Groveland, CA to Oakdale, CA – 60 miles
Yesterday I woke up at around 7. Marv came in and asked if I would like some breakfast! After packing up I went upstairs and had some waffles and fresh fruit and we discussed the route that I would take to San Francisco. Thanks for the hospitality Marv!!
On the way out of town I stopped at the grocery store to restock on fuel and then I went to a cafe to get some coffee and wifi. I didn’t end up leaving town until around 1230 or so. There was a bit of climbing on the way out of town and then a ton of downhill including a super windy section that was a ton of fun to ride down.
After the descent there was a long slow climb and it started getting pretty hot since I had lost a lot of elevation and it was getting to be middle of the afternoon. Traffic was also pretty bad, but there was a pretty good shoulder most of the way. I took a couple of breaks on the side of the road because surprisingly enough this part of California seemed to be pretty sparsely populated. Also the scenery wasn’t especially interesting. It was super dry, a few trees, but mostly just golden brown dried up grass, like a fire just waiting to happened. I got to Oakdale and was really hot and tired, so I stopped at McDonalds. The air conditioning felt amazing!!!
After chilling for awhile I headed out again around 8 to look for somewhere to camp. I hadn’t really had to worry about finding a place to camp since before Colorado or Utah because of the surplus of public land. It was looking like tonight might be different though. When I googled camping in the area everything that came up were mobile home parks. I rode by a few and it certainly didn’t look like a place to set up a tent.
As it started to get dark and I was running out of options I decided to ride four miles outside of town to a county park that was on a reservoir. Reviews on google weren’t promising. Really dirty, loads of obnoxious people, and nasty infections after spending time there. With no other option except bush camping I went anyways. When I got there I thought they would charge me some ridiculous price to bike in and setup a tent, but it turns out that cyclists get in free!!
Although it was pretty dirty and generally smelled bad it seemed that they have started to try to clean it up. It’s amazing how badly people can muck things up when you don’t put some rules in place. It self-destructive too, because as something becomes polluted or littered with trash people don’t feel as obligated to reduce their own impact and it just become worse. I found a good spot with a picnic table and not many people around and setup my tent. Relaxed for a bit then called it a night. This was likely my last night camping for the rest of trip as I have places to stay lined up for the next couple nights. Also I think I’ve seen the last of my rural areas and with less than 100 miles to go to the coast it should be mostly urban the rest of the way. Dare I say I may be missing my tent and some solitude already…