Jul-Sep 2013, Lassen National Forest Bicycle Tour

Planning

Current guide to maps for a trip like this is here.

Fri, 21 Jun 2013

Finished loading up the storage locker with 16 days of food (instant rice, dry-roasted peanuts, canned chili with beans). Interesting that Walmart was out of all these foods initially (at least for the particular size containers and brands I wanted), so it actually took me about 5 trips to buy everything. Not sure whether the storage locker will even be open in the case of a true emergency. My thinking is that this food will mainly help me avoid having to visit the store during a panic situation. Rather, I can pay my motel bill in advance, visit the storage locker while it is still open, bring all the food back to the motel room via bicycle, fill up my water bladders from the tap before that goes dry, then wait around for the crisis to pass. All this assumes that I'll be in Reno or able to return to Reno before all hell breaks loose. The food won't go to waste, since everything I bought has an expiration date no sooner than a year from now (June 2014), and I can rotate it, since it is what I normally eat, either on bicycle tours or while living in Reno. Next step is a handgun, ammunition, holster, concealed carry permit, plus some training on how to shoot and clean the gun, but that can wait until next year. Remains to be seen if having food stockpiled like this will free from that obsession with buying a place in the country as a bugout shelter. The $60 I paid for all the food, including a plastic tub to hold it, is certainly a lot cheaper than buying a house. Then again, it's also a lot less secure than a house, given the sorts of low-lifes in these cheap motels. (White nigger type, typical of the human garbage which infests downtown Reno, prison-style tattoos running down the side of his neck, playing rap music and cursing at his girlfriend in the room next door as I write this—"bitch, why the fuck you act like this, motherfucking bitch, I want us to be together, go ahead and call the motherfucking police fucking cunt bitch, I'll call the motherfucking police myself motherfucking bitch, shut the fuck up bitch!"—day before the police came by and hauled someone away, on and on it goes—this is why I need that handgun.)

Mon, 24 Jun 2013

Experimenting more with Nexus 7 tablet computer and liking it less and less. Works much better for internet browsing and viewing PDF files than Nokia N8 smartphone, mainly because of the much larger screen size. However, data entry continues to be difficult, so it can never substitute for a laptop. As ereaders for non-PDF files, I consider tablet computers inferior to standard black-and-white Kindles, precisely because the slick user interface and internet access is a constant distraction while reading. There is also reduced battery life (8 hrs vs 28 hrs) and extra weight (345g vs 235g) of the Nexus 7 compared to my Kindle 2. What I really need is thus a bigger smartphone. Unfortunately, I'm not impressed by what is currently available. I refuse to buy anything that is not completely unlocked, completely free of carrier customization, and available from a bonafide retailer to whom I can return the phone if defective (as opposed to used phones or phones bought from fly-by-night Chinese grey-market retailers). Only phones like that right now are Nokia N8 and Pureview 808 (running Symbian^3), older versions of Iphone, Nexus 4 running Android. I already have the N8 and the Pureview is no better for my purposes. I refuse to get locked into the Iphone ecosystem. Nexus 4 has an inferior camera, only 16MB memory and no way to add memory with SD cards, inferior construction and reliability compared to the N8. Really, all I'd be getting with the Nexus 4 is a somewhat better browsing experience. Finally, the Nexus 4 has a micro-SIM card versus the standard SIM card for the N8, so I couldn't swap easily, in case I wanted to carry both. (SIM adapters are flaky and can easily destroy a phone if the SIM slips even slightly.) Simpler to just wait another year.

Wed, 26 Jun 2013

First anniversary of giving up my apartment and becoming "homeless". Obviously, from these constant thoughts of buying a house somewhere, I haven't completely adjusted to being without a fixed place of residence. On the other hand, I have no desire to move back into an apartment, nor am I realistically up to the challenges of maintaining a house, no matter how simple. Probably I just need a few more years to adapt to this new life of motel living. I'm a creature of habit. Too many changes too fast and I become agitated. Right now, what I need is to get back on the road and spend a few nights camping under my familiar tarp. Don't want to move out this weekend because weather forecast is for very hot next week (104°F/40°C). Also, mosquitoes might still be bad and days very long right now. Still have things to read and not yet feeling restless.

Thu, 27 Jun 2013

Whole motel is becoming infested with low-lifes. Of course, it's easy enough to switch motels and I'll do so tomorrow. Renting unfurnished apartments or houses makes moving much more difficult, and owning and thus being forced to sell makes moving a nightmare. Maybe this experience with low-lifes moving in next door will be what finally cures me of my real-estate ownership obsessions. Of course, in the right neighborhood, whether renting or owning, an infestation of low-lifes would be unlikely. However, there are other neighbor problems that can't be avoided regardless of neighborhood. Rich and exclusive neighborhoods can have some of the most obnoxious people of all (refusal to admit their dog barks all day long and able and willing to spend a small fortune arguing the issue in court, etc). Not sure why all these low-lifes suddenly moved in. Everything was quiet when I moved in a few weeks ago, and also the other times I was in this motel. Won't be coming back, that's for sure. Even better than moving would be to set out on the road to Lassen. But the heat wave next week makes that inadvisable. As it is, I felt exhausted after carrying my sewing machine and other gear to the storage locker. Legs are out-of-shape for bicycling. Definitely not ready for pushing up that steep Henness Pass ascent in this sort of heat, especially since the ascent is unshaded and I'd arrive there about mid-day.

Fri, 28 Jun 2013

Moved to another motel. Nicer room, lots more floor and table space for sewing (I'm finished with that for this hiatus, but something to consider for next time), closer to storage locker via quiet side streets, expensive enough to screen the low-lifes. Lacks microwave and mini-refrigerator, but I almost never use these and they might attract low-lifes, so maybe for the best that they are lacking (probably the management thinks the same way). Air conditioner is noisy, but I can turn it off once the sun sets (probably intentionally noisy, precisely to encourage turning it off). Should have moved here to begin with. Unfortunately, they are booked full tomorrow, but desk clerk says cancellations are fairly common. Worst comes to worst, I move to another motel tomorrow then move back here Sunday.

Sat, 29 Jun 2013

Fine example of what I mean by the rich being just as potentially obnoxious as the poor. A group of solid middle-class types here in the motel decided to have a little get-together on the lawn outside my room, complete with folding chairs they evidently brought along for just this sort of thing. No cursing or foul language, just pleasant conversation and occasional laughter, not even very loud voices, but annoying in the evening nonetheless, in a way that the steady rumble of automobile traffic is not. Sprinklers came on and chased them off at 11pm, so I was spared having to complain. Now suppose I buy a house with neighbors who turn out to enjoy nightly barbecues and parties, far noisier than the gabbing of this foursome outside my room and lasting well into the night on weekends. If I complain, they respond "we were here first and no one else ever complained". And sure enough, the rest of the neighbors think such behavior is perfectly normal and that I'm the oddball. So I'm forced to go through the incredible hassle of selling the house I just bought... Need to remember to be more careful about lawns outside my room. Better yet, avoid the first floor. I chose the first floor because upper floors can be very hot in summer and it's easier to get my bike in and out on the first floor. But those are minor concerns compared to noise in the evening.

