July 1, Day 35 (according to Dave): Caswell Memorial Park to Livermore to San Jose!

As usual, we’re here in a library and Dave’s trying to upload photos while I’m blogging away.  There’s a speck of hope, they may be willing to burn a CD of our photos from the jumpdrive (naughty jumpdrives try to take over computers) and then we can upload.  Maybe.

Not being sure how far we were going to ride today and knowing we could take it as easy as we liked, we did the logical thing and slept in!   Ate yogurt and the rest of the oats and granola we’ve been carrying, a lighter breakfast than usual.  We’ve actually been thinking we could taper off on the amount of calories we’re eating, especially since food is not as far apart in California.  At the bathrooms, I noticed a guy staring at Dave’s legs.  They are really nice, but…   Got on the bike around 9-9:30am.

Rode about 10 miles and stopped for coffee at Jimmie’s One Stop.  Jimmie is from Yemen, has had his store 10 years and since nobody can pronounce his name properly, goes by “Jimmie”.  When I asked about a pay phone, Jimmie let me use his cordless and told me not to worry about using my phone card.  I called Jim Barnes again and left a message, called Rod and Ethel Wedel to see where they were (they’d vacationed on their way to San Jose) and talked with my mom.  Thank you Jimmie!  Met John Carpenter whose done a lot of biking in his time.  He collects bikes, he has a 1932 Schwin Panasonic with wooden rims.  He and Dave discussed routes to San Jose.   I visited with another older gentlemen who said he was a farmer, works on a local farm raising tomatoes, asparagus, apricots, almonds and beans.  He has worked on the farm all his life, never had a chance to go to school but is proud of his college-educated daughters.  I didn’t get his name or photo, but he pulled alongside us on the road and wished us well.

Before we’d gone another 10 miles, I needed to stop.   The only thing around was a winery, open for tasting on a Sunday afternoon.  Ramon Rios showed us around his small winery.  He has four acres of grapes, some already ripening, and brews about four hundred cases a year.  His father worked for a winery for over 40 years and Ramon had worked there in the summers.   He started his own winery about 5 years ago.  He had a local artist paint a mural of the local landscape with a view of the mountains over the vineyard. 

Back on the bike, it was around noon already and we’d only gone about 20 miles.   Just outside Tracy, we stopped to eat whole wheat buns with Nutella, one and a half each – not a lot, but we thought we were only about 20 miles from a larger town.  Well, we were, but a lot of that 20 was pretty hard.  You see, Dave lied when he said we were done with the mountains.  Not on purpose, he just didn’t know.  We had an 11 mile climb, most of it gentle, to the summit.  We passed the Carnegie (?) park for recreation vehicles.  Lots of trails over some pretty good hills!   We were battling a pretty stiff wind which made the 4 miles with a steep climb really tough.  Those 11 miles took about 1 hour and 40 minutes.  The ride went past the test sites for the Livermore laboratory and there were warnings all over about staying OUT.   Saw a herd of deer on top of the hill that turned to watch us as we passed.

Made it here into Livermore about 3 pm and one of the first things we saw was the library!  While there, we debated just “going for it” all the way in.  I emailed the folks I thought most likely to be there early and asked if we could crash with someone for the night.  Got a reply from Linda Shelly welcoming us, her roomies wouldn’t be there until Monday.  We decided to hit the road for another 37 miles.

We’ve been following Rick Madden’s (see the link to crazyguyonabike a couple days ago) route from San Jose up to the Western Express route and, other than our mistake the other day, it’s gone very well.   A little zigzagging to get out of town and we were on a lovely quiet road to San Jose.  While the freeway buzzed by a couple hundred feet away, we rode a parallel route that was quiet, with very little traffic and tree-shaded. 

After getting past Livermore/Pleasant View, the freeway headed straight up over the hills and we headed around them.   The way to San Jose was a long gentle, curvy, tree-shaded climb with several sightings of deer and wild turkeys.   It was a L-o-n-g way around the mountain. 

When we finally rounded the last bend, came flying downhill and caught our first glimpse of the bay, it was 8:30pm, getting downright cold on the bike, and the sun was almost down.  We stopped for a couple of pictures and headed into town. 

Once we came out of the hills, we were almost instantly in town (stopping as soons as possible for the obligatory chocolate milk).  Dave had figured out a route to the convention center, we came off Calaveras Road onto Piedmont to White Ave to Alum Rock Road/Santa Clara to within a couple blocks of the convention center and Linda’s motel.  An 87 mile day.

We wheeled our bike into the hotel lobby and started seeing people we knew immediately: Rachel Stoltzfus (my old boss), Doug and Jude Krehbiel (Road Less Traveled musicians, neighbors and fellow small group members) and others.   Linda came down and we managed to get our bike into the hotel elevator and up to the 14th floor to her room.   

Linda fed us (yes, we’d had supper in Livermore, but that was a long time ago) we showered (bliss) and hit the sack in a king size bed with way too many pillows.  Actually, I soaked in the tub trying to get all the bike grease off my legs.  I’m sure half my “tan” is actually chain lube!  I didn’t make it through a scrabble game before my brain shut down for the night.

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One Response to July 1, Day 35 (according to Dave): Caswell Memorial Park to Livermore to San Jose!

  1. Cappy Becker says:

    Yeah, You made it! Please keep in shape so you can do this again.

    How much have yo raised for the Health Workers’ bicycles so far?


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