The California desert continues to beat us down. The goal for the day was to ride around 80 miles to Mojave, CA. Things were off to a late start as we slept in till 7:30 am. The 100 plus mile day the night before drained us. We grabbed some breakfast at the same diner where we had dinner at because of the food vouchers Dave scored for us when checking us in at the hotel.
They were very nice waitresses and we met a neat guy named Ivan who was a cultural anthropologist and filmmaker. He was very interested in our journey and the soccer for social change cause. He was from Philly and told us a story about how he got to play soccer with Bob Marley in 1979 on the same fields where we had our Street Soccer USA practice with the Philly team. It’s wild how that was in our first week of riding! Ivan said he was happy he met us so we exchanged info and got ourselves ready for the road.
The service road next to the Interstate was bumpy and that is where I bike a spoke on my back wheel, not even half a mile away from the diner! The loud snapping sound is the worst feeling! A broken spoke is one of the few things we can’t fix in the road. We made it to Barstow about 10 miles away where there was supposedly a bike shop.
We rolled through town up hill in the heat which was completely frustrating. To make things worse the shop Google told us about had a for rent sign so we started asking people if there was another bike shop nearby. They pointed us towards a motorcycle and “bicycle” shop. It was a strange experience.
They made us wait outside while they worked on my bike. Two hours later they gave me my bike back with a new spoke but the wheel was still untrued. They said it wass because my wheel is bent but that’s the first time I’ve head of this diagnosis and we’ve been to many bicycle shops across the country. I paid them the 22 dollars just to get out if there and kept riding with a wobbly wheel and no back break for the entire day.
The next 30 miles was difficult as we rode though the desert on a new road, Highway 58. It was a smaller shoulder with a lot of obstacles to dodge. Blown out 18 wheeler tires are the worst and most common. You can ride over them. It may feel fine at first because it’s rubber on rubber but they actually have little wires inside them that are frayed and will poke holes in your tube. I swerved to miss one while riding too close to Dave. My front wheel caught his back right bag sending me to the pavement. I broke my fall with my wrists but there was no major damage done to me or the bike. It was a nice reminder how quickly the road can end your trip if you aren’t focused.
We were just outside of tiny populated junction where we could get food and take a break from the sun. There we sat for 2 hours and and I went into another food coma on the booth. These past few days in the California desert sun and hills have really taken a toll on our bodies but the final 40 miles against 15 mile per hour winds made this day even worse. Good news is that we are just 2 days away from the ocean and 450 miles away from San Francisco where Street Soccer USA has planned something special for Halloween weekend! Hopefully, the Giants win the World Series while we are there!
We are going to get an early start to beat the heat and are headed to Bakersfield by noon for a bike shop doctors appointment. Dave’s friend is going to meet us there and then we will all ride another 50 miles to the next town! Excited to meet her and have another rider joining us! Not excited about the 12 miles winds we will have in our faces all day.