Sun, 30 Jun 2013

Moved to another motel, same chain as the one I was in yesterday, almost as close to my storage locker but in the opposite direction, upstairs this time and also away from the pool, cheaper and almost as nice as the one I was in yesterday, but quiet other than steady sounds of traffic from the nearby highway, which doesn't bother me. There's even the pretty sound of birds chirping in the trees outside. I was worried about the flat roof possibly radiating heat downwards in the upstairs rooms, but the roof appears to be well-enough insulated that I can turn off the air conditioning in the middle of the day (on a very hot day) and still be comfortable. I think this is going to be my go-to motel from now on. $225/week versus $159/week back at the place with the low-lifes, so a little less than $10/day extra for peace and quiet.

Finished reading some of Orwell's non-fiction (Road to Wigan Pier, Down and Out in Paris and London, 50 Essays), which can all be highly recommended. Loaded up the Kindle with all sorts of treasures from the Gutenberg project: Story of the Malakand Field Force (1892), Ian Hamilton's March (1900), London to Ladysmith via Pretoria (1900), Lord Randolph Churchill (1906), Liberalism and the Social Problem (1909), My African Journey (1909), all by Sir Winston Churchill, Travels in Alaska 1879-1880 (1915) by John Muir, Kitchener's Mob—Adventures of an American in the British Army (1916) by James Norman Hall, A Gold Hunter's Experience (1898) by Chalkley J Hambleton, Beasts, Men and Gods (1921) by Ferdinand Ossendowski, Expedition of the Donner Party of 1846 and Its Tragic Fate (1911) by Eliza P Donner Houghton, Memoirs of U S Grant (1885) by Ulysses S Grant, Canyons of the Colorado (1895) by John Wesley Powell, Memoirs of Casanova (1725-1798) by Jacques Casanova, Selections from the Speeches by Edmund Burke, History of Florence by Machiavelli, Wars of the Jews—History of the Destruction of Jerusalem by Flavius Josephus, History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, Art of War by Sun Tzu, Essays by Michel de Montaigne, La Barraca (1898) by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (in Spanish, to test the Harper-Collins College Spanish-English dictionary which I bought at Amazon.com—the dictionary works on the Kindle itself, but not on the Kindle app on the Nexus7 running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean). Plenty to keep my mind busy for a long time to come, and help me resist the temptation of the internet. And I just scratched the surface of what is out there. What happened to me that I stopped reading books? Was the internet addiction to blame?

I'm making a point of walking around in the middle of the day in the blazing sun with long pants, so as to acclimatize myself to heat. The heat wave should end by mid-July, but daily highs will continue to be near 95°F (35°C) for the remainder of the month here in Reno. Slightly lower in the Lassen area, but still warm, especially if pedaling or pushing uphill in the sun.

Speaking of weather, there's a theory making its way round the internet that methane released from melting tundra in the arctic and methane hydrates on the sea floor will drastically speed up global warming. Fascinating predictions of crop failures, widespread famine and most of the world uninhabitable by humans as soon as 2030, when I will not even be 70 years old. There go all my plans to live to 100. Better hurry up and enjoy life while I still can!

Fri, 5 Jul 2013

Some jerk in the room next door left their dog alone in their room and it barked much of yesterday evening. Able to drown out the noise more or less with the air conditioning fan. Manager assured me this morning that whoever was staying there was moving out today. But the dog is still in there right now, yapping away. Easy enough to say "what do you expect in a motel?" What must be remembered is that owning a detached single-family house could be just as bad or worse. I grew up in an owner-occupied detached single-family house in a middle-class neighborhood, part of a family responsible for disturbing the whole neighborhood with barking dogs. When the neighbors complained, my father responded that he would spare no expense fighting them in court if they sued. One of the neighbors then poisoned the worst of these dogs (or so we suspected), and at this point in my life I must say I think these neighbors were in the right. My father spent a small fortune on veterinary bills to nurse the dog back to health. As soon as he came home from the animal hospital, the dog resumed his non-stop barking. Long after this dog died and I had moved away, my sister moved into the old family house with a new pack of dogs that yapped all day when left alone. In other words, detached houses, whether owned or rented, whether in rich neighborhoods or poor, are no guarantee of peace and quiet. Obviously, I'm being punished now for the bad karma of my relatives. Not sure how to overcome that bad karma. [The dog shut up soon after I finished writing this paragraph and there was peace and quiet the rest of the evening. Not sure what happened.]

Decided to start out on my Lassen trip this Sunday, since there's a break in the heat wave this weekend, plus the open road is once again calling me. Heat will return later next week, but not so bad, with the forecast for Susanville no more than 95°F (35°C) for the rest of the month. Higher elevations should be milder. Plan is to remain in the Lassen/Modoc area until end of August, then two weeks in Reno, September 15 through end of October bike touring Nevada, November in Reno, December and January bike touring the Mojave, February in Reno, March through May hiking in Spain, June in Reno, then repeat the whole cycle over and over until I die. Total each year of 4 months in Reno, 5 months bike touring in the western United States, 3 months hiking in Spain.

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 (24 miles in 3:29 hours)

Starting odometer 5342 miles.

Made it up Henness Pass without any pushing. Not sure why I remembered that stretch as being so difficult. It's only 1200 feet in 3 miles, or roughly 8% grade. Lower gearing certainly helps, though I was also probably carrying more food and water last year, due to uncertainty as to the resupply situation. Camped same place as last year, another example of how everything easier the second and subsequent times visiting an area. I'm not the adventourous type, other than when starting up a new activity, which is what bicycle touring is for me at this point. Once I find a routine that works, I stick to it. So expect to see me revisiting the Lassen, Nevada and Mojave areas for decades to come, with no curiousity whatsoever about bicycle touring in other areas of the world. Some biting flies but no mosquitoes, thankfully. Feels good to be back on the road. That hiatus in Reno was just over 4 weeks, which I've noticed before is about my limit before restlessness sets in.


view from henness pass road

Mon, 08 Jul 2013 (49 miles in 5:06 hours)

Splitting headache from caffeine withdrawal, starting late yesterday evening and continuing into this morning. My body addicts itself very readily to caffeine, even mild doses from milk chocolate and green tea, and then goes through convulsions during withdrawal. I really need to avoid that stuff altogether. Picked up some food in Loyalton. While eating, overheard someone complaining about a catch-22 situation with the county government, unable to get registration changed without proof of ownership, unable to get proof of ownership until registration changed, something like that. Petty bureaucrat throwing his weight around and acting like a jerk, and no way to get around him because he's the only person in the tiny department he manages. An example of why small towns are no sure refuge from the woes of the big city. Moving someplace like this to get away from gutter-mouthed Reno white trash could easily amount to jumping from the frying pan into the fire. No, staying liquid and mobile is the way to go, even though this goes against my security and routine loving nature.

Camped again at same place as last year, in the patch of forest a mile or so north of Clover Valley Ranch. Based on my notes from last year, mileage this year is 3 miles less. Maybe I took some detours last year, or maybe the bike computer was setup wrong then or is setup wrong now. Hebie chainglider already covered in dust. Doesn't appear to be accomplishing much in the way of keeping the chain clean, though I won't know for sure until I open it to inspect. Ran into a swarm of grasshoppers in Clover Valley. Had to put on my headnet to keep them from crashing into my eyes.

