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Vegas or Bust! – Day 5 : Days Inn, Victorville, CA > Travelodge, Yermo, CA

Considering how early I made it to Victorville yesterday I figured I had some leeway on leaving for Yermo. With that in mind I went to Molly Brown’s Country Cafe for breakfast this morning. They opened at 6:00 which was perfect for my schedule. I forgot to get a picture of my breakfast? I’m sitting here thinking about it and I would swear I did. Anyway, I went with the typical french toast combo. Not only was it good it was also an “early bird” special. All in all, including the cup of coffee, I was out for less than $15 not including tip. Cheapest sit down breakfast of the trip.

I rolled out of breakfast at 6:30 and started by working my way along the west side of Victorville. I can’t claim the route I took. I found it from someone who rode the ACA’s Route 66 route and copied it from there. Certainly had the feeling of an ACA route. Nice quiet road with a decent bike lane.

It didn’t take long before I was back on Route 66. Before I started the day I had hoped for more photo opportunities than the day before and I wasn’t disappointed. Almost immediately after making the turn onto Route 66 I came upon the Mojave River Bridge. I parked Shadow and grabbed a couple shots. I thought about getting a picture with Shadow in the middle of the road like I’ve done in other places, but the traffic was a little much in this part of town.

I came into the tiny town of Oro Grande and it was a wealth of photo opportunities. There were a couple antique shops, old bar/restaurant, etc. If I weren’t careful I would have spent an hour just taking pictures. I can’t wait to come back through here when I have more time to explore when everything is open.

After riding our of Oro Grande I was sitting up admiring the scenery and I couldn’t help but think of how lucky I am. I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy two very different but equally beautiful types of landscapes on this trip. You may be thinking I’ve miscounted, but indulge me.

The first part of this trip, the Pacific Coast portion, was all about a more intimate type of landscape. Sure the trees are huge, but they are right there in your face. You may occasionally come to a tall ridgeline allowing you to see miles and miles of uninterrupted forest, but it’s rare.

This second part of the trip, the route home, and if I’m entirely honest starting today, is about big. We’re talking huge sweeping landscapes. Being able to see for miles and miles in any direction without having to do anything. Sitting on a valley floor or the saddle of a pass you can just see forever. “Big sky country” isn’t limited to Montana.

I wouldn’t say one is better or more beautiful than the other. They both have unique attributes which make each uniquely beautiful. In addition they have shared attributes which can draw you to both. Don’t ask me which I prefer because I would be hard pressed to pick.

The photography opportunities continued a few miles later at The Bottle Tree Ranch. This was one of those spots that I could have spent a half a day photographing and probably still not got it all. Just countless “bottle trees”. I got Shadow with the one tree that had a huge rack of horns at the top. As I left I looked back and saw one of the “trees” toward the back that had a bicycle at the top. Almost turned around to go get a picture with it, but thought better of it.

The next photography jewel was the Sage Brush Inn Gas Station. It’s a really cool old abandoned gas station and inn. Such a cool quick stop.

It didn’t take long until I was rolling into Barstow. The mercury was certainly starting to rise and I went back and forth on if I should stop for a little break or not. On the one hand a quick Starbucks break would give me a little recharge to push on to the hotel. On the other hand the delay combined with a rapid heat up could mean suffering in the heat later. I choose to take the Starbucks break to give the legs a break. I also got a large cup of ice to dump into my bottles for the remainder of the ride.

On the east side of Barstow I had to make a quick 2.5 mile trek on I-40. This is a section of interstate similar to I-5 near Camp Pendleton where cyclists are allowed to ride on the freeway due to there being no alternative. Interestingly this is also to avoid a Marine Corps installation, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow.

After the short I-40 jaunt I made another quick jaunt along Route 66 into Daggett. That was followed by a turn north to take me to Yermo for the night. Of course this is where I would get a flat. I was literally a mile from the hotel! Fingers crossed this is the last one.

With a new tube installed and inflated I rode on to Yermo. I first pulled up to Jack in the Box to get some lunch, but before going inside I pulled up Google Maps to look for other options.

At first I figured Jack in the Box now and maybe Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner for dinner. I was surprised when I saw on the other side of the freeway there was a Dairy Queen Grill & Chill. I also saw Penny’s Diner list and they’re open 24 hours. I hatched a plan. Dairy Queen for lunch and reward myself with a Blizzard. Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner for dinner tonight. Penny’s Diner for breakfast in the morning!

After the quick ride to Dairy Queen I ordered me a cheeseburger, onion rings, soda, and small Oreo Blizzard. I timed it perfectly to show up at the start of a little lunch rush. I think maybe 2-3 parties showed up right as I started to order. I pulled up a booth which gave me a view of Shadow outside. I enjoyed the nice break. I thought of hanging out for a few more hours to wait for hotel check-in, but decided to just go hang out in the hotel lobby instead.

I pulled into the hotel lobby, parked Shadow, and started shedding some gear. I told the girl working the counter that I knew I was early and check-in wasn’t until 4:00. The poor thing seemed flustered at the fact that their key generating system was down and she couldn’t make me a key if she wanted. I again explained I was in absolutely no hurry knowing I would arrive so early.

I continued to make myself comfortable in the lobby. I got my book out. Went to the bathroom to change into my camp clothes. Grabbed some ice for my water bottles. I was gearing up for a long but comfortable wait for check-in. Imagine my surprise when the girl asks for the name on the reservation and then says, “Here’s a key for your room. My manager is back and I had her make you a key. You’re all set.”. I was floored. It was noon! I gave a heart felt thank you and expressed how much I appreciated her getting me into my room so early.

Once in the room got started on chores. I decided to wash two pairs of bibs, the pair I wore today and another pair from earlier in the trip. The current pair, which I’ve worn the past two days, I just can’t seem to get comfortable in for a long haul. It has a totally different chamois compared to the bibs I have been using up to this point. I’m going to go with the tried and true tomorrow to see how it goes.

The other chore was patching the two tubes I’ve flatted. I never patched the first tube because I was being lazy and had hoped I wouldn’t need to. Considering how much interstate riding I have coming up I want as many good tunes available as possible. With these two fixed I’ll have two brand new tubes, two patched tubes, and one patch for the remainder of the route.

And that about wraps up the day. The plan is to start early tomorrow to avoid the worst of heat. My goal is to roll out of Penny’s Diner at 6:00. Tomorrow’s ride is five miles longer than today; however, it has maybe 100 feet less elevation and I expect it to have fewer photo opportunities. Today’s elapsed time was six hours and if I do the same tomorrow that puts me into Baker at noon. Then I have to find somewhere to hide out until 5:00 when I can check in to my Airbnb. If I make good time, or start even earlier, I may take a ride out to Zzyzx.

New bike fund: $22.14 (+$0.38)
50.95 new miles — From
Sunny-Sunny, 72°F-94°F, Feels like 70°F-97°F, Humidity 17%-19%, Wind SE 5mph-WNW 10mph – by
myWindsock Report —
Weather Impact: -5.9%
Headwind: 35% @ 3.3-21.9mph
Longest Headwind: 57m 41s
Air Speed: 15mph
Temp: 68.5-85.5°F
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —

Total distance: 51.78 mi
Max elevation: 2939 ft
Min elevation: 1955 ft
Total climbing: 1291 ft
Total descent: -2238 ft
Total time: 06:05:11
Published inCycling

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