Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Ahh...the sweet relief of our first rest day! On Day 9 we decided to stay off the bikes and rest our bodies.
It was also the 4th of July. A day we acknowledge as a catalyst to a more just society but we freely choose not celebrate it. Why glorify a day when only rich white males declared to no longer be oppressed by even richer white males?
“No one is free until we are all free”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
I’d rather not unpack all my personal opinions of this holiday but I highly recommend reading or listening to Fredrick Douglass‘ historic speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” (links below). This was the keynote speech on July 5th, 1852 at an Independence Day celebration in New York (Douglass refused to give the speech on the 4th). We hope that this speech gives you an enhanced historical context of our widely praised Independence Day and the hypocrisy of freedom in the Declaration of Independence.
Well...at any rate, we were thankful to spend the day enjoying the beauty of Sequoia National Forest with the company of our closest friends! Our day started with an incredible breakfast—blueberry pancakes cooked by our beloved quarantine family! We then headed to the Kern River for some serious relaxation. Dylan decided to be a hero and stay at our camp spot to guard the bikes. In return, I washed his smelly, crusty clothes in the river!
The quarantine family enjoying a slice of the Kern River all to themselves!
I spent the majority of the day napping and dangling my sore legs in the river. Joe was on a great rotation of hot springs, cold soaks and naps! But both of us couldn’t stop thinking about Dylan in the blistering heat by our campsite...so we headed back to check on him!
What we imagined Dylan doing at camp!
Once at camp, we decided to let go of some items to lighten our bike load! We gave up some luxuries like Joe’s portable speaker and most of our clothes. We’re hoping to speedier than ever!
We spent the rest of the night eating more amazing meals cooked by our friends and enjoying one last soak in the hot springs!
We apologize to our friends who joined us for our fatigue throughout the day and our early sleep time. We had to hit the road early the next day to beat the heat!
Hitting the road on Day 10!
After having a lovely rest day and catching up on the calories we desperately needed, we had our biggest day yet! We ended up riding just shy of 80 miles with 7300ft of elevation gain!
We ripped along the Kern River throughout the morning until we ended up in good ol’ Johnsondale for lunch! Some tips if you ever find yourself there: don’t forget to check in and try the spigot water!
After lunch we began our uphill battle toward Ponderosa but thankfully we were blessed with breathtaking views of the Needles and Giant Sequoias!
Views of the Needles from our water break!
Once we finally reached Ponderosa we were gifted with the most graceful downhill cruise of our lives. Eventually, we found ourselves in the quaint town of Camp Nelson. We ended up sleeping in an RV campground and met some interesting folks from Bakersfield. They were shocked once we told them about our journey and started offering us all the food and beer you could possibly ask for!
This trip would not be running so smoothly without the generosity and hospitality of the road—from our great friends to the strangers we’ve met along the way!