Time? Auburn Old Town Pizza Parlor. About Â½ mile from Auburn Bike Works
. I am famished; time to fuel up for the last leg of the journey as I expect it will be another 50 miles
. My charge is very low Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so lots of pedaling will be expected. My lips feel sunburnt. I hit the bathroom to wash my faces and arms from the sweat and grit. Partly clean, I ordered a small Auburn Aloha Pizza: Canadian bacon, pineapple, and cashews, with large water and large apple juice. So far I have only peeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d twice today
, but seems like I have drank over two gallons of water. Pizza arrives; looks great, scarf down about 3/4s of it, kill the water and the juice. Time to go!
Map: Evening leg of the journey, from Auburn to Sacramento
7:20 PM Ã¢â‚¬â€œ LeavinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Auburn. 405.4 mi, 55.9V, 195.9 Ah. It is near sunset and cooling off, my old nemesis wind is picking up.
This last segment of the ride was by far the most challenging to my spirit more so than it was to my body. I was prepared to accept the heat which is why I worked hard like a dog during the day at the family farm swinging the pickaxe so that I could tell when the onset of dehydration would occur. However I was not prepared to ride in the dark! Now the race was on, to beat the sun down the hill, to conserve power, to push hard - onward using grit and adrenaline Ã¢â‚¬â€œ because thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all I had left to count on.
Leaving Auburn with low volts, I nursed the bike down to Folsom (city) on the Auburn-Folsom Rd down near the American River crossing just below Greenback Lane, near Old Town. A cyclist heading opposite helped me find the American River Bike Trail.PDF Map of the American River Bike Trail Another Map of the American River Bike Trail
I took this all the way to Hazel Ave where heavy construction blocked passage.
Feeling screwed, I rode north on Hazel up to Winding Way and turned west. After about a mile of this twisty road I pulled off as the final light of day diminished. Using electrical tape I mounted my old bike light previously relegated to flashlight Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcuz the batts were so weak. But I knew this wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be enough: My sister gave me a bright LED light that is typically mounted on a ballcap visor; itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kind of a gag gift if you ask me, but in the dark it frees a hand if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re trying to read a map or fix something under the hood. WellÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ this little LED light just became my main Headlight, and I clipped it onto my helmet
Right. So now with a total of 5 candle-power emitting something like a Â¼ watt; at least the drivers can see me coming even if I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see squat, though I suppose itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better than a poke in the eye, or two. Now the sun is completely down, and we are past dusk too. I finished following Winding Way up to Fair Oaks and Sunrise Blvd.
American River Bike Trail - 1st DetourCompletely lost
, I asked a guy at a gas station for directions back to the bike path Ã¢â‚¬Â¦or if he knew of a faster way to downtown: He says the bike path is the safest and fastest way to downtown, and that I need to take Sunrise south across the bridge to pick up the bike trail again. In doing so I feel quite buggered. What am I doing heading SOUTH??? I need to go WEST!!!
As soon as I get across the river I see a sign on the other side of the boulevard that says Ã¢â‚¬Å“river access
Ã¢â‚¬Â, so I cross over at the next light and head back north taking the turnoff to the park. As it just so happened a man was chaining up the access to the parking lot; I explained my plight, so he asked me to follow him to the office where he gave me a partial map of the River Trail, and instructs me that I had to take a dirt road down to it. Weary, I am just a little hesitant of dirt roadsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ but I do soÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and immediately got lost. Bugger me!
I see two headlights moving away so I race in the dark to catch them and ask for help. It was a couple that I had passed earlier: The guy sets me straight, points me correctly, but tells me that I have about 20 miles
or more to go to get to Discovery Park. And as an afterthought he adds: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Watch out for the homeless people
The map that I have only has 6 miles of path, up to where the trail crosses over on a bridge from the south to the north side of the river. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to Braille this. Alone
, allow me describe what I see: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Pitch Black
, like the movie. No moon, but I do have Venus
laughing down at me. The ambient glow of the city provides enough contrast that I can distinguish shadow and nothing more. The grass in the park is dry-blond in color during daylight, so there is a slight contrast between the curving paved trail bisected by a washed-out yellow centerline. Between the two piss-poor lights I can dimly see the first 15-20 feet in front of me well enough, but the rest is all by the mask of light pollution. Hey, at least I can see the horizon, what could be worse?
Oh, but thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more: It turns out the worst part of all is that there are rabbits frozen right beside the path, and then they bolt RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE WHEEL
, micro-inches from death, mine I believe, and when this wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t jumping out in front of me I had deer and skunks doing the same. In this darkness, I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go very fast. It was however for the most part level ground and I pulsed through it, curve after curve, dodging tree limbs, swerving to get back onto the path, and damn near sightless
. The old rear hub would have failed me here.