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 (20 miles in 2:24 hours)

Camped in the Genesee valley, just off a dirt road that runs west from the Beckwourth Genesee road just before the Flournoy bridge (not shown on the forest service map, but running between 25N42 and the river). Short day but that's not a problem now that I have the Kindle ereader. The only reason I hiked/biked 4-5 hours daily on previous trips was I was substituting physical exercise for mental exercise, due to lack of reading matter. With the kindle, I can satisfy my need for physical exercise in only two hours and then spend several hours reading to get mental exercise, and then spend the rest of the day idling about, listening to the birds and the ruffling of leaves in the breeze (plus the buzzing of flies, a less pleasant sound). Not sure why the kindle didn't satisfy me when I tried it initially two years ago on the Pacific Crest Trail. Maybe because I had it loaded up with novels then whereas now it's mostly non-fiction. The Churchill books (see above) are especially good. Great thing about the bike is that I can cover 20 miles in that two hours of physical exercise, whereas two hours of walking would only be about 7 miles, which is not even enough to get across a medium-sized city. Dry heat is frightful, another reason to prefer sitting around reading to bicycling.


red clover creek

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 (25 miles in 2:41 hours)

Dirt road I camped near runs over forest service land initially, then continues as a private road all the way to the Taylorsville-Beckwourth road. I legally camped just before the road left the forest and entered the Heart K Ranch, now managed by the Feather River Land Trust and open to the public for day use. After the ranch, the road crosses a gate with no trespassing sign on it, which was unlocked when I passed through. Using this dirt road route cuts a few miles off the paved Genesee valley road. However, that Genesee valley road is very quiet, so avoiding it is not that important.

Mosquitoes present starting about an hour before dusk and then in the morning until about an hour after dawn, so easy to avoid by getting into the bugbivy early and then lingering there until the sun is up. None during the day, which is merciful, since it would be miserable to have to put on the headnet and wear long sleeves and pants legs in this frightful heat. Headache finally gone. I'm swearing off caffeine for good, at least in the United States: no more chocolate, no more tea. Lunch at Taylorsville. $60 incl tax for room at Sierra Lodge in Greenville. Had to carry bike up long staircase and then not much space in room. Okay because I'm alone. A couple would have to make some other accomodations for their bikes. Raspberry truffle ice cream was delicious. I think I can learn to live without chocolate.

Thu, 11 Jul 2013 (13 miles in 2:32 hours)

Used 28N38 to get to Greenville Summit, then descended towards mountain meadows reservoir. This lower first gear is really handy (15.4 gear inches in gear 1 with the 36/17 combination versus 17.9 gear inches with the 42/17 combo I was using last year). Temperatures much lower than a few days ago, probably upper 80's, though still very hot when ascending in the sun. Peaceful here in the forest.

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 (24 miles in 3:08 hours)

Picked up some supplies and water in Westwood.

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 (26 miles in 3:12 hours)

Sunburned myself yesterday riding shirtless. I should have gotten a base tan back in Reno. Riding shirtless is the way to go in this heat. Supposedly, this was a low snow year, which might explain the minimal problems with mosquitoes. Even in big snow years, there shouldn't be mosquito problems from July on in the western part of the forest, towards Hat Creek Rim, since that is both moderate elevation (under 6000 feet) and extremely dry in summer, because of how the water percolates down through the volcanic rock rather than forming lakes, marshes or streams. Map shows 31N26 crossing Highway 44 and continuing as 31N06, but in fact the road is blocked by the railroad and some barbed wire fences. I was able to portage the bike across the obstacles, but it was a nuisance.

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 (33 miles in 3:23 hours)

Somehow lost the flip-top part of the MSR 3-in-1 cap of one of my bladders that was being carried in the front pannier. I typically unscrew this flip-top part to allow drinking, the screw it back on before replacing the bladder in the front pannier. Evidently, I didn't screw it on tightly. Replaced with the spare in my repair kit. Paid $50 including tax for room at the Apple Inn in Susanville. They asked me to store bike in woodshed rather than room. Not a problem. Nice room, but River Inn has a better location for me, which is worth the extra $5.

Mon, 15 Jul 2013 (34 miles in 4:42 hours)

Mosquitoes can be a problem even during the day and even at moderate altitudes, if you make the mistake of stopping near a marshy area, as I discovered today when I stopped for lunch at a bad location along route 112. A few miles further on along this same road and no mosquito problems. Feeling exhausted from the heat, even though forecast is for only 90°F in Susanville and surely slightly less at 1500 feet higher elevation. Such is the effect of that brutal mid-day sun when pedaling uphill. When resting in the shade, the heat is much more tolerable. The sunburn is gone, so tried going shirtless and hatless again, for 30 minutes, so as to build up a protective tan.

Tue, 16 Jul 2013 (27 miles in 3:42 hours)

Drizzled a bit last night. I was sleeping without tarp and thought drops on my face were part of a dream. Water evaporated by morning. Reading the memoirs of Casanova, interesting and tedious at the same time, so that I'm always enthusiastic about resuming where I left off, but soon grow bored, hence very slow-going, like a page a day. Could be years before I'm finished these memoirs. Compare with Churchill who I can hardly put down. I'm reminded of a quote by Quentin Crisp: "at least after middle age, sex is the last refuge of the truly miserable". (Though Crisp sometimes seeks the bon mot even at the expense of the whole truth and nothing but the truth.) Currently, I'm slogging through the memoirs of Casanova's twenties, but he was writing while in his sixties, so that quote still more or less applies. He confesses to being miserable because he can no longer perform and yet is still inflamed with desire. Visited the firewarden at the Harvey mountain lookout tower. He appears to be in his sixties. Says he works only part-year and travels to western Australia in the winter (Australia's summer). RV'ing, presumably. Must love the heat. Family of chipmunks living under the lookout building, which the firewardens take turns feeding. Better hope they aren't infected with hanta virus or plague.


pine creek valley


view south from harvey mountain firetower

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 (21 miles in 2:50 hours)

23 liters of water capacity is definitely a good idea, given that I'm burning through at least 6 and probably more like 8 liters a day from all this sweating in the heat. My old version of the Lassen bicycle touring guide listed 12 liters as adequate, but I'm going to update that. Amazing that no one bicycle tours here but me. Not that I dislike having thousands of square miles of forest to myself. (Which makes me ambivalent about these trips reports and my guide to bicycle touring this area. It seems selfish not to share, but then again, I'd hate the place to become crowded, especially with noisy motorbikes and ATVs. Ideally, the only people I'd be sharing with are the sort of people I want to have around, as opposed to noisemakers.) I can't believe equipment is the problem, since any standard touring bike with four panniers and decent tires would be adequate, and the difficulty level is small compared to hiking the Appalachian or Pacific Crest trails. Probably the main problem is no bragging rights to be obtained simply wandering around enjoying oneself.

