Mt Diablo overnight, day two

Another long day complete.

We managed to keep the kids (mostly) sleeping until around 7. We got breakfast from the hotel downstairs, then worked on getting our stuff together. It took longer than I would have liked, but eventually we got everything and everyone downstairs and mounted up.

The forecast called for more rain, and indeed it was drizzling when we got going. So the rain fairing and other rain gear saw more use. Anne had stuff drying on everything that would hold something, so most things were pretty good.

We exited through the same apartment complex that we came in, but this time there was daylight.

We headed towards Morgan Territory Rd, which would be our major climb for the day. Just before the climb would really begin, we stopped for lunch. A woman stopped while were eating to ask about our travels (not super exciting today), share that she’s done some touring, and asking if we needed anything. We were just about ready to get climbing, so we thanked her but declined anything.

The climb itself is quite different than yesterday’s. While the grade varied yesterday, it was pretty consistent up. Morgan Territory has a lot of ups and (short) downs, some long stretches of easy slopes, followed by killer bits. It gets harder the further up the 9 miles you get.

In one of the flatter bits, we saw a recently downed tree hanging over the road. Anne pointed out that something had died, and my nose told me she was right. Then I saw the five or so condors sitting in the tree above, presumably waiting for us leave their feast alone. By the time Anne got her camera out, several had scattered to the surrounding trees.

On several of the steeper parts, we ended up walking. We walked for more than I would have liked today, but some were steep enough I could barely push my bike up it on foot. Ruth excitedly got out of the trailer and helped Mommy push, at which point it got easier.

Right before the park at the top there’s a sharp down-and-up section. This is where we fell last time we were on the road. I was pretty nervous, especially since I could remember exactly how the road went, just that we had fallen. It turns out the up part is pretty steep. I knew I didn’t want to get trapped in too high of a gear, so I was in my easiest. The transition from coasting up to pedaling was scarier than usual. You’re slowing down as you roll uphill. But your pedals don’t bite, since you’re still going to fast. So you’re spinning madly. Finally, just when you think you’re about to lose all speed and fall over, your pedals start to work, and you can make it up the hill.

Then it was time to go down. By now it had stopped raining, and the road was pretty dry. Mostly speed was limited by visibility, since there are a ton of blind turns. On the second half it straightens out a bit, so we could go fast.

We still had over half the miles to do, but most of our daylight was gone. Turns out we’re slow climbers. We cut across to Livermore on the long and straight Livermore Rd. Ruth asked if Mommy could pull her trailer, so we swapped and stowed the fairing. The changes of pullers energized both kids.

Then on to Pleasanton, to Foothill, Niles Canyon, and home. I was pleased we made it through the canyon before it got properly dark, though we didn’t make it by much. It sprinkled a bit as we made our way home.

We had a lovely dinner of box mac and cheese and ice cream, then kids and now adults to bedtime.

A long day, but everybody stayed pleasant. By the end, I was yawning pretty regularly, and sore in the contact points. Our moving time is pretty good, but the elapsed time is longer than would be ideal. The coast doesn’t have as steep or sustained climbs, mostly, do I’m hopeful we can do a better job of keeping moving. We’ll find out soon.