October 7, 2015 – Sunny, 75 degrees
Miles Today: 59
Miles to Date: 8,192
States to Date: 25
It’s time to tempt fate and talk about dogs, one of a touring cyclist’s greatest fears. I have been warned time and again that the two worst places for dogs are Appalachia and the Central Valley. I have real fear of the stories I’ve heard in West Virginia and Kentucky. But I must say that, so far, dogs in the Central Valley do not live up to their reputation.
Yes, there are many. Yes, they do chase cyclists. I’ve had more dogs chase me in the past four days than during my previous 150 days of cycling. But, hey most of them are tiny and the all have their tails wagging high. These are friendly dogs. I am sure a German Shepard could decide to have my calf for lunch tomorrow, but so far, Central Valley dogs are laid-back, California creatures.
Daily variations in a place as huge as the Central Valley are subtle. Today I spent 25 miles on Jack Tone Road, a smooth strip of pavement will all sorts of harvesting taking place, all by machine.
One machine shakes the walnut trees. Another sweeps them off the ground. A third conveyor belts the harvest into hoppers. The hoppers are transported to hulling facilities where a series of belts separate debris from hulls from shells. I think the first time a human actually touches a walnut is when we consumers take one out of a bag.
I also saw machines harvesting plum tomatoes and corn. The scale of operations is immense. It also leaves waste. So many pumpkins that didn’t meet the grade.
By the time I reached Lodi the focus shifted to wine, so tourism comes into play. Lodi is a truly quaint place with a lovely downtown, as well as a cool bike rack outside the library.