Sunday, August 5, 2012

Eureka, CA - Santa Barbara, CA (721.5 miles!)

Eureka CA, - Redway, CA (81 miles!)

It started off like any other morning!  A 5:30am breakfast, a devotion led by Allen, and then a prayer to send us off!  Everyone was in a great mood because of the rest day yesterday!  Leaving Eureka started off with a cool foggy morning.  Most of us didn't drink a lot of water, including me, because it was so chilly!  The rest stops came slow throughout the morning!  We rode mainly along the Redwood forest and saw some beautiful sights, along with some huge redwoods!  The morning light shown through the fog leaving a misty forest, dream like sight!  Mike, Luke, Eric and I even rode our bikes through a redwood!  It was very shady in the forest, but the sights were surreal and wonderful!  I was very amazed by the size of the trees, some were over 900 years old! There were a few climbs early in the day through the trees!  At about noon God finally removed the foI
g and the sun came out!  We were happy to experience the sunshine in between the patches of trees!  Everyone's moods because even more joyous!  However, by the final rest stop my friend Eric had become dehydrated!  Not wanting to quit was completely understandable, especially with only 12 miles to go!  I volunteered to ride with him and try to keep him positive!  We drank extra water and were pushing hard up some of the hills on Highway 1!  The temperature had already reached well into the 80's by this time!  After climbing for about a mile or two we finally reached the town of Redway!  We coasted down and stopped with some riders at a restaurant for a milkshake and fries!
Then a mile later we found ourselves climbing up a 15% grade hill to the church!  Carmen had got a flat and was walking her bike up!  I met her at the top and volunteered to change it!  While we were changing the tube we noticed the church in front of us, about 100 feet ahead!  We were very happy to make it to the church!    Eric was hydrating up as he laid down, too tired to even shower!  The rest of us went to the local trailer park for showers!  Then returned for a delicious potluck meal provided by the church!  We ate very much and very well!  Afterwards we all found a nice quiet place on the floor and called it a night!  

Redway, CA - Ukiah, CA (97.5 miles!)

The earliest morning so far!  We started off with a 5am breakfast!  However, I was on breakfast duty, so my group had to get up at 4:15am to crack about 80 eggs for scrambled eggs!  We finished them just in time for breakfast!  Everyone was pleased to get some protein for such a long ride!  We ate up, filled our tires, and were sent off again with a prayer and devotion!  Going down the steep hill from yesterday was fun, but also kind of scary!  Getting up so early was exhausting all in itself, I remember thinking "i'm tired before i've even begun the ride!"  I prayed a lot for strength today, and was given much, for the hills, the sun, and the weather!  It was tough to overcome, but God does provide!  Sarah and I took the first 25 miles together easily!  The rode was pretty bumpy and took a toll on waking you up when you didn't want to!  We finally got on a regular smooth rode, but still had to climb a whole lot to reach the first rest stop at 25.  I was tired, but we were riding with Luke, who hadn't been getting much sleep the past few nights.  And there is something about seeing someone struggle more than you that will give you energy!  Luke, Sarah and I rode for about 75 miles during the day!  The view from on top of the climbs were very beautiful!  At about mile 80 there was a 5 mile down hill which was a very huge blessing to help us rest and recover!  We stopped at the last rest stop for a while and then finally made it to the church!  We missed the last turn to the church and Sarah and I finally saw Tom, who brought us back to the church!  Showers were all over the town at various places and houses.  Sarah, Tim and I were sent to the pool down the road!  A woman from the church gave us a ride there!  After the shower we all had to work up the energy to walk back and not fall asleep!  We had a delicious casserole provided by Ukiah Methodist church!  We gave a 30 minute presentation to their church about the Fuller Center!  Afterwards we all went to bed, some of the riders even slept outside!  

 Ukiah, CA - Santa Rosa, CA (67 miles!)

