an incredible adventure. I have never felt so proud and accomplished as I do now. I feel such gratitude that I have the best family, who else would tolerate these crazy schemes? I was thinking on the ride (right before I crashed), how lucky I am to have Jose, who shares my passion and drive for biking. We are able to keep each other going through difficult times on the ride and in life. Then, of course, I have these two fantastic boys who are able to sit and entertain each other and themselves for long periods of time. I know that our family dynamic will grow and evolve with time but we will always have these memories to come back to. I look forward to our next adventure and the many more to follow.