The weather forecast calls for 36 mph (58 km/h) wind gusts. It’s going to be that kind of day.
I turn off the pavement onto a gravel road which leads me through a wind farm. Just as you don’t stick solar panels where the sun don’t shine, you don’t stick wind farms where the wind don’t blow.
I stop for a minute to catch my breath and a rancher drives out to investigate.
“I saw the flashing lights and I was confused.”
“I just wanna make sure all the vehicles on the road can see me.”
She puts the SUV in reverse and that’s the end of it. No questions about the bike. Did she come to offer aid? Did she suspect California monkey-business and drove out to make sure I wasn’t putting down roots?
This gravel road is a navigation mistake. It continues to kick my ass for the better part of the day. I’m too far in to turn back and the paved road ahead of me is still miles away. My narrow road tires can handle some sections but in other places it’s so loose that I have to get off and walk. The powerful cross winds make it much worse. With the solar panels locked in a horizontal position, I’m getting less help from the partly sunny sky than I would with the full tilt range.
Traffic is very light which is great because I need to pull over into the deep gravel and stop every time a vehicle passes. Every other truck stops to ask if I need help. Surely, no one in their right mind would be riding a bike down this road in this weather. I suspect they have a point.
I resolve to get an earlier start the next day and try to make the most of the sunny forecast and slightly reduced winds.