Central Valley

Home to Palm Springs, CA (460 Miles)

After taking care of the functional items of bike maintenance, I needed to pack and get on the road. My roommate’s dad was in town for thanksgiving and was very interested in the bike and the trip. I have to admit, it’s fun to share your passions. Once on the road at 10:30 I had one milestone to hit. I needed to be at the bottom of the Grapevine at 4pm. The weather for that area had a high of 40 and I knew if I didn’t get there by sundown it was going to be a cold ride over.

With it being Thanksgiving morning traffic was really light the first 50 miles. Once on the 152 and three lanes dropped to one, we had a backup. Further compounding things since it’s not commute traffic there are a lot of drivers that are not used to the road and make a bad situation worse. After a few miles things cleared up and the 5 was in sight. Interstate 5 runs the length of California and for most of it it’s straight as an arrow. Near the north end in the Siskiyous and in the southern end near the Grapevine things are somewhat curvy. Most of the 5 was a four lane freeway where everyone wants to be in the left lane slowing it down and then the fast cars use the right lane to gun it and cut back into the left lane. Argh…

Thanksgiving predinner was one of Taco Bell at the truck stop in Buttonwillow, CA.

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Things were surprisingly busy there. I guess life goes on beyond the holidays. Taco Bell seems to taste better on the road. I dunno why, but it just does. Once south of Buttonwillow it was time to get to the Grapevine. I was starting to lose sun (it goes down early this time of year) and it was just after 3:00. Fortunately it was closer than I had plotted out on the GPS. I was climbing the Grapevine at 3:30 and down in LA by 4:00. Turning east it was now just a short jaunt around the north end of LA out to Palm Springs. Traffic got bad on the 210 so with a bit of freeway hopping I got down to the 10 which was well filled with traffic. Sometimes you just don’t win. I plod along out to the 60 where things start to pick up again.

As fate would have it my gas gauge starts blinking in that space of being so close you don’t want to stop but far enough that you don’t want to risk it. Problem is there is nothing around. The GPS notes a gas station a few miles away from the freeway, and it was cold and I hate backtracking. So alas, with no other option, I head off the highway in search of gas. Said gas station was not there, but there was one a bit further out in the distance. I took the time to call the family and wish them a happy thanksgiving as well as to warm up.

The V in the 45 degree night:

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My family wished me well (and to be safe). The last few miles were pretty uneventful down the freeway. Of course once in town I hit every red light, but that seems to be an ongoing issue :) .

When arriving at the final stop both the bike and I were tired. No doubt about that!

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I got to do a bit of couch surfing with some friends from southern California. What was the big surprise is that there was an awesome Thanksgiving dinner already prepared. I had figured Taco Bell was going to be it, but they had the full course meal all prepared! We ate turkey, gravy, stuffing, yams, and cranberry sauce. One of the cooks was diabetic as well so we enjoyed a carbohydrate efficient Thanksgiving dinner and pumpkin pie dessert in the desert!

Route:

Categories: Central Valley

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