Day Four: Glennville, California to Johnny McNally's Fairview Lodge - "Vibes" - CycleBlaze

From "Vibes"

By Jeff Lee

June 18, 2024

Day Four: Glennville, California to Johnny McNally's Fairview Lodge

I woke multiple times in the night with coughing fits. Because I didn't sleep well, I decided today's goal would be relatively modest: Climb up and over Greenhorn summit, an elevation about 3,000 feet higher than Glennville, then ride down and stop for the day in Kernville, or possibly farther up the Kern river at a campground or lodge.

I was tired, and took my time this morning. After everything was packed up, I put on my helmet and found the mirror was missing from its mount. Shit. I looked around the room, didn't find it, then walked outside to the tree by the restaurant where I'd parked the bike and laid my helmet on the ground when I arrived yesterday. There it was! The mirror is small, yet I'd found it on the ground immediately. Some good luck to start the day.

I was lazy, and spent several minutes talking to the motel/store owner after I returned the key. Finally, at about  8:30, I got back on the bike, rode for two miles, and stopped at a restaurant that I hadn't noticed on the map yesterday.

The place was empty. The friendly cook/waitress working there told me I wasn't restricted to the breakfast menu, so I got a black bean burger and fries. So very good, but so very expensive.

A couple of guys riding "Adventure" motorcycles were standing outside. One of them, who had done some mountain biking, was interested in taking his motorcycle on the Great Divide route, and I talked to him about  it for a while. Finally, I got back on the bike and starting riding up the mountain. It was sunny, but the temperature was mild and pleasant. I was on CA-155, a very, very empty "highway." Much emptier than Granite Road yesterday. Granite Road yesterday was alright, but it had its share of commuter traffic. No one seemed to be driving on CA-155.

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It was a slow and steady climb, with very few flat spots. A perfect road and perfect riding conditions, marred only slightly by the occasional presence of annoying flies who had no trouble keeping up with me as I rode up the mountain.

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There was a sign marking 4,000 feet. I felt pretty good that I'd climbed almost 800  feet so quickly, especially with a head cold. Fortunately the cold symptoms didn't seem so bad in the daytime.

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After that, it got steeper.

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I encountered some minor road construction. The flagger ahead of me radioed to the guy on the other end of work zone. I could hear the response: "A pedal bike? Send him on through."

I talked to the flagger, a young guy, who asked me several questions about what I was doing, where I had started, etc.

At the other end of the construction zone, the other flagger told me "I heard about your trip. That's awesome, man!" Obviously the first flagger had relayed to the second guy the important news that a guy was riding his heavy bike a (potentially)  long distance. Ha. Just then a car stopped to wait for the flagger to allow him through. He leaned out his window and told  me "You're a better man than I!"

I needed this encouragement, because it got VERY steep for the next two miles to the summit. I was standing up in my lowest gear at times.

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Finally I reached the top. I'd climbed almost 3,000  miles from Glennville in the last few hours.

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It was a long, steep descent to Wofford Heights. Not my favorite thing at all. My hand became sore from gripping the brake levers.

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Descending to Lake Isabella and Wofford Heights.
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It was much, much hotter and drier on this side of the mountain. Wofford Heights was unappealing. A much larger town than Glennville, with noisy traffic. I stopped immediately at a combination of market and Subway sandwich shop, walked inside, sat a table, and considered my next move while watching the people in the store.

The two male employees reminded me of characters from the movie Zoolander: Unusual, elaborate haircuts, and very mannered accents whose origins I was unable to identify. A middle-aged couple walked in. I knew instantly, before they said anything, that they were  European tourists, because of their unusual "vacation" attire. They spent a long time quizzing one of the employees about something or other.

I finally got  up and found snacks and sunblock. I was standing in line behind a woman buying cigarettes. She repeatedly attempted a joke with one of the "Zoolander" employees: "You need to buy some mustache wax!" (The employee had an odd mustache.)

The guy stared at her with a combination pouty/stony expression, and refused to acknowledge her joke. I laughed, though.

Because  I'm very easily amused.

I got back and headed out  of town. I'd decided while sitting in the store that I'd ride up the Kern River to a place called "Johnny McNally's Fairview Lodge". I wanted to get as far up the river as possible today, in preparation for a monster climb tomorrow that would get me to Kennedy Meadows.

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It was an easy, gentle climb to the lodge, mostly along the Kern River. Traffic was not terrible, but still busier than I prefer. I had my second experience with a bad driver on this trip when a car passed me too close, but the ride was otherwise uneventful.

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Kelly IniguezI've seen a few signs like that! Most recently when driving home from Tucson on Navajo Nation. It's amazing how difficult it is to drive through 6" of slush. I was happy when I reached a plowed road.
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1 month ago
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Mark BinghamIs this just some random thing in the middle of nowhere??
Maybe owned by the Zoolander employees. :-)
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1 month ago

I got to McNally's just after 4:00. The place seemed pretty dead and slightly run down. I had arrived just after the hamburger stand had closed down the grill for the day, but they made me a milkshake even though they were technically closed. A family sitting outside observed this, and gave me an extra hamburger they had ordered, but then didn't want. I thought rejecting it would be rude, so I accepted it with thanks, and then later discarded it.

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I was tired, and got ready for bed early, after eating some snacks and boiling water to make instant mashed potatoes. My room was alright, but grossly overpriced for its age and condition. I was starting to feel pretty terrible from my cold, coughing violently. These things always seem much worse in the evenings. Hopefully I could sleep fairly well. I was nervous about tomorrow's enormous climb, which would take me to over 9,000 feet.

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Today's ride: 42 miles (68 km)
Total: 240 miles (386 km)

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Jeff TeelJeff,
I really feel for you with that cold. Still, you’re making amazing progress, providing outstanding pictures and excellent journaling!
Wishing you the best - most of all, a speedy overnight recovery from your cold!
Jeff
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1 month ago
George Hall"Finally I reached the top. I'd climbed almost 3,000 miles from Glennville in the last few hours."

Wow, that's an incredible amount of climbing! Not even the famous adventurer Greg Garceau could climb that much in one of his imaginary adventures. Not bad at all for a sick guy.

Seriously though, hope you get better soon.
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1 month ago
Bob DistelbergSmoky the Bear AND Woodsy Owl! Haven’t heard about them in a long time! Hope you get past the cold and start feeling better soon.
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1 month ago
John EganHope you are feeling better today, Jeff.
The Kern River section is nice riding,
but OMG, you did some steep climbing.
Nearly all of the smaller Sierra roads are like that.
Did you do any pushing - - I certainly have.
Enjoy Kennedy Meadows.
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1 month ago
Jeff LeeTo John EganHi John,

I'm on US 395 right now, taking a break at the truck stop at Coso Junction.

I didn't have to push the bike going up Sherman Pass Road, but I had to stop and lie down several times.

Still have the cold, but it mostly only bothers me at night.
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1 month ago
John EganType your comment here
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1 month ago
Jeff LeeTo Bob DistelbergThanks, Bob. I think the cold is almost over now. Today was the least-worst day so far
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3 weeks ago