I remember several years ago listening to some PCT thru-hikers near Lake Tahoe wondering aloud what was the point of all this punishment they were suffering. This was in early July, height of mosquito season (and mosquitoes north of Yosemite are ferocious and present all day and night, nothing like the feeble creatures here that only venture out an hour before sundown) but also too hot to wear long pants, long sleeves and a headnet, so that they were all bitten up and also half-starved from lack of food. I was just beginning a section hike north myself, since I'm smart enough to avoid the High Sierra until late August, when mosquitoes there become tolerable and stores are all open so that resupply is less of a problem. "Two places where the most people drop out are Warner Springs and Lake Tahoe", said someone. A crazy-looking guy in his fifties, with long dishevelled hair and beard and wearing a filthy tee-shirt stained brown from dirt, pointed his finger, distorted his face and burst out angrily in reply: "You're giving yourself permission to quit when you talk like that!" Later on, he burst out again: "You can't hike without goals!", by which he presumably meant hiking the entire PCT in a single season without skipping sections or otherwise "cheating". To which I replied that my own goal was simply to pass the time as pleasantly as possible while waiting to die. That last part about "while waiting to die" sounds shocking, but my attitude is typical of sane retirees who wander about in RV's, like that firewarden I talked to yesterday. Of course, most retirees are too fat or decrepit to hike the PCT or bicycle tour (the firewarden had a big pot belly, for example). Whereas the view that hiking and bicycle touring is all about goals is more typical of the average hiker and bicycle tourist. Scoring points, racking up feats to be listed on one's facebook wall or webpage, receiving certificates of completion, forcing oneself to continue even when no longer enjoying things because quitting is not permitted, etc. Ray Jardine is among the worst examples of this goal mentality. He even started an organization (American Long Distance Hikers Association) whose main function is to stage an annual awards ceremony and hand out certificates of achievement to people who complete the so-called "American Triple Crown of Hiking", meaning the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails. I'm not sure if you have to hike all these trails as thru-hikes or whether section-hiking is acceptable. I am sure that taking detours to visit grocery stores without backtracking is outlawed, and I did that on both the AT and PCT, plus I section-hiked these trails, plus I have no desire to hike the CDT—in fact, I have no desire to do any more hiking the United States, because it's all just a big pain-in-the-ass compared to dirt road bicycle touring—so no way I'm getting a certificate to hang on the wall of my storage locker, which is the only wall I have to hang things on at this point. Boo-hoo. Right now, Jardine is planning a grand motorcycle tour around the entirety of the continent of Australia, probably trying to beat some speed record or otherwise do something that no one has every done before so he'll have bragging rights to yet another spectacular accomplishment which he can add to his resume. Compare with that firewarden who just drives around more or less aimlessly in the desert of Western Australia during his vacations. Nothing impressive about that. I learned a tremendous amount from Jardine—Beyond Backpacking was like a bible to me when I was starting out hiking—but like a lot of geniuses, Ray has a dark side. I got sucked into that goal mentality myself to some extent initially, though I've since mostly emancipated myself. (These trip journals were started as a tool to improve myself and quit making the same mistakes over and over, and that continues to be their main function, as opposed to trying to impress everyone with my accomplishments. Though perhaps it is impressive that I'm managing to enjoy myself, since many early retirees fail at that basic task.)


little valley ranch

Thu, 18 Jul 2013 (31 miles in 4:12 hours)

Descended to Old Station via highway 44 for resupply then reascended. Very dangerous, especially the ascent. I'll never try this route again and I strongly advise against anyone else bicycling it. See my Lassen bike touring guide for photos of this road.


reservoir for the cattle, most of the water sources are like this, which is why I carry water from town

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 (20 miles in 3:40 hours)

Hot day and lots of uphill, but my base tan is now good enough that I was able to go shirtless much of the way. Camped north of Caribou wilderness. Mosquitoes horrible in evening, but bugbivy protected me. Not a problem during heat of the day, thankfully.

Sat, 20 Jul 2013 (24 miles in 2:57 hours)

Mosquitoes horrible in the morning, so that I had to cut my exercise short and skip breakfast. Whole area around Caribou wilderness is mosquito-infested. Avoid this area in the future. Loaded up with water at Bogard rest area.


area north of cone lake, higher altitude and hence mosquito infested in the evening and morning

Sun, 21 Jul 2013 (34 miles in 4:02 hours)

Decided not to go into Chester for the night. Too much hustle and bustle. Peaceful here sleeping in the forest, even if hot. Bathed in a cold mountain stream to cleanse myself of salt.

Mon, 22 Jul 2013 (28 miles in 3:19 hours)

Bought food in Chester, charged kindle and smartphone at public library, used wifi there to browse internet. Rode down the Lake Almanor bike trail, then camped on Old Haun Road.


lake almanor on a breezy day

Tue, 23 Jul 2013 (36 miles in 4:51 hours)

Picked up some fresh food in Westwood, camped along the Bizz Johnson trail. Rained a bit in the afternoon, with thunder in the distance. A little rain to bring the temperatures down would be quite welcome. Pitched tarp for the first time on this trip.


mountain meadows reservoir

Wed, 24 Jul 2013 (26 miles in 2:38 hours)

Removed the Hebie chainglider to inspect the chain. Looks about as filthy as if I hadn't been using the chainglider. Cleaned the chain with citrus cleaner from the auto parts section of from Walmart (less than $3 for almost a liter, versus almost $10 for half that at the bike shops), then relubed. Adjusted bottom bracket eccentric to tighten chain by one notch. Had some trouble reattaching chainglider. Decided to chuck it, then had second thoughts. The front part does protect my pants from being dirtied by the chain, after all. So just chucked the rear part. $55 including tax for room at River Inn in Susanville. Feels good to wash up. Went too long without a bath. Should have stopped in at Chester a few days ago.

Thu, 25 Jul 2013 (26 miles in 3:38 hours)

Wine yesterday was a mistake. Didn't sleep well and woke up with a headache this morning. I think I'm going to fit the long pins on my pedals, since the short pins have worn and my feet slip now unless I position the pedals under the center of my foot, but that causes me to lose power compared to putting the pedals under the front of my foot. Might have to buy new pedals if I can't unscrew these tiny pins, or if I lost the longer pins. Should have brought sand stakes, since much of the ground in these forests is sandy. Evening storm with pounding hail for over an hour.


setting up camp, just before the heavy hailstorm hit

Fri, 26 Jul 2013 (24 miles in 2:51 hours)

Temperatures mild in morning for a change, due to clouds. Thinking I should replace sealant with thorn liners. Sealant is something of a hassle, after all. Tubeless is another possibility, though that is really a hassle to setup, from what I understand.

Sat, 27 Jul 2013 (20 miles in 2:55 hours)


grass valley and black mountain in the distance

Sun, 28 Jul 2013 (12 miles in 1:38 hours)

Hiked a bit. Felt naked without both hiking stick and shoulder purse and so went back for these after initially starting out without them. Some difficulty finding my way back. I had taken a GPS fix before setting out, and carried the GPS with me, but even so the bike was amazingly difficult to spot, even though I had also taken the precaution of hanging my blaze orange hat cover on the handlebars to improve visibility.


ladder butte cinder pit


buck (male deer) in center of photo, about 200 feet away from me, easy shot with either bow or rifle, alternating light and dark makes for great camouflage, which is why I had such trouble finding my bike after I hiked away from it

Mon, 29 Jul 2013 (39 miles in 4:58 hours)

Road 35N13, which supposedly runs north from forest route 22, is overgrown and eventually withers away to a horse trail and then nothing. Pushed cross-country several miles to St John Ranch, where I picked up solid gravel road 8S001. Cassel to Fall River road is very quiet, so that is a safe way into Fall River. Having verified this, I decided to skip Fall River in favor of Burney. Dirt road shown on map, running south from Cassel road to highway 89 has been blocked off, probably because it runs through private property. So took the Cassel road, which is quiet. Then a half mile north from Doyle's corner to the dirt road heading west to Burney, which runs through timber company land but is open to the public, and which eventually turns into Mountain View road and enters Burney by the east side. $67 including tax, after cash discount, for room at Shasta Pines Motel in Burney. Close to the Safeway grocery store where I resupplied. PCT thru-hikers still dribbling through town. Tossed a micropur tablet into each bladder and bottle, since it's been over 3 weeks of use.


moon spring

Tue, 30 Jul 2013 (26 miles in 3:53 hours)

Owner of motel has Rohloff-equipped Koga Miyata city bike which he showed me. Shimano dynamo front hub powering headlight and hydraulic Magura rim brakes. He lives in Roseville but had to come to Burney to run the motel himself because his manager quit on him. So apparently the bike was intended for use in the Roseville area. Certainly a city bike makes more sense there than here in Burney. He supposedly has two other bikes in his garage. Maybe one of those is a mountain bike suitable for the dirt roads around here.

