rod mclaughlin

"You go back, Jack, do it again": Yucca Valley for the new year (02 jan 20)

Bus over the Tehachapi pass, unlike my previous two bike tours in '08 and '12. Then the Hilltop Tavern and Hotel, which was interesting, but didn't have wifi.

Just like last time, I had issues with flat tires. I bought all four thornproof tires they had left in my size at Hi Desert Bikes, and had no problem with the rear one, but twice heard that horrible hissing sound coming from the front. The second time was just after it got dark, only ten miles west of Yucca Valley on the Lucerne Valley road. I couldn't see what was wrong with the tube, but I tried to replace it with another thornproof one. My pump couldn't pump it up, so I put on the one normal tube I had left, and prayed (not literally!) it wouldn't run over a nasty desert plant on the road. I recognised the huge dip in the road just before Yucca Valley, and found with my Rohloff I had no problem getting up the other side. It seemed to take forever, because when you can't see the end, it seems like it's not there. Eventually, a long descent - I braked a lot, because if I went too fast I might hit a sand bank and fall over.

It wasn't dangerous, because you're never so visible as at night in the desert. It's not your lights, but your reflective strips on bags and clothing, reflecting the much more powerful vehicle lights, which lets them see you from miles away.

Then - the main road which goes to Joshua Tree to my left. To my right - the store 'Toda Moda'. And the good Mexican restaurant. And the Super 8 motel - still run by the same Indian family, but the brat has grown up into a helpful young man, and the wifi now works. That's where I am now.

Portland London