At some point after I had traveled unknown miles, daring not to look at the CA in that it might blind my vision, I stopped a cyclist going the other way and asked for directions. First thing he said was Ã¢â‚¬Å“Wow get a load of those tail lights! Man where did you get those?
Ã¢â‚¬Â And he just wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t shut upÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ On and on bleating wayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ presumption after presumptionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I had to stop him and said Ã¢â‚¬Å“Look, I just want to know how much farther do I need to go to get to the capitol?
Ã¢â‚¬Â So he goes on Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s maybe two bridges, no Ã¢â‚¬â€œ itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s three bridges, but then look left and the trail will go left, but maybe thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s after the second bridge, but you want to look right, then go left, andÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â This is the way this guy babbled for the next five minutes. <sigh, shake head> Bored, I reached down and began opening my daypackÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ slowly Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and I could tell he was eyeballing my every move, nervously. As I reached deeply into my day pack, his chatter went higher and higher in pitch
. This was a very curious feeling for me, but then I found what I was looking for and I pulled it outÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ slowlyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ deliberatelyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ in the darkness of the light, my light, and in the full brightness of his Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I unscrewed the cap and drained the entire bottle of water, gulp, gulp, gulp. I put the bottle away, cocked my head and looked in his direction expecting a simple answer to my question when he says Ã¢â‚¬Å“Oh, and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a guy sitting on a bench beneath the 2nd bridge; donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bother asking him for directions as he has AlzheimerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ or maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the third bridge, noÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the second bridge. Hey didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t I meet you last weekÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ blah blah blah
Ã¢â‚¬Â. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when I asked what time it was and he told me 10:20 PM
Ã¢â‚¬Â I says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“So how far is it?!?
Ã¢â‚¬Â He says Ã¢â‚¬Å“Oh maybe 10 miles, maybe lessÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ maybe 7 milesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â And I could tell he was just winding up to get started all over again: I left this chatterbox to entertain himself. Weird!
Map: American River Bike Trail - 2nd Detour
Chatterbox was actually a little east of where I have it on the map.
Checking, CA says the batts have 52 volts
: I pour it on, darkness or not, I need to get the hell out of this place pronto! Throttle on as much as I dare, I cruised about 5 miles before finding a trailside map without a mileage legend; WTF? At least the visor light was useful. I memorized what I saw, including the landmarks and signage. Chatterbox
was wrong: I had passed two bridges already and had another three or four to go. Motor-on.
Then suddenly, underneath the second bridge I came across a guy standing still in the dark slightly off trail who did not acknowledge my passage; he just stood there facing the wall Ã¢â‚¬â€œ stone stiff Ã¢â‚¬â€œ like, like a Z_O_M_B_I_E
Must be the AlzheimerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s guy: Freaky weird, more throttle! Then I saw another guy walking along the side of the path clad in dark clothes; man I just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t pick these people out until IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m almost right on top of them. Then rustling off to the right; was that another person? I humor myself that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s The Night of the Living Dead
: They canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t catch me if I keep that throttle going!
Very soon I figured out that I was in Discovery Park
, home for the homeless, and that I was very close to the end. Then the trail took a turn to the right, then right again, up and more right Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I was coming out from the basin when boom
Ã¢â‚¬â€œ there it was Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the bridge to the other side.
Some homeless gal spoke to me as I passed by but it was foreign tongue; donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop - I kept going across the bridge, to bright lights, motels, freeways, cars, and trucksÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ (sounds like an Eagle's song)
And there I was: At I-5 and RichardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Road. Boy it has been years since I saw this intersection up close and personal. About 35 years before I had this old beater car; my brother and I had been driving back from who knows what when we had broke down here. Must have waited Â½ day in the harsh heat for my Pa to bring a trailer and haul our sorry butts home. Boy has it changed, no longer a scary place; all nice and spiffy. I pull over to the Chevron station and ask for directions and they are not clear at all; I end up going about Â½ mile farther down the road before I found someone else to boot me over to another street. Drove over to some City road engineers and they said I was two blocks away. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when the bike lost power.
I pedal the last block Ã¢â‚¬â€œ up the ramp and straight into the station, and parked it right in front of the ticket line.
11:10 PM Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Arrived at Sacramento Amtrak Station, 458.0 mi, 42.1V, 210.3 Ah. Total mileage for this day was 173.3 miles.
I was absolutely astounded that I had potentially made it in time. <Yes, yes Ã¢â‚¬â€œ ye of little faithÃ¢â‚¬Â¦>
Went directly to the Ticket Counter and pleaded my case, and graciously asked not to be turned away (ala Seattle). Upon hearing how far I had traveled, the nice gals made haste to get me on the train, double-doting to be sure. I was shy of serious concern, but those ladies did a fine job, and I never heard boo about the weight of my bike.
All aboard: The train was Â½ hour late; we left the station at 12:35 AM.Next, the Train ride back to Seattle