Day 3. Saturday, June 5. Frank Raines Park to Turlock along CA130 and J17. 50 miles.

After a frustrating hour or so trying to use my acoustical coupler with the pay phone in the park, I gave up and packed. It took three tries to get everything in the duffel bag (did I say that I had too much stuff?).

My knee is still swollen, but the pain in my legs has subsided somewhat. I can still ride, anyway.

More rolling hills greeted me on the way to Patterson. As the road left the river and I approached the Central Valley, the vegetation on the hills disappeared entirely, leaving bare brown hills and lots of wind.

In Patterson, I ate at Jack in the Box. I hope that I won't develop a diet of hamburgers (which in Santa Cruz represented a once-a-month treat). I couldn't figure out the Apricot Festival that was being held there (where are the apricots?), so just rode east to Turlock. Along the way, I did pick up some excellent fresh local apricots.

I've finally reached the Central Valley. Roads are flat and straight (even straighter than in Florida, because there's no bodies of water). It's about 75-80 degrees and sunny.

At a convenience store, I met Frank Grant, who was once the head of employee housing at Yosemite. He had some route suggestions, as well as telling me about a good place to bathe (at a place called Devil's Bathtub, which is apparently known only to the staff, who are often young women). He told me of his participation in keeping MCA out of the park, including an incident where several members of the staff mooned a tour bus full of Japanese tourists. "I could feel the flashbulbs on my ass", he recalled. They won in the end.

Turlock seems to be the last town of any size (about 50K people) between here and Las Vegas, so I'm going to make sure that I've finished my shopping. I got another tube, rim tape, and some more patches at the local bike shop. Then I checked into a cheap motel out by the freeway.

I'm in need of Internet connectivity, too, and the motel has phones. Unfortunately, they're really old, and don't have modular jacks. And I don't have anything to deal with this problem. So I rode out to Radio Shack and got alligator clips and a short phone cord. The resultant adapter isn't pretty, but is functional. Of course, it requires disassembling the phone to use.

I spent the evening icing my knees and connecting to the Internet. I still don't know if my knees can take any more climbing.

Three people so far have told me about the local recumbenteer. Apparently a strange guy, he's built a recumbent and has added lots of gadgets, including a car stereo, brake lights, etc.