Thursday, June 14, 2012

SF to Tahoe - Day 3 Davis to Folsom

Today is to be our "rest day".  We still have 50 miles to ride but its all flat and all of it is supposed to be on bike paths and/or bike lanes.

Before we get to that though, yesterday I mentioned how Davis is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. This morning, before the ride, I got up early and took a walk to explore downtown (and to find coffee)
In addition to bike racks all over the city, bike lanes throughout the city and a 4 bike shops in the 10 block area I walked through, I came across this little bike path.....if there are any city planners out there trying to figure out how to do bike paths....well take a look at Davis...They NAILED IT!

Anyway, after getting back to the motel, enjoying their free continental breakfast, (which btw was VERY good, they even had a waffle maker) we loaded up and got ready to head out on the bikes.  Immediately we were lost.  We tried to follow the cool bike path in the picture above, but it went the opposite direction from where we wanted to go so we headed out on surface streets.
Eventually we found the bike path that goes to Sacramento and headed on our way.  We hadn't gone very far when I noticed the weirdest thing, it looked like a sail was blowing down the path in our direction.  As it turns out, it was a low, boat looking thing that went by us.  Bill and I, after a moment of indecision, decided to chase him down to get a picture.  We turned around, stood up and hammered out after him.....well, as much I was able to hammer anyway after back to back long days.
As we chased him down, my legs began to feel like lead and my commitment to getting a picture began to didn't appear we were gaining on him at all and according to my GPS I was doing between 21-22 mph....eventually though, he came to the end of the path and had to stop for traffic. 

This gave us the opening we needed to catch him, flag him down and chat with him.  It turns out that he was on a covered recumbent and was riding from West Sacramento to Davis.  The thing was really pretty cool and evidently, since it was so aerodynamic, his pace of 21 mph was easily maintained while we were killing ourselves trying to catch him....I kind of got the feeling he saw us in his mirror and was actively trying not to be caught.
After a couple of pictures and a nice conversation, Bill and I began, yet again, to try to catch the far our "easy" day had already pushed me into the red zone more than I wanted.

After catching up to the group, we pedaled onward, making good time as we headed for Sacramento.  The bike path into Sacramento was mostly empty it being a weekday and we rolled in to Sacramento without getting lost again.  We met up with Gail and Dwight who were driving the first leg and got water and dropped off our jackets since it was already warming up.  The path then led through Old Town Sacramento and on to the American River bike path. 

From here, Dwight and Gail would head on up to the hotel at Folsom, drop off the van and ride backwards to meet up with us.  Jerry had used this process on other road trips and it seemed to be working really well on this trip too.

As had become our standard routine, Bill and I would stop frequently and take pictures then hustle to catch the group.  In most cases this worked fine and we never had any issues.  This time though, as we rode along thinking we would catch them at the next bend in the path we came to a long straight away and Bill mentioned that he didn't see them anywhere in the distance.  I in turn commented that "it's a bike path, there's no way to get lost on a bike path".  Um...well....evidently it is possible to get lost on a bike path as about 2 miles later our path ended at a major road and the others were nowhere in sight.

After discussing it for a few minutes, we called Jerry (I sometimes wonder how we ever survived without cell phones) and found out that evidently yes, you can get lost on a bike path if you miss the turn that goes across the river and picks up on the other side.
Once again, Bill and I were pushing to catch the group and this time with about 4-5 bonus miles added to our "easy" day.

The American River Bike Path is a really nice bike path and I'm pretty sure if I lived in the area, this would become one of my regular rides.  The scenery is pleasant, there are lots of water fountains and restrooms and the path itself is really well maintained.
The day continued to warm up and although it was only a 50 mile day (55 for those of us that are directionally challenged) my legs (and my butt, neck and shoulders) were feeling the effects of multiple long days on the bike. 

One of the coolest parts about traveling by bike instead of a car is the stuff you see.  Although I have driven to Tahoe literally hundreds of times, there were towns we went through that I had never seen before since they require getting off the freeway.  We rode across cool bridges, through parts of Sacramento that the freeway goes right over, and historic sites I had only read about.  One of the really cool things we saw was the Nimbus Dam trout hatchery. 

Having spent a good portion of my life in pursuit of these piscatorial protagonists (yep, that's an alliteration...impressive right?) it was really fun to see long concrete troughs packed full of rainbow trout in varying sizes.  Even better, was seeing them go crazy every time I tossed a handful of the pellets in the water.  I rarley even see trout and never see this type of activity when I'm actually out fishing so it was a rare sight.

Soon enough we rolled in to Folsom, checked into a really nice hotel, the Lake Natoma Inn, and cleaned up.  Afterwards, we set out in search of food since as much as I like Honey Stinger Waffles, having them for lunch wasn't going to work for me....
Downtown Folsom is another of those cool little towns that I've never actually seen before.  You can tell they're investing in making it a destination but on a Wednesday afternoon, the town was pretty quiet.  Dwight, who claims that chocolate is actually a food group, was thrilled to find out the town actually had a chocolate factory and we did our best not to drool all over the viewing windows as they made row after row of custom chocolate delicacies.

So, with our bellies full and our sweet tooth sated the next item on the agenda was a nice little nap.  The decision was actually a tough one though, do I take advantage of the jaccuzzi or do I take a nap?  The nap won out so the jaccuzzi would have to wait till after dinner.

A few hours later we regrouped in the lobby and headed out in pursuit of more food.  Yep, we'll burn it off was quoted once again as we sat down to mexican food and beers.  After an amazing plate of Arroz con Pollo and a couple of negro Modelos I was full once again and actually concerned that maybe I wouldn't burn it off.  I knew I had a date with a jaccuzzi later but in an attempt to at least burn a few of the calories I had taken in, several of us wandered through the one main street that makes up downtown Folsom.
Afterwards, sitting in the jaccuzzi, letting the previous 3 day's worth of riding gently wash away from my tired legs and butt, it struck me that this was indeed turning in to the trip of a lifetime and just how blessed I was to be making it.  The riding was amazing, the lodging was great and the friendship and fellowship were absolutely incredible.....this feeling of contentment and well being though was offset by the fact that tomorrow we would begin climbing up through the Sierras.

No comments: