The Freeway through Eldorado Forest

…and I’m back. Determined to finish off this ruddy blog. We left the awesome host of Rick Gunn in the mid afternoon after posing for a group shot. It takes a while to assemble as a group, but I think it’s worth the sacrifice of being able to go that few miles further. The saying holds true, it’s not how quick you get there, it’s how you get there that counts. Unless you’re in an ambulance.

Leaving Rick Gunns

The first challenge of the day, after waking up, was the final major ascent of America. A long hill which I naturally fell behind on. The group are a fine bunch of people and still wait for me at the top before we descend into the depths of Eldorado Forest. We were advised of a nice little spot at the bottom of the descent, Chris and Steven located a great little area next to a river and in the shade of the pine trees.

River in Eldorado Forest

We snacked on lunch, Tim and Kat went off for a little “walk”, and I fixed a puncture which had exposed itself. Luckily for me it was a slow one, things would have been a lot worse had it rapidly deflated coming down the hill. The next few hours of riding were in glorious weather, on smooth roads, and over undulating hills that meandered through the luscious forests. It was pretty spectacular.

Riding through Eldorado Forest

Chris and Steven had arranged to stay at a house in Pollock Pines, so that veered off into the mountains to go and find their warm shower. The rest of us were heading for Placerville which was another hour or so up the road. We made arrangements to meet up in the morning – we were sticking together for a bit longer which was great.

Somehow, I found myself at the head of the group with Joe. We enjoyed the open road and pushed each other to go faster, taking it in turns to slipstream each other. We may or may not have noticed the sign for the freeway and the no cycles sign, but we “missed” the exit. For touring bikes our pace was really quick, it wasn’t often we would hit these speeds. We stopped at the exit for Placerville east, and we waited for Han, Tim and Kat. They didn’t appear after 20 minutes. We got slightly worried at this point as they weren’t answering their phones or appearing over the hill. Finally, Joe managed to get through and found out they were safely at the park.

Deciding where to eat

It turned out someone had called the cops on a bunch of nefarious cyclists who were riding the shoulder of a freeway. Tut tut. They men in blue caught up to Han, Tim and Kat at the back, and they escorted them off the freeway. They didn’t realise that we were up ahead, and so we were none the wiser. Only a ticking off was issued, and all the clean criminal records are still in tact.

Getting to the top

Joe and myself made our way though Placerville and up the last short steep hill to the sumptuous accommodation – a baseball field. It was still light as we were reunited. We all cooked and found our own spots to sleep for the night. Tunnels in the playground were used, and I made use of yet another dugout. A night in an open sleeping bag ahead of me; thank the flying spaghetti monster that there aren’t a million midges and mosquitos around this part of the world.

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