When we finished blogging at Starbucks it was almost dark and with no knowledge of where we were going to stay we were nervous about finding a place. Across the street I watched a local, drunk with excitement over the mule day festival, take his horse through the Taco Bell drive through.
But after asking the barista about local camping it became clear that we could pretty much camp anywhere during Mule Days and she directed us to a baseball field half a mile down the main strip.
In the morning we ran into some French cyclists that we had been inadvertently shadowing since the beginning of Yosemite. Their blog is www.precaritetouristique.wordpress.com. Its in French but if you look it up in google chrome it can translate the page for you.
There was excitement in the streets of the coming festival. We were considering staying for another night but around midday something stirred and we started cycling south. The winds were unbearable with 23 mile per hour gusts and our progress was extremely slow. When the wind is blowing strong their is a feeling of having no escape, no peace, and it began to wear on us.
In Big Pine we collapsed in a park. The wind was too strong to cycle any farther. It took me a while to remember that I was here because I had chosen to be. That I had plenty of recourse to choose another path or a different life. After remembering it didn’t seem so bad anymore. We went to a diner and ate a salad and vege burger followed by peanut butter pie and a vanilla milkshake. Then we stopped in at a Laundromat and Shower place and took our first showers in over a week. The place was run by a 90-something WW2 veteran. A red US Marines flag flapped restlessly outside as we curled up in the warm comfort of his floral couch, insulated by the rhythmic vibrations of the washers and dryers. ”How Late are you open till” I had asked the owner when we came in. The old man grinned up at me, his body small and withered but strong, clear plastic tubes wrapped under his nose and trailed across the floor into a room that had US marines sticker on it. ”Later than your bedtime sonny!” he shouted, grinning and shaking.
The next morning we continued towards Lone Pine, the wind held off until about noon, but after that it started up again, invasive and demoralizing.
But eventually we made it Lone Pine and found a campground. Resting for the journey tomorrow. In the morning sailing over the pass and down into Death Valley on our way into Nevada.