Day 55: Final Exam #2 – Mountains

After a rough night sleep on the highway I woke up around 4:30. We ate some breakfast bars and hit the road without the normal big breakfast or coffee. The plan was to get to a fire station 15 miles down the road that we contacted yesterday and restock/rest. The ride to the station was pretty nice in the cool air of the morning but my body felt drained.

When we arrived at the firehouse the place was quiet and we couldn’t find anyone. We just kind of started cooking breakfast outside and prepping for the rough mountain ride ahead of us. The firefighters arrived (and those sleeping woke up) in the middle of our prep and spent some time chatting with us. One named Mario in particular hung out and we ended up telling stories until about 8:30am. We left with full water, some gatorade powder, and some advice on how to make it through the mountain pass.

The next five hours were spent on twisty highways navigating the valleys and hills of the mountains. There were some major climbs and exhausting moments but being in the final days has energized my body, spirit, and mind. When we reached Warner Springs we were disappointed to find out that there was not any stores in town because it is the “off season”. We set down at a park and just kind of waited for Josh, Peter, and Emily to arrive so we could figure out why to do.

While waiting the park managers arrived to do something (I’m still not sure what) and invited us in to hang out in the AC. they ended up cooking us dinner and resupplying us with water and snacks. When my friends arrived we all just hung out and talked for a while. Jake, Josh, and I took off on our bikes for a campground about 15 miles up the road while Peter and Emily drove ahead stopping occasionally for some photo opportunities.

We arrived at camp and had a great night around the fire. It was a huge highlight to catch up with my dear friends after such a long day of riding and I couldn’t be happier to have Josh ride with me to the coast. He’s been my best friend for over 20 years and it feels right to have him here for the end of my journey.

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