67 miles!  What a relief!  We were able to sleep in until about 6am!  Had a delicious breakfast provided by the church of an egg quiche!  It was very nice of them to get up so early to make provide for us!  It was another cool morning ride, me and Sarah tagged along together to the first rest stop!  During the second leg of the day we came to a bicycle race and had to stop.  The officials let us enter the course and follow it for a while until our next turn!  It was very exciting and fun riding with all of the other cyclists!  Some of the rest stop areas were handing out Gatorade and water to us!  It turns out it was the "Vineman" which is an Iron man race in California!  It's a triathlon that consists of a 4.2 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2  mile run!  It was awesome to be able to say that we were in an Iron man Triathlon, even if it was only for a few minutes!  We pushed onward to Santa Rosa, and the rest of the day crossed paths with some of the cyclists and the Vineman route!  We stopped in the town of Ross and Uncle Tom the van driver told us about the city, he used to go to college there.  There were a lot of cyclists there, and some of them said that the cops will fine you up to $345 for running a stop sign!  The sun had come out and at the last rest stop there were dragon flies all over the park next to us!  We only had another 15 miles to go!  When we entered Santa Rosa the hills really started to pick up!  They kept getting more frequent and more steep!  Finally however, we made it to the church!  After showering there at the church Sarah and I were very hungry so we decided to venture out for food!  We ended up at a Mexican take out restaurant about a half mile away!  We got two super burritos for $7 each!  They were huge and covered the entire plate!  It really hit the spot!  Then we went to a "Nick Nack" shop next door and explored the interesting inventory!
  I found a book that explained how to tie a bowling know, along with many other unusual things!  Afterwards we headed back to the church and took a nap outside!  Hannah came to wake us up about an hour later!  We had spaghetti for dinner!  I ate the leftovers after my meal, and then we hung out in the gym.  Carmen was upset because her friends weren't able to come and see her at the church.  We all talked and stretched out all of our problems and then were ready for bed!  Me, Sarah, Eric, and Hannah all decided to sleep outside that night!  It was pretty nice until about 3am when the temperature dropped under 50 degrees!  It was still a great nights sleep in my hammock!

Santa Rosa, CA - San Francisco, CA (79 mile day!)

We awoke early around 4:45am, I had to help make breakfast with my chore group!  I beat Tom Weber to the kitchen, he was very surprised!  We made about 4 dozen pancakes and some oatmeal for the team!  We all ate, had our devotion and then headed out to San Francisco!  We were all very excited because we knew that we were going to cross the Golden Gate Bridge!  The first two rest stops weren't very eventful, Sarah and I hung together again, and then we arrived in the town before San Francisco!  Tom told us more history about the area and about the bridge.  Apparently they are constantly painting the bridge, because once they finish it, the beginning needs to be painted again!  We were about 10 miles away from the bridge after the last stop and were excited!  It had really warmed up, but once we got closer the fog came in and cooled things off again.  The hills before the bridge were pretty steep and tough!
We pushed hard and finally made it onto the bridge!  It was very very crowded!  There were serious cyclists flying by, and tourists who just wanted to ride on the bridge!  It was very narrow at times and really tough to maneuver!  Finally we made it across!  You could see Alcatraz Island off in the distance!  We had to climb even more steeper hills when we entered into the city!  It was pretty much all up hill towards the church!  We climbed for at least 5 miles before we finally made it!  Everyone was in great moods and loud and cheering, but Sarah and I were tired and just wanted to eat and rest!  My laptop finally came in the mail and was waiting for me at the church!  So now I can keep the blogged updated! (Internet pending!)  The church made a wonderful Armenian meal for us!  We ate well and everyone was falling asleep early!  I went with the laundry crew to wash clothes, but we couldn't find a laundry mat that wasn't busy!  So maybe tomorrow on our off day we will venture out into the city!  Ready for bed!

San Francisco, CA - San Francisco, CA (Off day!)

