44.1 mi / 10.5 mph / 1311 ft. climbing
Home: Redlands House AirBNB room
Ken and Susan were kind enough to offer us options to help deal with Rett’s back, including another night’s stay if we needed it, or a drive down the road a bit to shorten up the day’s ride. Pretty great for people we’d known for less than a day. But Rett being Rett (and also after a night of rest and heat on her back) wanted to keep on riding. So after some good morning chats around breakfast, and checking out each others’ bikes (Susan has the same relatively-rare Specialized AWOL that I ride!), we rolled on eastward under our own power.
When I had woken up, I did my usual weather check by clicking on a spot in the middle of our route, and the forecast was so crazy that I was sure I had accidentally clicked on something that took me to a “Fontana” in a totally different state. Because the 25 mph winds it showed, with gusts up to 40 mph, made no sense. I had seen nothing like that in the forecast last night, so the only reasonable possibility was that I was accidentally looking at Fontana, Alaska or something like that. So I clicked back to Glendora, our current location, and, phew, it showed the nearly windless conditions it had shown last night. To double-check, I clicked over to our ending destination of Redlands and it showed the same. Ok, good. But curious about what I’d first seen, I clicked again on Fontana in the middle, and WTF, it still showed the huge winds? I couldn’t see any feature in the landscape that would cause these high winds for the middle 15-20 miles of our straight west-to-east route, so my best hope was that it was a weird bug in the forecast model (wind forecasts have been somewhat unreliable for us), and off we went.
The morning was sunny and warmer than yesterday, so we hoped that would keep Rett’s back in better shape. And the roads continued to be very pleasant for suburban arterials.
But then, the wild winds started: the buggy forecast was legitimate after all! Right around Fontana, as predicted, we started feeling the strong winds coming out of the north. Luckily, they were crosswinds for our eastward travel, but the gusts were strong enough to buffet us, and they definitely slowed us down.
We needed calories to be able to push on further, and our best chance was eating while standing tucked right next to a park bathroom building, letting the wall shield us from the torrent of air. The discomfort of that, and the discomfort caused by needing to fight against the winds (both to get forward, and to maintain stability), had me thinking there was no way Rett would be able to make it to Redlands with the condition of her back.
But somehow, she kept on pushing and moving and made it through the second half of the day even better than the first. Whether it was the pain medication, the brief, glorious bits where we turned south and had a straight tailwind letting us coast at 18mph, or the Gogol Bordello songs she started playing on her phone, I was happy and relieved that anything could make it easier for her. And finally, the further we got, the more the winds died back down, perfectly matching the incomprehensible forecast. I remain baffled and curious about whatever dimensional vortex caused those localized Fontana winds.
A second disturbance in the universe was the black hole on the map was centered on San Bernardino, a bit east of Fontana. This one appears on the Strava Global Heatmap, a really useful route-planning tool I use to understand what roads cyclists in the area actually use. San Bernardino shows almost no cyclist traffic, even though all the areas surrounding it are well lit up with activity. It’s a very unusual black hole in the map, so it made me concerned that there is something really unsafe about the roads there that keeps cyclists off of them. But riding through there was perfectly fine, and not notably different than any of the suburban riding over the last couple days, so it remains a second mysterious spot on the map from this day.
Coming into Redlands, we were gawking at all the giant, beautiful, well-maintained Victorian and craftsman style houses behind the lines of palm trees on the street that our AirBNB was on. I had my phone out while riding to get pictures of some of them, which meant that I wasn’t paying attention to the routing, until I realized “oh, hey, that beautiful house I just took a photo of is also the one we’re staying in!” The management had written to say that just parking our bikes out behind the garage in the back would be safe, which I had been rather skeptical about, but once I saw the neighborhood and environment, I immediately was like “ah, yeah, I get it, we’re good here”. The inside ended up just as impressive as the outside, to the point where it almost felt like we were stealing something at the price we were paying.
I made a sunset run into town for groceries (at the Vons store right next to the Vans store) and was so taken with the town of Redlands (which I had known nothing about) that I knew I’d have to take Rett on a walking tour the next morning.