We made it out of the desert...finally!! Twas a great relief to see trees, have shade, and hear running water. Its like a whole new world out here. But before I get ahead of myself I have to back track to our morning in Ridgecrest. At 8 a.m. on Saturday morning the team had a booth set up at the Ridgecrest Hospital Community Health Fair. There were lots of local residents donating blood, getting heath screenings, and of course talking to us about biking and various health and fitness options in the community. It was a successful event if I do say so myself. Chelsea almost adopted the cutest female puppy but in the end was advised against it (Kappy might get jealous). However, we did meet a very nice lady named Christine who offered us a place to stay and a shower in Kernville that evening. We jumped on that offer, put our bike shorts on, loaded on the sunscreen, and headed over the mountains to Kernville where 5 different biomes meet in one region.
The last week has been hot hot hot. Blazing temperatures in the upper 90's has made for smoldering afternoons in the sun with no shade until we crossed over Walker pass and down toward Lake Isabella. Darlene is still getting used to using all of her gears with all of the climbing we have done in the past 2 days. Apparently she doesn't even use half of them while she is riding is southern Georgia, and she is still one of the strongest climbers. Riding through Kern County has been one of the most scenic and memorable rides we have had in a while. It was a relief to see green again and everyone's spirits seemed high as we are in the last leg of the journey and we have Kaitlynn and Darlene with us. Even the attitude of the drivers seems to be more respectful and encouraging the further we travel into California. We have had three times as many cars wave, cheer out the window, and honk at us (the friendly kind of honk. There are many types of honks and we are all pretty much experts at interpreting them by now). Needless to say it was a wonderful way to spend Earth DAY!
|Joshua Trees outside of Ridgecrest|
|Water...we see water|
|The beautiful Lake Isabella at sunset|
|White Water Festival |
The road leading us into town was very picturesque with Lake Isabella in the background while we weaved along the edge of the hills. After a short 57 mile day we made it to Kernville right before the sun went down to catch the end of the bluegrass band and talk to some folks at the White Water Festival and competition on the Kern River. We met up with our hosts Christine, her husband Pat, and her son Ian and headed over to their place to eat some pizza and crash for the night. Thank you thank you for letting 6 wacky women stay at your home. We love more than ice cream spending time with local people and getting to know their families.
|Our hosts Christine and Ian|
| 178 in the Sequoia National Forest|
In the morning we said our goodbyes and rode through the Sequoia National Forest towards Bakersfield. We had another short day of riding (around 50 miles), but wanted to start early to beat the heat and make it to the Bakersfield health fair by noon. Jeanie rode ahead in the Manatee to set the team up while the rest of the us weaved through the narrow roads in the national forest until we reached the sweet smelling orange groves that marked the beginning of the Bakersfield city limits. Every few hours the scenery changes in this state, and like I mentioned before this is a unique area in the country because it is where 5 different biomes meet in one region. As Darlene would say, "If you don't like the scenery here just wait a few miles and it will change." And it does.
|Happy Earth Day|
|Feeling Free on the Freeway|
|Italian Ice to chill our brains|
It was a hot and sunny afternoon, but there were still a lot of families that braved the heat to enjoy the fair. Ride America for Safe Routes was set up next to the Bike Bakersfield and Safe Routes to School tent. Bike Bakersfield has given us such a warm welcome and taken us under their wing while we were in their city. Tina, the executive director of Bike Bakersfield even set us up at their bike co-op for the evening. It was the perfect place to spread out, use the big screen, and rest our bones for the night. For dinner we ate out with Patrick and John, Bike Bakersfield Safe Routes to School Coordinators, at John's family's restaurant called the Far East Cafe. Soooo good! Hit the spot. We have been eating so much Mexican food on this trip its always good to switch it up a bit. Thank you for the recommendation and treating us hungry women to dinner. Bike Bakersfield has given RASR the VIP treatment. You folks are amazing and doing awesome things for this community. You are the ones who are impressing us and inspiring us to ride our bikes across the country to do what we do everyday. Thank you.
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