Days Seventy-Three and Seventy-Four

Lost Hills, CA

Day Seventy-Three

Now I was stalling. I didn't want my trip to end. Besides, the coastal area was a big weekend tourist destination, so it seemed wise to avoid it until the weekend passed. Also, SR 46 had a bad reputation. I figured that if I rode on a Sunday morning, there would probably be much less traffic, truck traffic in particular. Besides, I figured Lost Hills was an appropriate place to lose a day or two. The Motel 6 in Lost Hills didn't  impress me, especially with only five TV channels, so I switched to the Days Inn for the next two nights. It was only $3 more a night. Although I stayed in many of them in the Southeast, this was my  first Days Inn since Granbury, TX.

I rode into Lost Hills to mail some more things home. I only had five pounds worth, but I got rid of some bulk, especially my Gore-Tex rain gear. If it rained now, it would be too warm for Gore-Tex anyway. The friendly, chatty postal clerk told me about two accidents on SR 46 the day before, including the truck that lost  its drywall load that I had seen east of Interstate 5. I was prepared to take some pictures, but there wasn't much in Lost Hills aside from the post office, a few small groceries and a Mexican restaurant. Most of the businesses were two miles east of town at the freeway interchanget.

I rode back to the Days Inn, but it was too early to check in. Against my better judgment, I went to Denny's for lunch. I hadn't had a good Denny's experience in ten years. On the other hand, I didn't feel like going across SR 46 to the truck stop or eating fast food from Wendy's, Jack In The Box or Carl's Jr. (at least I had options).  Besides,  there were lots of window seats available in Denny's where I could keep an eye on my bike. It would really stink to have it stolen only a hundred miles from the Pacific.  I used my bike lock for the first time in weeks.

One thing I've always admired about Denny's is their menu photography. Everything looks absolutely  delicious. In my experience, it seldom tasted as good as it looked, though. I ordered one of their corny-named breakfast sandwiches. It was pretty good, to my surprise, except the hash browns were way too salty to eat. With their unlimited free refills on Coke, I was sure I would be back.

For dinner, I returned to the truck stop across the street, but it wasn't as good as the night before. The waitresses recognized me, and I felt like a lazy bum for still being there at that little " interstate city" a day later. With all the trucks and weekend travelers, I had a heck of a time getting back across SR 46.  I ended up doing a fifty yard dash through the darkness. I was never much of a sprinter (as one might expect from the nature of this trip, I've always been more oriented toward endurance than speed), but just the same, it made me miss the days when I used to run.

Back in my room, I finished off a week's worth of reports for the web site.

Totals for the day: 6.16 miles in 31:25 for an 11.6 mph average.

Day Seventy-Four

Since today was Saturday and I figured the coastal region would be crowded,   I opted for another day lost in the hills instead (actually, the hills were indeed lost, as it was completely flat). I slept in and didn't leave my room until lunchtime. I decided to push my luck with another meal at Denny's. As I approached the restaurant, there was an older couple walking slowly in front of me. I didn't want to pass them rudely, but I couldn't bear to follow them, either. To let them get ahead, I stopped at the newspaper boxes outside the restaurant. The headline of The Bakersfield Californian shocked me: " Pair shot to death in Arvin orchard." Another man looking at the newspaper asked me where Arvin was. I knew--I had been near Arvin on Wednesday afternoon. However, the map showed that the murders weren't in town. The orchard was actually southeast of Arvin, at the east end of Herring Road. I had ridden right past that orchard after I came down the dirt road out of the Tehachapi Mountains. It was eerie. I bought a copy and read it inside.

My lunch sandwich was tasty, so I returned  for dinner. I had French toast (my favorite words: " breakfast anytime!" ), and it was also good. Either this was an exceptional Denny's, or maybe the chain had improved over the last few years. I got to bed reasonably early and set my alarm for 6:30 to begin my final march to the Pacific. I was only two days from the ocean.

No riding today.

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