Oakdale, CA to Pleasanton, CA – 70 miles
Today I woke up at around 730 at Woodward Reservoir near Oakdale, CA. Made some breakfast, packed up, and set off. As I rode out of the park I heard a noise coming from my bike. Looking at my back wheel it looked a little out of true, so I unloaded the bike and flipped it over. Tweaked a couple of spokes, loosened the brake a bit, so that it wouldn’t rub if I had made it worse, reloaded the bike, and kept riding. I have found myself neglecting small issues as I start getting closer to the coast thinking that I only have a few miles to go. Hopefully I can limp across the finish line tomorrow without any major issues.
The first 30 miles or so of the ride was all orchards. Ranches and vast fields of trees lined the highway. Traffic was pretty heavy, but luckily there was a large shoulder. At around 11 I stopped at Country Skillets in Manteca for some grub. Tons of food at a decent price. Much better than I was expecting. I left feeling good. The route stayed pretty flat for awhile longer and then it started to climb and by this time I was fighting a pretty heavy head wind.
As I started climbing a small pass the wind picked up and I was riding into probably the strongest, most direct, and sustained headwind of the trip so far. My pace was only about 5 mph for the entire 6 mile climb, excruciatingly slow.
Eventually, I got through it. The wind stayed pretty strong the rest of the ride, but at least I was descending and as I got into the city it reduced in strength a bit. I was exhausted as I rolled into Pleasanton where I had contacted a Warmshowers host, Andrea. When I got to Andrea’s place I was super excited to finally arrive. The ride ended up being much more difficult than I anticipated and it was nice to shower and eat some hot food.
Andrea is currently interning at a software company in the area and goes to school at Cornell out East. Sounds like she is looking forward to giving bike touring a go at some point in the future. We talked a lot about my ride and my experience so far.
Tomorrow I will get to the Pacific Ocean and complete this chapter of my journey. It feels a bit strange. I’m excited to finished this pilgrimage that I set out to complete 81 days ago, but at the same time reluctant to finish and start to think about answering that lingering question, “What’s next?”