Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 75 - It's All Downhill from Here

Since yesterday, everyone was talking about how easy the 77 mile ride was going to be today. I heard rumors that the first 40 miles was downhill and the 37 remaining miles were flat. I was not about to get my hopes up. After over 40 miles of climbing yesterday, my legs were shot and false hope was not going to make them feel any better. 

We started off descending which was promising. However, a hill soon rose up and the road followed. "I thought there was no climbing today!" said Dan, exasperated. I was afraid that my worries were confirmed, that there would be more climbing today. But, soon enough, we saw the most glorious road sign that was ever made: a downhill truck sign. We wrapped our hands around the drops on our handlebars, preparing for a long descent. 

The exhilaration was unbelievable. Our last mountain descent lasted for miles. The road snaked around the mountain, with plenty of curves to keep us alert and engaged. The scenery blurred as we gained more speed. Curtis followed behind me as I pulled up beside Dan, tucked into an aerodynamic pose. We pulled off briefly to take a few pictures at a lookout. While we were stopped, Brian summed up the descent by saying, "there is nothing better than seeing a downhill truck sign after seeing a downhill truck sign," commenting on the second sign we saw when we were already flying downhill. Again, it's the little things that make us happy!

Dan, admiring the view

We cruised downhill for miles and miles, pedaling into the descent to get the most speed that we could. Using the momentum from the descent, I pulled Curtis and Dan over a hill still traveling about 22 mph. We descended from 4,000 feet to almost sea level in less than 30 miles. 

Eventually, the land leveled out and our speed decreased. After you've been going between 25 and 35 mph for so long, even going a fast pace of 18 mph feels slow. Marcus joined our line and we took turns pulling until lunch. 

Lunch was a little different today. Our van, which we affectionately call the "Honey Wagon," is currently broken and in the shop. To make up for it, we had to rent a car, but it had to be a vehicle big enough to haul our trailer. Imagine our surprise when we saw this scene:

Our temporary Honey Wagon

About 5 miles down the road from lunch, there was a little ice cream shop selling ice cream for 99 cents! It didn't matter whether you got one scoop or three! I only got two scoops because I was feeling a little woozy. Mint chocolate hip and cookies and cream really hit the spot. 

Our wonderful hosts planned a pot luck dinner for us with the hitch community. It was fun to share stories with the community members while enjoying a hearty meal. It is unbelievable how generous people are. For dessert, I had the most delicious peach cobbler I have ever had. It was to die for!!

After dinner, we got to go over to one of the community member's home theater. They had an arcade in their living room! You can imagine the boys' excitement to discover the video games. It was funny to watch them get pretty competitive. 

Playing video games 

Entrance to the theater

Elvis is still following us after all these weeks!

The movie theater was amazing. The room was filled with theater-style seating and we got to eat freshly popped popcorn and pick from an extensive collection of soda for a drink. We were definitely spoiled tonight!

Only a 48 mile day tomorrow! Thank goodness. Tomorrow is day 11 of our 13 day stretch of riding and we are really getting broken down. A low-mileage day will be good for us. 

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