I really was looking forward to sleeping in today and getting my health back up and feeling good again, but I was on the laundry team and we wanted to get it out of the way early!  So we got up at 6:45am and headed to the laundry mat as soon as it opened at 7am!  We loaded the machines and then waited!  A lot of the team went across the street to a coffee shop to hang out, but I had some phone calls to make, so I just stayed.  I called my good friend Kaityln, and had a good talk, then made an appointment with the dermatologist in Radford!  We changed the clothes over to the dryer and then waited some more!  I hung out at the coffee shop and then Allen came to get us!  We loaded up and were back by 9am!  I went right back to bed and slept until about noon!  I probably would have slept there the whole day, but Sue, Carmen, Pete and Sarah all wanted to got to Pier 39!  So they got me up and drug me with them!  Sue made me a turkey sandwich which was delicious and gave me some energy!  We all headed to the bus stop and then road it  to the Bay!  It was a beautiful sunny day!  A little cool near the water though!  We looked at all of the shops, Sarah and I bought some fun socks for biking!  Mine had a moose with sunglasses, hers a cow!  Then we headed down the road to "N and Out" Burger!  It was a first for both of us, and it was delicious!  We filled up and then went to hangout on the pier!  We looked around some more and then went back to get a bus ride!  It was tricky trying to figure out how to get back, and we had no map!  After asking someone and waiting for awhile at a stop, the bus came!  But, the bus was full and couldn't pick anymore up, so Sarah and I decided to get a cab back to the church!  We arrived in a fast manner, and then got ready for bed!  Another semi-long day tomorrow, but the rest today was very nice!

San Francisco, CA - Santa Cruz, CA (83 mile day!)

Leaving San Francisco!  It was a 5:30am breakfast as usual!  We had two new riders with us today to replace Pete and Hannah,  Dean and Chris started today for their first Fuller Center rides!  As usual I had some cereal, along with a muffin, and then filled the coolers with water!  Our devotion today was inside the Armenian Church sanctuary!  It was led by the priest and was a beautiful 15 minute service!  We sang some songs as well!  Leaving the city we had to climb even more hills!  There were a few tough ones, and the down hills were rough because there were many 4 way stop signs halfway down!  The fog only seemed to get worse the higher we climbed!  At one point I couldn't even see who was in front of me about 50 feet!  Traffic was light however this early in the morning!  We finally made it to what was supposed to be a bike path, however was actually a mountain bike path!  We climbed up the dirt/sticks/broken paved/plant infested road for over 500 feet!  At some points you could look over the edge and just see a drop into the fog!  Eric, Chris and I all ventured over the mountain together!  It really seemed like we were in Thailand or the jungle, not America!  It took us over an hour to climb to the top and then another half hour to descend!  We had to be very careful coming down, because of the turns, rocks, and holes in the path!  I almost fell a couple times, but was able to put my foot down and catch myself!  Many of the riders had a few spills, the worst was Luke who dislocated his pinky finger!  He toughed it out for the rest of the ride, after he popped it back into place!  Finally after 3 hours we made it to the first rest stop at mile 25!  This set us back along the rest of the day!  However, no matter what else came that day it definitely wasn't as bad as the first climb up that mountain!  There were more climbs along with some steep rolling hills the rest of the day!  The last 20 miles the sun came out as usual and it made the day even more enjoyable!  On the last 10 miles I found a front grill of a Subaru and mounted it to the front of my bike!  
It kept Sarah laughing for the rest of the ride!  However, it made it tough to weave through traffic once we entered into Santa Cruz!  We arrived at a church youth center near the University of California Santa Cruz!  Some of the youth there even helped prepare dinner for their 7pm service which we attended.  They had sloppy joe's and tater tots!  It was a good meal, however we were very full and tired during the service!  I think a lot of people were falling asleep!  I enjoyed the service and the worship songs!  It was cool to start the day with a service and then end with one!  We all headed back to the gym and hit the hay!  

Santa Cruz, CA - Carmel, CA (63 mile day!)

