October 28th, 2009
Miles ridden – 52
Approx total miles biked – 2695
Day to end party – 20
10/24/2009 Sometime the night before, we decided that we would not concern ourselves with how far we’d get after we left Reno. To be completely honest, we didn’t even want to leave Reno. We were 16 miles away from the California border though, so with that in mind we prepared to leave. We ate a large breakfast at the Sierra Grand and left our lovely hotel rooms.
While riding the elevator down, Sara noticed her front tire was flat. At 11am, we all thought this was sort of a ridiculous way to start the day, but no worries, we’d just do what we had to do and then ride as far as we could for the day. After a stop at the bike shop for some more tubes and patch kits (we weren’t taking any chances these days) we finally started out a little after noon. We had 82 miles to Quincy, our original goal for the day, and 50 miles to Portola – our new more manageable goal. With about 5 hours of daylight left of the day, we were ready to attack the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
After our stint in Nevada, we’d toughened up a bit so facing a days worth of climbing didn’t phase us, but we still hadn’t learned out lesson about Google walking directions. We took the old highway 395 north out of Reno until we reached on of our favorite signs, “pavement ends.” The option to turn around and get on 395 was there but after 5 days on Interstate 80, we figured a little off-roading might be nice. Two miles of steep ups and downs on a gravel road later, we rolled into a place appropriately called Bordertown and had lunch. We all ordered chicken salad sandwiches – except Caroline, who in a strange turn of events order a deep fried meat and cheese conconction called a Monte Christo – and were a little surprised when 3 tuna sandwiches came out. We didn’t want to make a big deal about it but we called the waitress over to point out the mistake all the same. She grabbed a spoon, took a bite out of Tracy’s sandwich and confirmed it, the order was wrong. We were pretty surprised at that move but she was pretty happy. She gave the cook a hard time about the mishap and said that we had made her night. Then she left the restaurant, her shift ending midmeal. It was a very strange lunch, but considering it was our last meal in Nevada it was perfect?
The rest of the ride sort of flew by. We climbed a small pass, road through a beautiful meadow and then started climbing again up to Portola. It was about this time that the mountains turned from Sagebrush Brown to Evergreen Green. It was amazing, like entering a new world.
Portola is a very cute town. Rolling in, we saw cute cafes and a bar called Jimmy’s Roadhouse, which we decided was our best bet for figuring out where to stay for the night (we saw one motel, and we were told there was a campsite 8 miles up the hill but we were out of daylight and sick of paying for motels, so we set out to find a place to camp). The bar was pretty great, some good local beer on special – Firestone – and some awesome nachos with fresh guacamole. We chatted with some of the locals and met a man named Robert who leaved a few blocks away and offered us floor space and a shower. Exactly what we needed! Especially with the 115 mile day ahead of us…