All day, Mt. San Antonio (popularly known as Mt. Baldy), over 10,000′ (3,000 meters) high, snowcapped, was visible from our hot, dry route.
Norman is a tow truck operator. He passed us this morning on his way to an assignment and resolved to greet us on his way back. He pulled over and brought Jeffrey two bottles of cold water.
After Jeffrey explained how the U.S. government treats asylum applicants, Norman agreed that asylum applicants should be provided a lawyer if they can’t afford one. He sent us on our way with a blessing to go with the water.
We liked this sign—the parrot, the old “ethyl” for leaded gas, the old prices—near Helendale, Calif. There’s Mt. San Antonio again.
Jeffrey stopped to explore the Bottle Tree Ranch.
There he met a family who were driving Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles.
These New Zealanders are sympathetic to refugees. Dave said New Zealand has accepted people rejected by Australia (which imprisons refugees offshore and refuses ever to resettle them in Australia). Jeffrey looked up the numbers; it looks like NZ is proportionately more generous than the USA. Hooray for New Zealand! Jeffrey wished the family a wonderful time as they wrap up their holiday.
In Oro Grande, we pased a huge cement plant.
The town center, such as it is, is very “Route 66”.
We had a fine time talking to passers-by.
At Victorville, we began a 20 mile (32 km) uphill climb. Often we had a headwind, and much of the pavement was terrible.
In the Oak Hills area, Gino, Jackie, and Leilani drove past us and flagged us down.
We had a nice talk about lawyers for asylum applicants, and about cycling. Leilani has a bicycle and loves to ride. Jeffrey told Leilani that when she’s a little older, she can bicycle anywhere, even to NYC. Her parents said they’ll show her NYC on a map.
Today Jeffrey pedaled us from 2175′ at Barstow, up to over 4100′ (1250 meters) at an entrance to the I-15 superhighway. He was about to get the reward for his work: a 12 mile (20 km) downhill run. But wait. Smoke!
George, who awaited us at the on-ramp, said the smoke could be choking or blinding. For safety, George ferried us 7 miles (11 km) by truck to the next exit . . . which turned out to be safely upwind of yet another brush fire. (Reminder: those 7 miles aren’t part of today’s 75 mile total. We count only the miles we pedal.) We resumed biking from there.
Away from the smoke and descending to 1200′ in Fontana (mostly on rough roads that severely limited our downhill speed), Jeffrey noticed that the dry air lacked the harshness of the air on the east side of the mountains. Here on the west side, there was a hint of freshness, of life. It evoked the scene in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath when the Joad family “gets acrost”.
We’re tired too.
But what a relief! We got through the Mojave!
Los Angeles lies ahead.
I was exhausted just reading about your ride yesterday! Glad you got through the challenging desert!
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Thank goodness you are past the desert part of this… when I read that you were riding your bike
in the desert – oy- I was thinking “Jeffrey, what are YOU thinking?” so glad it is going well ….
So beautiful — especially the Steinbeck. Thanks, Jeffrey!
By bye desert. Hello civilization. Will miss George and his helpful truck. Nancy
So interesting and so very well written. Thank you for what you are doing, Jeffrey … yes, it is important for people to “act”.
Impressive effort; impressive moral compass.