Took the dirt road that runs south from Mountain View road just west of Doyle's corner. Followed this road to highway 89 just north of Brown Butte. Along the way, spotted a large brown-colored black bear running into the woods to escape me. Less than a mile on highway 89 before turning onto 6R201, which is quiet. Stopped in at the University of California radio observatory, where a woman mentioned several bicycle tourists killed on highway 89 in recent years: "Don't be a fool, dirt roads rule. Don't want to die? Kiss the pavement goodbye." Long hot ascent to Hat Creek Rim.

Hebie chainglider was making noises on the way out of Burney. Plastic starting to be pulled out of shape by the chainwheel. Decided to chuck the contraption at the observatory, since that would be the last place with a garbage can for several days and I don't like the idea of just throwing trash by the side of the road like a hoodlum. Noticeable difference in how easily the pedals moved with the chainglider off, so evidently it was causing more drag than I realized. Question now is whether to order the Thorn chainguard or not. The chain is constantly dirty, but this is mostly dry dirt now that I am using a lightweight silicone chain lube, so maybe getting my pants dirty is not that big a problem anymore. Decisions, decisions.


radio observatory, listening for signs for intelligence on other planets

Wed, 31 Jul 2013 (18 miles in 2:56 hours)

Instead of two months in the Lassen area, then return to Reno, then a month bike touring northern Nevada, combine Lassen and northern Nevada into a single long trip, for a total of three long trips per year, returning to Reno between each trip: hiking in Spain (Mar to May), bike touring Lassen and northern Nevada (Jul to mid-Oct), bike touring the Mojave desert (Nov to Jan).

Thu, 01 Aug 2013 (32 miles in 4:34 hours)

Mosquitoes buzzing furiously in frustration last night around the bugbivy, but none this morning. Based on vegetation here, this is probably wicked mosquito territory earlier in the summer or even now in big snow years. First cool day of this trip. Had to put my shirt on while sitting in the shade for warmth. (I'm going shirtless much of the time while riding because I now have a good tan.) Spotted small bear near cone mountain, running from me. Doesn't seem to be much to eat around here, other than grass and manzanita berries, so I'm not sure how these bears survive, much less how they fatten themselves up for winter. Bee stung me while sitting at lunch.


campsite near blacks mountain

Fri, 02 Aug 2013 (34 miles in 4:01 hours)

Cool both morning and evening, zero mosquitoes. Jerks on motorbikes buzzed me while heading towards eagle lake. Don't see too many of these elsewhere in the forest, which is a mercy. Bought some snacks at the Eagle lake marina store, plus picked up a few liters of water. Checked email and latest news using the internet connection at the store.

Sat, 03 Aug 2013 (36 miles in 3:19 hours)

Place where bee stung me on arm two days ago is still swollen. Hate to think what several dozen stings would do. First bee sting since I was a child maybe 40 years ago, so I've forgotten what these feel like. $55 including tax for room at River Inn in Susanville. Cleaned and lubed chain again—this procedure is becoming very easy now that I've simplified and practiced it. Not much more work than brushing and flossing my teeth. I'm thinking the chain guard is unnecessary if I keep the chain reasonably clean. Noticed some hairline cracks in rear tire, probably from the constant flexing. Need to swap with front tire. Another heat wave forecast for middle of this month, but not so bad this time (95°F/35°C daily highs). Half bottle of wine in the evening, rather than a full bottle like last time.

Sun, 04 Aug 2013 (31 miles in 3:51 hours)

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 (27 miles in 3:44 hours)

The really fascinating thing to me about Casanova is not his endless love affairs but rather how he always manages to have money despite being born poor, never inheriting money, and never doing any real work. And it's not like Italy in the 18th century was that rich. Indeed, most of the non-aristocrats then were desperately poor. At least in this early period of his life, Casanova's big break was saving (or giving the appearance of saving) the life of a rich old Venetian bachelor nobleman, who then made Casanova his adopted son, complete with a monthly allowance. Ostensibly, this was out of gratitude but probably a bigger factor was that Casanova livened up what was otherwise a very boring existence. Casanova multiplied this allowance through profitably gambling at the game of faro, either by associating with cheaters or else taking the role of the bank, either way getting the odds slightly in his favor. Compare with Orwell in Down and out in London and Paris busting his ass 12 hours/day as a kitchen helper just to keep from starving, and Paris in the 1920's was surely as rich as Venice in the 18th century. To speak nothing of those ghastly coal mines Orwell describes in the Road to Wigan Pier. Some people have the magic touch, some don't. (Obviously, Casanova also had the magic touch with respect to women.) Alas, as fast as the money pours into Casanova's pockets, it pours out. Yet another life I wouldn't want to live myself. The famous lines of Dryden come to mind: "Strange cozenage! none would live past years again, / Yet all hope pleasure in what yet remain; / And from the dregs of life think to receive / What the first sprightly running could not give." One can derive a philosophy of life from reflecting carefully on those lines. Namely, live each day such that you would want to live it again. In particular, scrupulously avoid pain even if it means giving up some pleasure, because it is the prospect of reliving pain that makes reliving past years so dreadful. No amount of pleasure compensates for even a slight amount of pain. Also, worry less about trivial pain like mosquitoes and heat waves and sunburns and bee stings and hangovers from drinking too much wine, and more about mental pain: guilt, anxiety, boredom, resentment of one's job, etc. Trivial bodily aches and pains are no reason not to relive past years, mental pains are another story. In humans (but not in animals), spirit is more powerful than body and soul.

Camped south of Jessen Valley, after following various almost abandoned dirt roads not shown on either GPS or forest service map. Lack of people here perhaps not that surprising. To bicycle tour requires time, money and a healthy body. Only the financially independent (mostly meaning retirees with pensions) and the unemployed have time, but the latter lack money and the former mostly lack a healthy body. Also required is a genuine love of the outdoors and travel for its own sake, as opposed to wanting to impress people and thus always being a rush to get the journey over with and get home and tell everyone what you did. Days that you wouldn't want to relive are days lived wrong, at least for those who are financially independent and so aren't forced to do anything they don't want to do. Legends told on the Appalachian Trail about people who live permanently on the trail, suggest that most hikers realize subconsciously that they are doing things wrong by hurrying up to get to the finish line.

Another factor to explain why even healthy retirees don't come up here to bicycle tour (because there are some healthy retirees, not everyone is obese and decrepit), would be resistance to try new things as one gets older. I'm lucky, in that I started traveling in middle age. But already, I'm becoming set in my ways and less and less willing to experiment. For example, it occurred to me to visit the north California coast next July, to avoid the heat here in the Lassen area, but immediately all sorts of objections presented themselves to my mind. The objections were valid, but the speed at which they popped to mind indicates that rigidity is setting in. This applies to other aspects of life, as well. I need to get my routines in order while I can still change, because a day will come when change will be next to impossible. In particular, I need to resolve my housing issues.


so-called mosquito flat, not that I noticed many mosquitoes during the day

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 (28 miles in 3:48 hours)

Tightened mirror which was loose due to dropping the bike yesterday when it got stuck in a rut. Also tightened bottle holder bolt that was loose.


view north towards dixie valley and the mountains beyond

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 (34 miles in 3:44 hours)

Rained off and on last night and this morning, plus thunder and lightening to the south. Didn't have the tarp up but rain was light and soon evaporated. This rain was completely unexpected, because skies were blue in the afternoon. Need to remember that weather can change rapidly. Should have brought sand stakes and stretch pullover, to allow heading straight into the Nevada backcountry in September rather than first stopping by Reno. $67 including tax, after cash discount, for room at Shasta Pines Motel in Burney. Put micropur tablets into each bottle, as these are starting to smell again. Never have problems with the bladders, whereas these Nalgene bottles pick up smells very quickly for some reason. Can't believe it's just because they are clear and hence let light in, because I used generic plastic bottles while hiking and never had problems with those.

