Thursday, July 30

New Friends and Another State Under the Belt

About 30 miles outside Cedar City, Utah I ran into three compadres headed west - Mike, Jordan, and Jeremy. They are all from San Diego, California and left Yorktown, Virginia around the same time I got my start. We crossed paths in a small town called Minersville, and the three had planned to stop for the day another 20 miles or so in Milford, UT. I told them that I was pushing on beyond Milford, hoping to make Baker, NV by the end of the night, totaling the day's ride at 140 miles. Intrigued by the distance, the three pondered the option of continuing on with me as we made it to Milford. After 20 or so miles of sharing stories from our trips, the three decided to join me for the ride, quoting something about only living once.

Literally Milford is the last town before Baker, leaving a wide gap of mountains and valleys to get through before crossing the Nevada boarder into Baker. Before heading out to make the distance, we stopped at the local grocery, where we stocked up on food and water to beat the heat. I bought a chicken. For real. Not alive, of course, but one of those pre-cooked chickens in a bag you sometimes see in groceries.

We headed out into the desert heat, not sure what to expect and as Milford got further and further away, the clouds became darker and darker. Not quite what we had expected when plannign for desert weather, but the rain that quickly followed was preferred over the extreme temperatures we had thought we'd face. Then again, the lightning was a bit much (we even saw it hit a mountain and start a fire).

By Baker, it was quite dark (though we had gained an hour moving into the Pacific time zone) and we were very hungry. The chicken satisfied our needs at the time (we all picked it apart), but by 140, one's stomach is ready for more. Thankfully, in Baker, NV there was a baker. He ran the Silver Jack, and despite being closed, he was quite friendly to accomodate our hunger and fatigue.

Nevada has been like that the whole way pretty much - long stretches with little between. If you know your US highways, we've been riding US 50, which has long been called "The Lonliest Road in America." Though we've not had the milage up to 140 since, each day we've had to pack plenty of water and food, riding stretches of at least 60 miles before the next anything.

I've stuck with the three San Diegans and enjoyed their company. We've hit up a number of pools, libraries, and other fun spots along the way. At one library, I began to blog but was interrupted as Mike had his laptop charger stolen! After watching the library security tapes and identifying the kid, we jumped on our bikes to confront him at his usual hangout spot - the city park - but were not able to locate him. Mike was pretty upset about the whole thing, so I mostly trailed to make sure if the kid was confronted it would be done in a reasonable fashion, but like I said, no dice.

Tonight, we're staying in a Hampton Inn, curteousy of Mike's Uncle, who apparently flies a lot and has racked up some mad hotel points. Also, my friend Kevin has caught back up - we rode the end of Missouri and all of Kansas together (with Trevor and Will) before splitting up in Pueblo, CO when I had to start pushing hard for the coast. As I've gotten closer to the coast, I've been able to ease up a bit, which allowed Kevin to catch up, as to avoid an early arrival in San Fransisco (it's easier to pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere than in San Fran). Riding with company has again been quite the blessing and though I value the solitary, I prefer the company.

Whether you believe it or not, I'll be arriving to the Pacific Ocean in just three days! That's right - 3 more days. As we ride, it's insane to think how far we've come and how close we are. So much of me wants to recognize that it's already in the bag and consider it over, yet I know much can happen in just three days. As I ride these last days, I will try diligently to put myself before a computer and continue writing and plan a couple of follow-up posts once finished (to flesh thoughts out, give a more thorough account of my work with Sojourners, and other odds and ends stuff). Though the journey is not finished yet, I thank all of you for your support, encouragement, thoughts, and prayers while on the road. It's been such a blessing to read, hear, and learn of all the things you folks have been doing as I pedal. Know that I consider you just as much a part of this journey as the Mikes, Jordans, Wills, and Kevins I have run into along the way. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


D'Rock's House said...

Yeah Nate, keep pressing on! I remember something about someone else who said it is finished but the next three days were the most important!


skip said...

dude, i've got some peeps in SF. if you want me to hook you up with a place to stay and one-day tour guide, let me know.

Alison said...

You can do it, Nate! My brother keeps me posted on how you are doing. We are all so proud of you for putting your mind to it and finishing it all the way until the end! This whole journey you've gone on truly amazes me.

Anonymous said...

So glad to feel apart of your journey and clearly felt that God answered my prayers for companions to ride with you, especially through the dessert and the Mts. climbs. Look forward to your pictures. Fly safe. Proud that you finished. That says a lot about you. :)

Pat Norwood