We awoke around 6:30am, a great day to just sleep in and relax!  A short ride, and not too many hills!  I woke up in the bleachers in the gym we slept in last night!  It wasn't the best nights sleep, but I definitely got enough to get me to Carmel today!  I put my bags together, had some cereal, and then helped Tom Weber fill up the coolers with Water and Squincher (an electrolyte drink).  We gathered outside and had devotions and a prayer.  Sarah and I tagged along again together for the day!  The rest stops at 25 miles and 45!  It was very foggy as usual, and my hands were actually going numb as we rode, they were so cold!  I tried to put one inside my jersey to warm them up, alternating as we pushed on.  Finally around mile 15 I started to break a sweat on an uphill and warmed up!  Sarah and I had an amazing ride through some strawberry fields!  You could smell the deliciousness, and sweetness of the strawberry aroma all around us as we road!  It brightened up the day as we pedaled!  Many workers were out in the fields picking them!  This lasted on and off for about 20 miles!  The rest stop was near a field, so while we ate we also could enjoy the nice smells!  We trekked on for the next 20, becoming more tired, and maybe a little dehydrated, because of the cold (not drinking enough).  However, after the last rest stop I made sure to drink extra water and was ok.  Along the beach it was mainly foggy until about 12pm, then the sun started to come out and the ride into Carmel was beautiful.  You could see giant mountains surrounding the town, wine vineyards were in abundance!  The grapes ran parallel to the road!  Golf courses, shopping centers, and finally the church!  We all laid outside of it on the hot cement patio while the van shuttled people to showers!  Once we returned Sarah and I decided to go check out the town.  We walked about half a mile and found a pizza place with super large pizza slices!  I ordered a whole pizza, while Sarah got a salad!  We ate for about an hour, then headed to Safeway to get some medicine!  Sarah was starting to get a cough and not feeling well!  I got a "Naked" fruit juice!  And some shampoo (I left mine at the last shower stop!).  Then we came back, I helped make dinner with my chore group!  Macaroni and cheese!  While everyone ate I checked some emails, and then quickly fell asleep!  Tomorrow's a big day!  5am breakfast!

Carmel, CA - Cambria, CA (105 mile day!) (longest of the trip!)

So i'm not sure how to begin this day!  It was cold and foggy like usual, I awoke late as usual.  Breakfast, prayer, devotion.  However, then I had a flat tire before I left the church!  I changed it out as the other riders went ahead.  Then Sarah and I headed out alone.  Lisa and Allen were sweeping behind us that day, but were pretty far back.  About half a mile from leaving the church the directions said to take a "slight right" onto Carmel Valley Rd.  Which we did.  The next turn wasn't for 6 miles, so we just road and tried to wake up!  Sarah wasn't feeling well to start with, having some sort of respiratory cold!  At 6 we didn't see the turn, then at 7 we checked the iPhone for directions.  We couldn't find anything, but it looked like this road would connect back to Highway 1.  We followed it until mile 9 and then decided to double check and ask someone.  Apparently the road connected to Highway 101 and then back to Highway 1 in about 130 miles! So we turned around and headed back!  We made it back to the church were we started at 6:30am, however now it was 8:00am.  It was looking as though our 105 mile day was going to be a 123 mile adventure!  We called the van to let them know that we were back behind!  Then pushed on!  We were planning on buying some extra water and food to carry with us and try to catch up with the van at the mile 65 rest stop!  As we pushed up one of the passed towards Big Sur Sarah wasn't feeling well at all.  We stopped on the beach and ate/ drank some, but it didn't seem to help!  The mountain was very foggy and cold, and we also didn't have any cell phone service!  So not knowing what else to do, I decided to put my thumb out and see if we could bum a ride to the rest stop!  Within a few minutes someone in a silver Mustang convertible stopped to see if he could help!  He was a very nice English man with his wife, however being that he had a mustang, he couldn't carry the bikes.  He seemed really worried just leaving us there on the side of the road, but I told him that we would be ok, and thanked him for stopping!  He gave us a water bottle and headed out!  Within maybe 5 minutes of that another person stopped!  This time with an SUV pulling a trailer!  A very nice Canadian couple got our bikes, moved things around and gave us a ride!  Will and Erin, they were traveling down the 1, and even offered us bananas!  He said that there policy on hitch hikers was a  no, but seeing us with our bikes seemed like we were really in danger, or that we had a very elaborate plan!  He was very cool and they were great to talk to and fun to ride with!  Very hospitable!  Sarah dozed off on some pillows as we road!  Then we arrived to the rest stop at mile 45!  Will, Erin, Sarah and I all had our picture taken for their trip photo album!  It was truly an adventure!  Sarah headed into the van were she slept for 4 hours straight!