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 (20 miles in 3:58 hours)

I'm traveling along the west side of Mount Lassen, as an experiment. West on Highway 299, south on Tamarack road, 32N16, 32N24, 32N17, a short stretch on highway 44, 31N17, a short stretch on highway 36, highway 172, another short stretch on highway 36, 29N25A, 28N88, then the dirt road (not shown on forest service map) which runs south of and parallel to highway 36, a short stretch on highway 36, 28N78, 28N79, 28N30, and finally the last few miles on highway 36 to get to Chester. Should take four or five days.

Fri, 09 Aug 2013 (25 miles in 3:37 hours)


west side of mount lassen

Sat, 10 Aug 2013 (26 miles in 3:57 hours)

Several streams running down from mount lassen and crossing the roads I'm on, clean and suitable for drinking, but I've gotten in the habit of carrying my water at all times just in case. Picked up some more water at the Park headquaters. Ice cream at store/motel/restaurant in Mineral. Camped near Mineral Summit. Female deer passed about 20 feet in front of me as I was sitting reading, looked at me curiously then ran off when she caught my scent. I don't think the eyesight on these deer is very good, whereas hearing is excellent and also smell is is pretty good. Can't do much about smell, but smell only affects downwind deer, whereas sound is easy to control. And yet the hunters all wear camouflage, which does nothing from what I can tell other than hide them from other humans, and then they make a lot of noise. But I'm not a hunter so maybe I don't know the whole story.

Sun, 11 Aug 2013 (34 miles in 3:40 hours)

Sign on Seneca motel said come back at 3pm, so I did my grocery shopping and checked the internet at the public library and then came back at 4pm, and now the sign said come back at 7pm. Didn't feel like waiting so went and camped outside of town. Motel is for sale for $450K, including 3bedroom-2bath owner's unit, plus 6 rooms with kitchenettes and 6 rooms without, huge lot, workshop. I don't enough about the motel industry or this particular motel to know if that price makes sense. Not a business I want to be in. Might make sense for a group of people to run as a collective. Tear up the parking lot for a garden. Keep maybe 6 units operating as a motel during the high season to bring in cash income, use these units for extra living space for the cooperative members during the low season. Motel is off the main road and thus very quiet, which is advantage for long-term occupants, but also gets less business due to that location. There are also two closed motels for sale here in Chester, both on the main road. Town not doing too well, though grocery store offers all sorts of luxury food items for sale. Issue is the bifurcation of income/wealth distribution. The rich are doing fine, but they either they own or rent fancy vacation houses on Lake Almanor, and the dwindling middle class stays in the more upscale Best Western motel or else in RV parks. Cheaper motels in Chester catered in the past to the vcationing working classes, but the working class can no longer afford vacations. Which leaves the transient working class, which is a good part of the Seneca clientele now, or such is my impresssion. Temporary construction workers and whatnot who rent by the week, putting two or more per room to keep costs down. Plus PCT thru-hikers during July, which is how I first came across the place. Egalitarianism is over and aristocracy is reemerging. Maybe a little slower in places like Scandinavia, but the forces pushing for an aristocracy based on merit and inherited wealth are probably unstoppable at this point.


gurnsey creek meadows

Mon, 12 Aug 2013 (26 miles in 3:30 hours)

Cordlock on bugbivy tunnel broke. Replaced with spare from repair kit.

Tue, 13 Aug 2013 (28 miles in 2:31 hours)

Mosquitoes horrible last night, not sure why since area seems dry. But bugbivy protected me and they were mostly gone in the morning and the few that did show up in the morning were easy to kill. John Muir doesn't discuss mosquitoes in his Alaska memoirs. Is this because there are no mosquitoes on the Pacific coast, or because they don't bother him? And not just Muir. All of humanity had to suffer from those diabolical creatures prior to the invention of mosquito netting. No wonder the consensus of philosophers prior to modern times was that life wasn't worth living. Not that any of them put their theories into practice by committing suicide (other than Pyrrho the skeptic, I believe it was, who hung himself when he got a toothache). $55 including tax for room at River Inn in Susanville. Cleaned and lubed chain. Feeling some indigestion. Could be psychosomatic, could be allergy to one my trail foods (whole wheat bread, cheese, instant rice, dry-roasted peanuts), could be illness of some sort. Decided to cut out the peanuts, to test the allergy hypothesis. No peanuts means weight loss, opening the door for more icr cream consumption during town stops. But no chocolate or coffee ice cream. Don't want to reawaken that caffeine addiction.

Wed, 14 Aug 2013 (32 miles in 3:46 hours)

Thu, 15 Aug 2013 (24 miles in 3:10 hours)

Prison spring had a pipe, but it was dry due to the drought. A few mosquitoes in the evening. Pretty obvious to me now that these mosquitoes never disappear until autumn. But not a problem with the bugbivy, since they only appear an hour before dusk, assuming I don't foolishing camp in a moist and hence mosquito-infested area, in which case they might be bad in the morning.

Fri, 16 Aug 2013 (21 miles in 2:44 hours)

Picked up water at North Eagle lake campground. Calfire facility at Grasshopper road also has spigots. Both should be open through September.

Sat, 17 Aug 2013 (47 miles in 5:32 hours)

Saw a small bear in the morning near Dixie Valley. Later, spotted a bobcat running into the trees. Runs just like a housecat, but bigger of course. Bow-hunting season for deer begins today. Saw three hunters in a pick-up truck, all decked out in camouflage gear with fancy bows and binoculars. I can't imagine they'll catch anything given all the noise they make.

Sun, 18 Aug 2013 (27 miles in 2:41 hours)

Talked to a guy at the Hat Creek Rim Hang Glider launch site. Not an activity that attracts me. I don't mind dying or getting hurt hiking or biking, since I feel I have no alternative but to engage in those activities if I want life to be enjoyable. But I would feel just terrible if I ended up a cripple because I foolishly went hang-gliding just to say I'd done it (or to impress people) and then crashed. Maybe some people can't live without taking health risks, in the same way I can't live without traveling by foot and bicycle. $67 including tax, after cash discount, for room at Shasta Pines Motel in Burney.

