September 22, 2015 – Sun, 90 degrees
Miles Today: 78
Miles to Date: 7,383
States to Date: 24
Yesterday I measured my distance as Mount Shasta emerged. Today I kept catching her behind my shoulder.
Everything was easier today: fewer miles, shallower climbs, more benign wind, but three marked summits over 78 miles is still challenging riding. The day began with four miles straight up California Route 89 to McCloud Summit, then a quick descent into town, where I had an early lunch for fear of no other services.
The second ascent was more gradual, through Trinity-Shasta National Forest, but ultimately went higher. There was no shoulder, but I scooted onto the soft gravel edge when the logging tricks didn’t give any ground. After I turned on to a county road, things got much more fun: a four-mile descent in a straight line – no traffic, no brakes required – followed by fifteen miles through the gorgeous Fall River Valley to McArthur, where there was an unexpected market and very friendly people.
In the heat of a cloudless sky I had to scale Long Summit, the last and highest of my day. I got flat number seven a third of the way up, but all repaired well. I pedaled to the top, and before turning east, caught my last glimpse of mighty Mount Shasta, more than seventy miles away.
I arrived in Bieber just after five, thankful that the only store was still open. Bieber’s not the kind of place one loves on sight, but everyone I’ve met here has been open and kind. When the Portuguese immigrant motel owner heard about my trip she said, “Well, I can only charge you half price.” I protested, but she insisted. A nice room, hot shower, fresh coffee and Internet for twenty-five dollars; cash. I wanted to take her picture, but she was insistent THAT would not happen.