Since we have to alter our original route, things are getting adventurous. On our way around the closed Sierra Nevada passes, including Tioga pass, we decided to take a short cut using forest roads towards Highway 88. In doing so we wanted to avoid dozens of miles of detour over the main roads.
For the first 25 km, we cycled on asphalt country roads which were great to ride on. We passed a lake and climbed a panorama road with amazing views and lots of flowers and blossoming bushes on both sides.
However, we soon took a turn onto a forest, or better dirt road that was only paved in parts and otherwise really rocky and challenging to ride otherwise. This is where the real adventure begins! Little did we know then that we would be on this path for 60 kilometres with obstacles in our way.
Today's ride definitely was the ultimate hardness test for the bikes, the drive system and everything that is mounted to the electric bikes, especially the racks and the bike bags.
In an extremely rocky section, my handlebar bag fell off (probably because it was not clicked in correctly), I rolled right over it and amazingly enough, nothing happened to the bag itself nor its content like my phone and GoPro camera.
Then my sea otter soft toy fell off the bike. We call him Uwe (pronounce Hugh-ie) and he is our tour mascot. Luckily we could save him and he is fine.
Next was my turn and I fell off my electric bike on another bumpy stretch. I lost the balance with all the gear and could not control the front wheel anymore. I got away with a few more bruises and call myself lucky - thank you, U-we.
Michael was not as lucky as he first had a flat tire and the discovered that he had forgot his key to for the lock to change his empty battery. Naturally, you can ride an e-bike without the motor support, it is just so much harder, esp. with all the luggage attached to it.
For the whole ride over apparently remote forest roads we did not see a soul, not one, except prairie dogs. We constantly watched out for bears in pine woods and meadows but they would not show up. Yet, the adrenaline was there, all the time.
We navigated by a combination of offline map and paper map and our progress seemed very slow while it was getting later and later in the day.
Luckily, the network of forest roads is well make with road numbers which immensely helped to find our way through the woods.
The windy road No. 5N02 through the most beautiful mountain scenery but seemed to never end.
We passed fields of snow, and small rivers that we needed to cross. That worked fine, with motor, waterproof bags, battery and all. Until we reached the last one. It was just too deep to ride through, so we had to walk through it. The water was freezing cold and left us riding with wet feed for the rest of the quickly passing day.
Our "shortcut" had taken a lot of time and it got darker and darker. Mentally, we already prepared ourselves to set up our camp in the wild. Yet, in the last minutes of daylight, we finally arrived at the campground Wa Ka Luu Hep Yoo near Highway 4.
We had cycled as fast as we could, because we know, when it gets dark here, it does not just get dark. It gets pitch black.
What a day!
Distance: 86,5 km, 75% dirt road Av. speed: 21 km/h Max speed: 62,8 km/h Energy consumption: ca. 840 Wh (Susi) Riding mode: High (Susi) Uphill: 1780 m Downhill: 2290 m Surface: 25 km Asphalt, 61,5 km forest road, partly very rocky and challenging to ride. Riders: Susi, Micha
Weather: below 0° at night sunny, partly cloudy. warm during the day, chilly later in the afternoon. Accommodation: Very simple Campground at Wa Ka Luu Hep Yoo
Travel tip of the day:
To travel means to expect the unexpected and to deal with it along the way even if you got cold feet.