Picked up some ancient Greek books for the Kindle: New and Old testaments of the Bible, Xenophon, one of Epictetus's books. Not yet ready for Homer or the tragedians, but that will come in time. This is what I need to break my internet addiction and put a barrier between myself and the tawdriness of modern existence, these degraded apelings spending the whole day on facebook jerking their dopamine receptors around with likes and dislikes and insulting smack downs and mindless chatter, everything at the level of third-graders. Read nothing but ancient Greek. Nothing has really been learned about life since then. Each of the skeptics, stoics and epicurians has a partial view of the truth. Put them all together and you have the totality of what can be known about how to live. I thought I'd forgotten the modern Greek I spent so much time learning for my trip to Greece, but it comes back quickly and makes it fairly easy to learn ancient Greek.


hang glider launch site

Mon, 19 Aug 2013 (24 miles in 3:42 hours)

Hot day (95°F/35°C), so exhausting ascent to Plateau via Murken bench (past the hang glider site from yesterday). Thick clouds visible to south and forecast for thunderstorms tongith, then much lower temperatures tomorrow, so this will probably be the last day of really bad heat this year.

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 (12 miles in 2:03 hours)

Cloudy and cool in morning. Strange that heat propels me to move, whereas I slow down and relax in cooler weather. Noticed something similar when hiking. Walk less in nice weather than when raining, because not enjoyable to stop and relax when raining.

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 (14 miles in 1:42 hours)

Thu, 22 Aug 2013 (24 miles in 2:52 hours)

Rained heavily at times last night, accompanied by tremendous amounts of thunder and lighting. Feeling a stomach ache. I resumed eating peanuts yesterday, so maybe that was the problem. Also blew out a hemorrhoid a few days ago due to straining, which I knew was a no-no but I was anxious to empty my bowels in the morning because it is more convenient then than later. Obviously, riding a bicycle saddle is not good for hemorrhoids.

Fri, 23 Aug 2013 (29 miles in 2:58 hours)

Painful cycling into Chester due to that hemorrhoid. Paid for 2 nights, to give myself a chance to recover. Ate a lot of fresh fruit to loosen things up. Fresh plums are delicious this time of year. Put a micropur tablet in each bladder. $56 including tax for room at Seneca Motel in Chester.

Sat, 24 Aug 2013 (0 miles)

Talked to Swiss couple bicycle touring the United States. They asked about renting a mountain bike to tour the dirt roads. Why not just put fat tires on their touring bikes, instead of those road tires? Doesn't have to be 55-559 like my Schwalbe Mondials, just not super-skinny. They were also unable to wild camp due to lack of water carrying capacity. They asked directions to Bodfish cycles, since they needed to replace their bike computer. I shook my head in involuntary disgust when they discussed their trip down highway 101 from Canada. Exactly the kind of narrow twisting traffic-congested paved roads I want to avoid. $56 including tax for room at Seneca Motel in Chester.

Sun, 25 Aug 2013 (0 miles)

Something continues to be wrong with my disgestion, so I paid for another night at the motel. Also, I noticed my legs are feeling unbalanced, probably because I'm only pedaling and never pushing the bike, whereas I did lots of pushing on my previous tours, or else the tours were under a month. I'm going to force myself to push some each day henceforth to keep my muscles equally developed between front and rear. Hemorrhoid is well on its way to healing. Whole internet is abuzz about the problem of internet addiction. Some well-known blogger (well-known to other people, I've never heard of him) alleges that internet is messing with his brain circuitry, and I believe him. $56 including tax for room at Seneca Motel in Chester.

Not sure why Greek interests me and Latin doesn't. Perhaps Spanish is a substitute for Latin. Starting to understand my cousin better, the one who joined the Orthodox monastery (he was raised Anglican/Episopalian, like me). The pleasures of the worldly existence are mostly rubbish, at least once the sex drive diminishes in middle age. But then I can look back and say, "done this, done that" whereas someone who hadn't lived in the world couldn't, and that could lead to nagging doubts. Also, what happens if you get stuck with a jerk as your boss in the monastery? Can you ask for a transfer? What if the transfer is not granted or something else happens so that you have to leave? No money saved up, no job skills, probably no social skills either anymore, not even eligible for social security at age 67 because you never had an income and thus never paid in (you would be eligible for the supplemental system, which pays maybe $600/month). Sounds like a recipe for homelessness, and it takes quite the philosopher to live that life with equanimity. No motel room to recover from hemorrhoids, no fresh fruit, no camping or bicycle touring because you can't afford decent gear. Nothing but one hassle after another. Maybe you could plead insanity or eat yourself into a state of morbid obesity and thus be eligible for a disability pension, though there's going to be crackdown on that pretty soon because too many people are trying this stunt and the system is running out of money. In other words, if you join a monastery when young and stay there for a decade or so, you're pretty much stuck at that point. Which is probably convenient for the bosses, since they now have their monks and priests under total control. Same as the military. Once you've committed yourself to say ten years in the military, all you can think of is making it to twenty years to get the pension, and so there's no possibility whatsoever of disobeying orders at that point. Lots of parallels between the church and the military, and not just with regards to money. Lots of group-think and pressure to conformism, which is why I realized I could never last twenty years in the military, though the idea of that government-guaranteed and inflation-adjusted pension was quite attractive to me when I was young. Also, nuclear submarine engineer, which is the job that appealed to me, does sound pretty neat. At least the naval officers I talked to were mentally sane. Not so with the inmates of my cousin's monastery, which I visited once, nor of my cousin himself.

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 (28 miles in 4:00 hours)

Pushed for four miles, to give some walking exercise to my legs for a change. Not sure if I need a full four miles, but will try this for now.

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 (9 miles in 1:56 hours)

Resumed eating peanuts with no apparent problems, so I don't think it was an allergy that was causing my indigestion. That leaves either psychosomatic (stress) or some sort of bug. Or maybe just plain old overeating or eating too fast. Hemorrhoid is pretty much healed at this point. Truly wonderful how the body naturally heals itself if you simply give it good food and allow plenty of rest time!

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 (25 miles in 2:59 hours)

$57 including tax for room at River Inn in Susanville (slightly more than before because they only had deluxe rooms available). Noticed some goathead thorn fragments in each tire, but they appear to have been there for quite a while without causing problems. No flats so far on this trip. Need to test tire liners as alternative to sealant.

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 (24 miles in 3:53 hours)

Tedious to push bike when pedaling would be easy, as opposed to pushing when that is required due to deep sand. I think I'm going to cut back to pushing just two miles/day henceforth. Weather forecast is for moderate temps from here on out, no higher than 90°F and usually in the mid to low 80's (under 30°C).


bunnel ranch, as seen from bizz johnson trail

Fri, 30 Aug 2013 (15 miles in 2:04 hours)

Noticed a crack in the Kindle plastic. Need to buy and carry a spare henceforth, given how dependent I'm becoming on this ereader. More important than the smartphone/camera at this point. Digestive problems have all disappeared and I'm eating all my usual trail foods without problems: whole-wheat bread, cheese, instant rice, lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts. So the problem wasn't an allegy.

Sat, 31 Aug 2013 (18 miles in 2:27 hours)

Passed a cow stuck in a cow grate, legs all bloodied trying to get herself out, frantic with terror when she saw me riding up. Notified the rangers at the Bogard fire station and they said the ranchers had already been notified.

Sun, 01 Sep 2013 (15 miles in 2:09 hours)

Light drizzle in the morning, then again in the late afternoon. Setup the tarp for a change.

Mon, 02 Sep 2013 (29 miles in 3:24 hours)

Rained steadily during the night. Should have put the cover on the bike saddle, to prevent the leather from getting damp and soft and thus stretching. Sun came out in afternoon and so I was able to dry everything out. Cleaned chain with just 15ml cleaner and relubed. This chain cleaning/lubing procedure is becoming easy now that I have my routine down pat. $56 including tax for room at Seneca Motel in Chester.

