This morning, there was some commotion in camp due to a bear passing through again. It is likely the same one that had been through a few times yesterday, hoping to snag some picnic baskets. As it sauntered around the perimeter of the campground, it even pawed at some sleepy campers’ tent; the surprised yell from inside of the tent caused it to run off, although I’m sure it will be back.
The air was still very cold when we departed camp, so the initial climb felt great, but then there was a long descent. We crossed through Kings Canyon National Park, but we have decided to add that park to the future “to do” list. It probably wasn’t a great time to be there anyhow, due to a fire in the park making the area very hazy.
We made it all of the way down to 500′ from 7,500′. At about 5,000′, the temperature warmed up significantly, which allowed us to enjoy the coasting. The Sierra Nevada range has been mentally and physically challenging so far, because we have been climbing into the mountains from the valley, only to return to the valley and climb back up again a day or two later. Luckily, the scenery has made all the hard work worthwhile Tomorrow, we will climb into the mountains for the 3rd time, into Yosemite!
We didn’t have any opportunities to stock up on supplies this morning, but we had enough leftover for a decent lunch which was had huddled up in the narrow patch of shade along an exterior wall of the town post office.
Towards the end of the day, we met another cyclist named Connor. We found out that he led Bike the US for MS (link) several times within the past couple years. Last year, his riding took him around the perimeter of the country, and this year, coincidentally, he rode the TransAm route just a few days ahead of us. Now, he is riding south on the Sierra Cascades route by his lonesome. His goal is to reach San Diego by mid-September, where he will rendezvous with a new group and ride the Southern Tier route back to the Atlantic in Florida.
We spent the night in a nice motel room above Daddy’s Java Joint in the center of Auberry. Rather than go grocery shopping, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the tavern across the street, which ended up being double cheeseburgers and an appetizer sampler.
Trip stats, to date (Day 86)
Stony Creek, CA to Auberry, CA
Daily mileage: 89.3 mi ; Trip total to date: 5,112 mi
Daily riding time: 7hr 44min; Trip total time: 444hr 24min
Daily ascent: 6,762 ft; Trip total ascent: 261,509 ft
Flat tires: Rachel – 4; Chris – 5