It’s that time of year again…time to wrap gifts, send wishes of happiness and wellness to friends and family, bake cookies, stuff stockings, sing carols, and enjoy the festivities of the holiday season. It is also time to read a faithful account of our 2018 Year in Review.
Mexico to Canada
This year we decided to take a sabbatical from work to fulfill a personal goal of biking across the country. But which route? We scoured all known bike routes – and envisioned a few others – and finally chose the Sierra Cascades route, Mexico to Canada.
We started our bike tour on May 10 on the Mexico border in a tiny-spec-of-a-town called, “Campo,” ready for an adventure.
Week 1 was tough. On the very first day we ran low on water during an eleven mile climb. Dehydration was setting in when a passing motorist pulled over unprompted to give us water and encouragement for our first climb of the trip (Canadians rock). The Day 1 bucket shower was hard, but harder still were the days without a shower at all. The climbs were more difficult and frequent than we thought. Campgrounds were noisy and the mountain night air cold. We cursed the extra weight we were hauling and came down with colds and a cough that lingered for weeks. We hit The Wall that all cyclists hit when they start a long journey. We discussed abandoning the route.
Remedial action was clearly required.
We checked into a motel in Palmdale (former meth capital) for a day of rest and allowed ourselves to be sick for the day. We purchased the lightest, most compact water filter and stove we could find and shipped all unnecessary clothes and equipment home. We lowered our daily mileage, sucked on cough drops, and took a shortcut through the desert.
And then things clicked.
We embraced a new cadence. We were two cyclists whose goal every day was to bike and seek food and shelter. That was all. The terrain was varied from mile to mile and we were frequently surprised by how a day would unfold. We’d spend the morning climbing up to mountain pines only to streak down the pass into Joshua trees in high desert in the afternoon. I mastered paced, half-day climbs and Dave owned those downhills. The temperatures varied too. We’d strip down for the climbs and bundle up on twenty mile descents. We “fueled” ourselves constantly with bananas, nuts, bars and four meals a day. I even learned to tolerate peanut butter as a necessary traveling companion (I really do loathe PB.)
The scenery was stunning and exhilarating. The Sierra Cascades route is one continuous park, forest, or wilderness area. We rode through desolate Sawtooth Mts and Anza-Borrego, looked up to trees that reached the clouds in Sequoia, and exited a tunnel to see the magnificent El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite. Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay didn’t disappoint nor did the inspiring views of Lassen, Crater Lake, and Mt Rainier.
We completed our trip in Sumas on the Canada border after 52 days, 2500 miles, and 173,000 feet of climb. It was a journey like no other – physically challenging, but also a journey of the soul. It was quite the ride.
Other Noteworthy Mentions
- After biking from Mexico to Canada, you’d think Dave would have had enough, but he hopped right back on the saddle to ride Windy 500 and the Ride Across Wisconsin (RAW). For my part, my butt demanded time off and I sensibly decided to listen to it.
- Dave celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his custom bicycle frame business, Ellis Cycles!
- Mom Yakes and Dad Wages both turned 80 this year to much fanfare.
- Our garden produced a bumper crop of carrots but the tomato and jalapeño yields were a disappointment.
- The weeds appeared to be undaunted by the condition afflicting the tomatoes and flourished to new heights and density. Containment came hard this year.
And so, we come to the end of another Year in Review. Wishing you good health and great happiness in the upcoming year.
Signing off from 2018,
Deborah and Dave