Mar drove me and my bike from St George to Mesquite, and I then hitched a lift back to Las Vegas. I wanted to get a head start on the weather, and I wasn’t keen on cycling again the I-15, the most direct route. I was looking forward to get to the Death Valley and its pleasant temperatures.
I was expecting to stand on the side of the road at a truck stop for ages, and was thinking I’d try to hitchhike maybe for a couple hours and then start cycling to a camp as it would have made it difficult for me otherwise to make it to a place to sleep before dark -that section of highway being long, bare, and exposed to the wind-.
Turned out, I got very lucky and managed to get a lift within 20 minutes. A very kind man in his fifties, Ted, with a golf cap and a golf cart in the back of his truck, stopped. The first thing he said was “I never take hitchhikers, but your bicycle intrigued me”. After explaining I just wanted to get to Las Vegas, we found a place for my bicycle by his golf cart.
After the caverns the wind started to blow strongly against us and we fought our way through to a camp, perhaps just 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the caverns. The tent howled all night under the wind. The following morning it looked at first like the wind had changed direction and we had a very strong tailwind for 6 miles. Alas, it gradually shifted again and we struggled to keep our bikes straight as the now side wind was sending us to the centre of the road. Then we took a slight turn, and by the time we made it to the State line into Texas we had a full frontal headwind, complete with rain and hail. We were super cold.
About 10 miles after the above picture was taken we made it to a rest stop. Ian started talked to someone and she offered me a lift to El Paso. I had 2 minutes to take a decision. I didn’t like the idea not to cycle to El Paso as planned, but strong, violent, winds were forecasted for a while apparently and there was nothing between there and El Paso, which would have been a 3 days ride for me had everything been fine. Picturing my tent getting slammed by the wind, I caved in as I did want to try and keep it alive until the end of the trip, even if it was approaching. By now I had booked ticket planes to France and decided to loop back to Los Angeles in the next month and a half.
After mailing ahead my climbing gear and some other things to a Warmshowers host ahead to travel lighter up some passes, leaving Squamish, on the way to Whistler, the rain started pouring. I stopped a bit before Whistler to admire the beautiful Brandywine Falls.