 I pushed on and finished up the next 60 miles with Carmen. At some points along the ride, we were actually above the layer of fog, it appeared like we were above the clouds! Allen and Lisa swept behind us, and we arrived at the church around 5:30pm.  It was an 11 hour ride!  We were too late to get showers, so all of the riders and us just had to rinse off in the sink, change clothes and wait for another day!
We had taco's for dinner!  Probably could have used a little bit more carbs after that ride, but it was still great to eat!  Everyone was exhausted and pretty much went to bed by 9:00pm!

Cambria, CA - Santa Maria, CA (73 miles!)

We were able to sleep in this morning with a 6am breakfast!  I made it just in time to have some frosted mini spooners (which has 90% enriched iron!) and a banana!  It wasn't a long day, but after yesterday's adventure my body was ready just to sleep!  I filled my water bottles and started out on the road!  On the first turn my name "Blake" was chalked on the road with an arrow to the left!  So that I wouldn't get lost today!  Sarah and I had a nice non-eventful morning!  Enjoying the fog that clouded overhead and the cool brisk morning air!  It was about 51 degrees with 100% humidity!  Our helmets were actually dripping dew off of them as we rode!  Not too many climbs today, only one or two at 250ft.  We arrived at the first rest stop (25 miles) and had our fill of snacks and carbs!  The next 25 were pretty rough, I think I overloaded on sugar and felt very fatigued!  I didn't really say much at all for the next 48 miles!  It was tough!  After the second rest stop there was a huge hill, about a quarter mile high, probably 15% grade or more all the way up!  It came out of no where and really gave the legs a test!  Sarah and I powered up it!  Along the next part of the route we could smell delicious strawberries from the fields nearby!  The road became very flat and we were pushing 22mph for a little while!  Finally entering into Santa Maria, and finding an "In N Out Burger" in the city!  It was delicious and a well earned meal!  I ate about 1200 calories there alone!  Then pushed onto the church for a nap!  After showering of course!  Which was very wonderful after 170 miles without one!  Then awoke for dinner at 6pm and had lasagna provided by the church!  They are also making us breakfast tomorrow!  God bless these nice people at First Christian Church!  Dessert was cookies!  And we had a short presentation for those who were interested!  Resting up now for an 83 mile ride tomorrow!  Last of the week, with an off day on Sunday in Santa Barbara!  Well deserved!

Santa Maria, CA - Santa Barbara, CA (73 miles!)

Photo: 120804_001.jpgWe woke up semi-late, but still made it to breakfast and had some egg/sausage dish!  It was very delicious along with some fruit!  The route was actually 10 miles less than posted on the website, so everyone was very happy about that!  We left the church and started on a pretty much flat road.  Sarah and I pushed again together until we came up to a pretty steep and long climb.  The road kept twisting around and around so you couldn't see the top!  At the very top there was a little bit of a drizzle and I was afraid it might start raining!  But after descending down the other side it turned out to be a great day!  No rain and the sun came out!  We pulled into a gas station for the rest stop and all warmed up with some tea/coffee!  The next leg the sun came out and it got nice and warm!  We only had one more climb for the day and then it was very flat into Santa Barbara!  We took our time and enjoyed the sun, and let our legs rest some!  Dean and Chris caught up with us and all of us headed to the church together!  We showered at the YMCA and then laid outside and just soaked up the warmth!  Sarah and I went about half a mile to a gas station and bought some muscle milk to help recover!  I also bought some Chinese food and we split it!  After we got back I put up my hammock in between two palm trees and finally felt like I was in California!  I fell asleep!  We had Domino's pizza's (15) of them!  Dan volunteered to pay!  It was very kind of him!  We all ate to our fill and then a few people went outside to sleep!  Around 10pm all of the outside church lights went off and it was perfectly dark and nice to just enjoy the stars in the sky and the bugs humming all around!  Off day tomorrow and ready for some well deserved rest!