Tue, 03 Sep 2013 (27 miles in 3:53 hours)


jennie spring

Wed, 04 Sep 2013 (15 miles in 2:07 hours)

Heard a bear sniffing about in the night, but it didn't dare come close. Recall that the three bears I've seen during the day during this trip all ran off in terror when they detected my presence.

Thu, 05 Sep 2013 (14 miles in 2:05 hours)

Passed by the place where the cow got stuck in the grate. Looks like the ranchers couldn't get her out and so shot her instead, then dragged the carcass over to the side of the road, then butchered her so as not to waste the meat, hide or horns, with the other cows and calves mooing and shitting themselves as they watched. Nothing cruel in what the ranchers did, of course. True cruelty would be to let the poor cow die slowly of thirst while being tormented by flies eating away at her bloodied and immobilized legs. Nature is beautiful but also pitiless. All life is eventually food for the worms. To be born is to be born into suffering, to die is to be finished with suffering, with sleep, or the little death, as our greatest blessing.


remains of cow that got stuck in cow grate

Fri, 06 Sep 2013 (18 miles in 2:26 hours)

Sat, 07 Sep 2013 (23 miles in 2:05 hours)

Picked up food and water in Westwood, then camped on road heading towards Moonlight pass. Mileage off by about 4 miles and time by 20 minutes because computer didn't activate automatically in morning. Not sure why. I had this problem off and on with the old Cateye computer.

Sun, 08 Sep 2013 (31 miles in 4:02 hours)

No vacancies at the River Inn in Susanville, so tried the TravelInn. $50 including tax. $5 less than River Inn but slightly less convenient location and room not as nice. Than again, very quiet here at the back of the building. Manager said better rates for repeat customers and weeklies.

Mon, 09 Sep 2013 (23 miles in 3:08 hours)

Tue, 10 Sep 2013 (11 miles in 1:42 hours)

Wed, 11 Sep 2013 (13 miles in 1:59 hours)

Thu, 12 Sep 2013 (15 miles in 2:25 hours)


campsite along road 32n22, camped here numerous times, one of my many "hotels" in the forest

Fri, 13 Sep 2013 (27 miles in 3:06 hours)

$56 including tax for room at Seneca motel in Chester. Put a micropur tablet into each bladder and also the bottles. Cleaned and lubed chain. Below is a photo of what the chain looks like normally before cleaning. It gets dirty like this after a single day.


typical appearance of chain


mount lassen in the distance

Sat, 14 Sep 2013 (26 miles in 3:37 hours)

Sun, 15 Sep 2013 (12 miles in 1:39 hours)

Mon, 16 Sep 2013 (14 miles in 1:50 hours)

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 (14 miles in 1:53 hours)

Chipmunk or other rodent evidently gnawed through the chinstrap of my hat, probably looking for salt. I've been placing it over my handlebars at night, but I guess I need to place it closer to my body from now on. No way to fix the chinstrap. I also noticed some cuts in the right handgrip, the one which rests near the ground, so maybe the rodent also tried chewing that but didn't make much progress there since the rubber is very hard.

Wed, 18 Sep 2013 (21 miles in 2:11 hours)

Small amount of frost on tarp, ice in bottles and bladder, so temps near freezing last night. $55 including tax for room at River Inn in Susanville. Overate then went on a frightful spree of internet trifling. Among other things I learned which I already knew is that internet addiction is now a major topic, with no good solutions offered. My own solution is: (a) read only the financial news and the weather; (b) confine my kindle reading to books that are at least 100 years old, and preferably 2000 years old (ancient greek). Total withdrawal from modern society, other than what directly concerns me. Browsing for technical information (computers, phone, bicycles, etc) can wait until I get back to Reno.

Thu, 19 Sep 2013 (21 miles in 2:54 hours)

Decided to start my way back to Reno. Still enjoying myself, but there are some things I need to attend to. Next year I'll probably stay out until mid-October, though probably in Northern nevada starting about this time, since third week of September is when rifle hunting season for deer start here in Lassen, and I'd prefer to be away from all that racket.


buck (male deer) in center of photo, one of many deer that use the town of susanville as a safe haven during hunting season

Fri, 20 Sep 2013 (21 miles in 2:28 hours)

Picked up ice cream and fresh fruit in Westwood. Again poisoned myself with internet browsing while eating in the park. I feel like some sort of degenerate having to confess his secret shame. Maybe there's an internet addicts support group in Reno: "Hello, my name is Frank and I'm an internet addict and I need help." It wouldn't be so bad if I actually was learning something useful, but no, it's just junk. Sometimes I frantically click on one link after another like an easily distracted squirrel racing back and forth without even bothering to read more than a few lines of the pages I jump to. The equivalent of rapidly flipping through the channels on the television, which is pretty much what the internet has become. Appeal to the least common denominator so as to boost page hits and thus advertising revenues. As I recall, I quit watching television in the early 1980's, and the internet didn't get big until 1995, so for at least a decade all I had was books, though that wasn't a particularly happy time of my life. However, I don't think lack of electronic stimulation was the issue, since there were other factors involved, like hating my job, difficulties with girlfriends, etc. And I don't seem to suffer when I'm forcibly removed from the internet, like when camping where there is no signal. So there's hope.

Sat, 21 Sep 2013 (35 miles in 3:28 hours)

Drizzled a bit during the night. Didn't have the tarp setup, but the drizzle was very light. Sky overcast in the morning, with a strong southwest wind, a headwind for me. Sounds of gunfire in the distance—start of rifle hunting season for deer. Picked up ice cream and fruit in Taylorsville. More rain during the day, enough to get me soaked, but then it stopped and my clothes were dry again by the time I finished for the day. Camped same place as before in Genesee valley, a mile west of Flournoy bridge.

Sun, 22 Sep 2013 (20 miles in 3:23 hours)

Sky clearing in morning. Ran out of food after lunch. Camped in the patch of forest just north of Clover Creek ranch. Probably should have continued on for another 5 miles, to avoid a long day tomorrow, in case there is a headwind while crossing the valley.


early morning in the genesee valley

Mon, 23 Sep 2013 (49 miles in 5:31 hours)

Dew on everything in morning, plus some frost. Bladder was under rackbag, and so protected from freezing, but ice in bottles. Picked up supplies in Loyalton. Camped at my usual spot on Henness pass road.

Tue, 24 Sep 2013 (21 miles in 1:50 hours)

Checked into motel in Reno ($225/week incl tax, or $32/night). Only one room available, because this weekend is Street Vibrations motorcycle festival. Need to be more aware of these Reno festivals in the future and try to arrange my schedule to avoid them. Choppers are noisy but the people riding them aren't trash, plus they'll be extinct pretty soon due to rampant obesity. Feeling overwhelmed with chores to be performed. My hiking pre-trip and post-trip routines are pretty stable at this point, but I'm not yet there with regards to bike touring. And until I get there, returning to Reno will always be stressful.

Final odometer 7271 miles.

Statistics

79 nights away from Reno total, of which 63 nights camping, 16 nights in motels. 2 rest days, thus 78 days traveling (including the last day).

1929 miles total, 248 hours pedaling/pushing, average of 7.8 miles/hour. For 78 days of traveling, average of 3.2 hours/day pedaling/pushing, 25 miles/day.

Total motel expenses of $918 including taxes, for average of $57/night for the 16 nights in motels.

About 4 instances of significant rain/hail (I didn't keep good records of this), plus maybe 6 more instances of very light drizzle. Setup tarp maybe 10 times, or less than 20% of the nights of camping.

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