The next day had about 2500 feet of combined elevation in store for us, so we woke up early to beat the heat and Travis started psyching me out for the climbs asap. We still had a good little descent on paved road down a canyon into the lowlands, which was a nice way to start the day.
The first climb was into Placerville, and honestly I can't remember anything about it. I know it was 1500 feet, and that I didn't take any pictures because I was like, "How many pictures do we need of ourselves pushing our bikes up another damn dusty road?" I've blocked it out. I can tell you that we were probably thirsty, we were getting sunburned, and we got tired.
I do remember turning the corner and arriving in Placerville.
What a funny little town! It looks the same as it did in 1860 or whenever it was founded. Unfortunately the town museum was closed and I couldn't learn anything more about it. But like all Western towns, it started out as a mining town with a saloon and a brothel and somehow grew respectable out of that.
Donna's Place was open, THANK GOD. I thought surely a convenience/grocery wouldn't get much business on a Wednesday afternoon, but there was a steady stream of customers buying ice cream and Keystone Light during our visit. And boy did we have a visit. First we had to eat everything and drink every Powerade. Then we charged our phones and sat in the shade for as long as we could. We chatted with Donna and a couple who had ATV'd over for some ice cream sandwiches. They have a mining claim up in the hills that they stay at over the summer, with their only electricity coming from solar panels. A modern day mining claim. Who knew.
Then it was time for Climb #2, another 1000 ft into Idaho City. We didn't get started till around 3:30 or so. Let me tell you about the heat. The heat was so bad that my fiance Travis Mitchell threw a tantrum. Travis loves riding bikes in any weather, but it was so hot he was freaking out. Somehow I just found my stride. I chugged a frappacino from Donna's, hooked up my headphones to Two Dope Queens and pedaled along unfazed. Meanwhile Travis was angrily pointing out the gravelly washboard road, the lack of any sort of shade, and of course the unrideably steep grade. If you want to see what this looked like, feel free to scroll down to the five other posts I've made that picture identical conditions. Travis would like to point out that by this point in the journey, he had taken the vast majority of our gear, and I was only carrying the tent and my clothes. He takes care of me.
Later, we learned that the high that day was 101 degrees.
We finally rolled into Idaho City, another anachronistic Western town.
We had more huckleberry ice cream and signed on to reliable wifi for the first time in long while. We went grocery shopping for our last re-supply, and headed down to the Forest Service campground located 2 miles in the opposite direction of our route.
Well we should have checked about that campground because it was a little... unreachable.
So we had to turn around back up the hill, and we camped in a dust pile at a dirtbike park, making dinner to the soothing sound of revving 450cc engines.