California. 19/10/90.

Dear All,

Where was I? Just leaving Canada I think. I’ve just done far too many miles since then but I keep trying not to.

After I stay somewhere for a couple of days I find the fabulous roads so keep zig-zagging around the mountains. I got cold in Idaho in the mountains so I stayed in the original gold rush hotel in Silver City (Ghost Town), Idaho with canvas ceilings and single thickness wooden walls etc. Population of the town is 7 in summer and 1 in winter. It was sunny during the days but still chilly on the 4000+ plateau so kept heading south, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada. Did most of Nevada desert on dirt roads and met cowboys rounding up cows on horseback. They still say it’s the best way. Takes 500 acres to feed one animal – they have big farms. Took a short cut across some scrubland ‘cos I was on the wrong track and spent 2hrs trying to get back to the road again.

Rule 1 – Don’t take short cuts in the Nevada desert. Death Valley was good but rather full of Germans, French, English on package holidays or in hired campers or cars. Found a nice remote spot and fitted a new back tyre which I bought in Boise, Idaho just to make sure I could do it and that nothing had broken or gone missing etc. The weather turned really hot again so I’ve headed back north through California/Nevada on fabulous, deserted roads that were just made for bikes. Why are there so few others about?

I brought 2 addresses of real beer breweries in California and was on the way there via the giant redwoods etc. finding loads of back roads and good people and ending up here last night by chance. It rained for the first time in weeks but it was warm water. Found the campsite by the lake and stumbled upon some of California’s home brewing fanatics living in a trailer (caravan) on the park. They phoned a friend who brought round his home brew and had a jolly good evening. We’re going out for some live music tonight. They normally live in the San Francisco Bay area (Berekely – opposite the Golden Gate Bridge) so I’m going to stay there on my way south. Also got to stay in Santa Maria (near Santa Barbara – all the famous places from the 60’s Beach Boys etc.) where some other people live who I met last week in the hills. It’s easy to see why so many people want to live in California. In a couple of days I’m heading for the coast then down the famous Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco then L.A. I’ve met some L.A. people – just like on the telly – mostly weird but “you’ve gotta check it out man”. Was going to be in Baja California (part of the Mexico peninsula) for the 4th Nov for the start of the Baja 1000 mile desert race (bikes) but it’ll take longer than that to check out the breweries and the coast and surf and cliffs and beaches and bars and all that. It’s only a bike ride after all. South America still looking good.

Hope everything okay over there.

Love Steve.