Day Eighty Six: Down, Down to Davis Town

Distance: 63 mi.

Song of the Day: Talking Heads — This Must Be The Place

9AM: Leave Sutter Creek after a tremendous breakfast and a brief survey of the fire smoke on the horizon. Our route is clear. Glide down local roads to Route 16, arc West toward Sacramento. Golden fields of fescue grass bear testment to the dry mediterranean climate and the town’s history of uncommoditized agriculture, interrupted by gold rush and subsequent needs to feed ten thousand more mouths.

The road squeezes inward as we reach Sacramento inroads, then spurts us into a wide shoulder allotted for car parking but mostly empty. Another city I’ve daydreamed about but neglected to visit becomes a tangible, pleasant memory. I get twisted up in city center construction, wind up north of the railroad yards only to be dumped onto a closed off river path, tragically turning round and heading southeast to cross into West Sacramento the ‘normal’ way. You can guess what Lizzie said about the foray.

Beyond Sacramento we join with dedicated bike lanes to Davis on the margin of interstate 80, our bodies guarded from mid-day traffic blitz by a chain link fence. Expectedly, headwinds fight us the entire way to Davis, churning up a roaring hunger that makes us unable to resist stopping into a chanced-upon In N Out Burger.

Lizzie has worked wonders with Warm Showers yet again, but it’s only 2PM and we won’t meet our hosts until closer to 5:30. Plenty of time to visit the Bicycle Hall of Fame which relocated from New Jersey to Davis a decade ago:

In 2008, The Hall of Fame embarked on a search for a new location that would be capable of honoring over 130 inductees and displaying its extensive collection of historic artifacts spanning over 100 years of American cycling history.
After a nationwide competition, Davis, CA was chosen as the new home for the Hall of Fame and its Museum. Davis is renowned for it’s commitment to cycling and recognized as a “Platinum” Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame now occupies an 8,000 square foot building in Central Park in downtown Davis. Its collection includes a vast array of bicycles, photographs, awards, posters, periodicals and racing apparel from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Our museum fare is waived thanks to John, our Warm Showers host, who is a leading member of the Davis Bike Club and recommends boasting about our voyage thus invoking the unspoken rule “cross country cyclists don’t pay an entry fee.” It works, and we’re even invited to nestle our bikes safely in a small kitchen on the ground floor or the museum.

5PM: Meet John and Katherine at the Davis Beer Shoppe. Conversation in the bar zips and swarms in a loose swarm of exchanges. Find myself overwhelmed by the convoluted sensation of having been dispossessed of barren desert silence too quickly — the drum-buzz rapidity of barroom dialogue is too forceful. I crave softness, openness; finally reach it on the bike ride home, where I must confront the unimpeachable truth that this bike trip will be over tomorrow but will leave me a person fundamentally transformed.