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  • Writer's pictureAlana

3. Salinas to Jolon

April 16, 2024

Today's route was a mashup of the Sea Otter Classic and AIDS/LifeCycle day 3. I rode voth with Zoe Cheng, who died way way way too young in a bike accident last January. And so all day I felt Zoe in my heart, her easy laughter, ready love, fierce optimism, kooky dances, and thirst for adventure.

I heard you loud and clear, Zoe: Now, not later. I hope I'm doing you proud. I miss you so much and keep looking for you out here on the road.

With Zoe on my mind, I pedaled through vineyard after vineyard before I realized my skin was starting to burn. So I donned the beautiful hanky Perla gifted me for my journeys and thought how lucky I am to have so many good friends who look after me.

My day culminated in a long, steep climb known as Quadbuster, and indeed, my thighs were crying by the end. A fast descent through the magically beautiful Fort Hunter Liggett, replete with rainbow and deer sightings, deposited me at my night's lodgings: a "primative" (sic) dry campground on the base.

I was greeted by about 30 empty RVs, many of them up on blocks and kitted out with accessory dwellings and lawn furniture in various states of upkeep. I felt like I was being watched, but I saw only one person off in the distance the whole time I was there. A sign warned of rattlesnakes. The constant report of gunfire sputtered from a firing range a half mile away.

I was a little weirded out. Nevertheless, and with no other lodging options nearby, I pitched my tent, ate an emergency burrito, washed up, and fell asleep.

Then, at about 3 am, I heard something or someone creeping around my tent. Something big. Something with two legs. A turkey? A man? In the dark, can you even tell the difference?

For about 15 minutes, I lay awake, eyes wide open, barely breathing, with every hair on my body standing on end. Whatever it was was standing right outside my tent, not moving.

Eventually, I figured, Well, I can't do a damn thing about this situation. If it's a person, it's probably a dude, likely armed, and my only chances at victory would be if we agreed to leg-wrestle. Which would be unlikely.

And if it's a turkey, then there's no problem.

Exhausted from the day's exertions, I decided to believe it was a turkey, and promptly fell back asleep. I slept soundly til 7 am. When I awoke, I was just as surprised that I had woken up at all, as that I had fallen asleep.

With still nary a soul around, I packed up quickly, at a PB tortilla, and scooted out into yet another devastatingly gorgeous California morning.

Miles: 69.4

Climbing: 2.3K ft

Song in my head: "Cream" by Prince




Wow what a rollercoaster day you had!



You are my heroine big time. Can't wait to discover what the world brings your way. It's your oyster!!! Love you and be grand!!

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