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Saturday, June 24th, 2006
11:23a - Saturday, 11 am, Kettleman City
I left the house about 7:45 this morning, slightly later than I'd hoped, but I took it easy and left on a relaxed note. According to the GPS I've come, um, 1751 miles. Clearly I forgot to reset the trip stats before starting :-). It's actually more like 172 miles. I have about 208 more to Barstow. So far it hasn't been excessively hot; it was downright chilly in Gilroy, but the rest of the day will be worse.

I decided to stop for an early lunch at Mike's Roadhouse Cafe in Kettleman City. The truckers come here, and there are a couple other bikes in the parking lot. There's a "Nostalgia News Report" from 1966 at my table (for sale in the gift shop). From it, I learn that "Happiness is Debbie Reynolds as the Singing Nun" and gas was $0.32/gal in 1966. It's only 10 times that now. I paid $3.45 in Los Banos.

I5 hasn't been really all that horrible, although there are certainly more exciting roads to get where I am.

My "Texas Cobb Salad" is here, so I must eat now.

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5:00p - Saturday, 5pm, Barstow, CA
I've come 209 miles from Kettleman City, making a total of 381 for the day. They were predicting a high of 107 for today in Barstow; the current weather reports 110. I was afraid I would collapse before I got all my stuff in the room, but I made it, just barely. That was about an hour ago.

On I5, I saw one of those Amber Alert signs saying this:

Testing 1
Testing 2
Testing 3
Testing 4
Testing 5
Testing 6

I'm trying to figure out what purpose this serves. Do they have cameras monitoring each sign, or was there someone in the office saying, "Hey Joe, head down to mile marker 82 and see what the sign is saying."

Both of the passes I went through today (Pacheco and Tehachapi) have the most amazing vistas. Even I5, just out of Los Banos, is beautiful. Unfortunately, all of these roads were just not conducive to stopping for photos, so I have nothing. Well, except for photos of the bike all loaded up that I took before starting out this morning.

I stopped in Tehachapi for a long break, and filled up my Camelbak at the soda fountain with the "water" button. When I strapped it on, just before getting on the bike, it seemed a little more bulbous than usual, but I didn't really think anything about it. A few miles down the road, I took a sip and nearly choked on the carbonated water that spewed out of it. Thinking, "Oh crap, it's going to explode", I briefly considered pulling over and realized this was a Bad Idea on the freeway. So I held the mouthpiece off to one side and squeezed, spewing water down the road until the pressure was relieved. Then I was stuck drinking carbonated water all the way to Barstow. Blech.

Prior to the trip, I had tried to do some research on likely places to stay in each of my intended stopover cities. Barstow was the only one I actually found anything. I was hoping to find funky mom-and-pop places, and the El Rancho Motel seemed to fit that bill. When I drove up, however, the truck with a flat in front of the office wasn't a good sign, and there was every indication that many of the rooms have permanent residents. Nevertheless, I ventured into the office and was asked if it was just for me, when I requested a room. The clerk offered to show me what she had, which I took to mean she didn't think I would want it once I saw it. It wasn't the best room I've ever seen, but it had a bed and a shower and an air conditioner, and it was only $33. I decided to take it, until she said they couldn't accept credit cards (despite all the credit card logos plastered all over the door). While I did have the cash, I prefer not to spend it on a room, so I ventured down the road a bit further to the EconoLodge, where they have free wireless. Woo! I think the poor guy in the office thought I was going to collapse of heat stroke. I wondered the same myself.

I think I will take a nap and then wander out to find something for dinner.

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8:04p - Early night
After winding down a bit, I took a nice nap, then an even nicer shower. Reluctantly, I dragged myself all the way next door to the hotel to Carrows for dinner (10% off if you're staying at the EconoLodge!). It's not my first choice or even my second (or third...)--there's a Taco Bell just down the street--but it required little effort and how can you screw up spaghetti and water?

Really what I'm anticipating most is going straight to bed.

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