Rocklin resident bikes coast to coastBy: Brody Fernandez Of Gold Country Media
If you ever need to be motivated, just ask retired Rocklin resident Linda Apodaca how she biked 4,000 miles across the country in two months. What started out as an idea turned into a journey for Apodaca as she embarked on a life-changing journey.
“I have three kids, and once the last one graduated high school and went off to the military, I started feeling really down,” Apodaca said. “It got really bad. I gained a bunch of weight and started to get really depressed.”
That’s when her life quickly changed. After suffering from empty-nest syndrome, Apodaca got the idea to try to ride across the country.
“I lived in Forest at the time and I knew there were some good bike trails so I just started riding. Cycling frees me. I had a never-ending yearn to ride my bike across the United States. I wanted a different bike ride every day and to feel it without the barrier of a car,” Apodaca said. “I wanted to encounter people where they live and get an understanding of life in states other than California. I got it all and more. Our country is indeed beautiful and its people are helpful, friendly and welcoming.”
She flew to Virginia on April 21 and dunked her bike’s front tire in the shores of Yorktown.
“It’s quite a famous cross-country bicycle spot. The route I rode on is bicycle route 76,” Apodaca said. “It was created on the bicentennial of the country in 1976. The communities along the route are very welcoming to cyclists.”
The trip’s first leg took her through Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri.
“My favorite part of the first leg was when we rode through the Blue Ridge Mountains down by the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia on the Blue Ridge Parkway,” Apodaca said. “It’s very scenic, not many cars. It was just beautiful.”
She was welcomed at churches, fires stations and small towns along the entire route. Sheriffs know about this historic bicycle route and let bikers stay in the city park according to Apodaca.
“Virginia was very hilly, no mountain or big climbs so your body is really physically tolled,” she said. “It took me about a month to Colorado, which is kind of a halfway point.”
When Apodaca reached the middle point, it was clear that the Rocky Mountains were another favorite of hers.
“Colorado was so gorgeous riding through the beautiful mountain passes,” Apodaca said.
Apodaca then traveled the Scenic Byway 12 “All-American Road,” which allows for a visit every day at a national park.
“Glen Canyon in Utah was so cool and Capitol Reef had a lot of amazing fruit trees and old Mormon historic sites, so much to see. The grand staircase was a pretty amazing territory,” Apodaca said. “When you’re on those roads, you have canyon views from all sides. Hogsbreath is a very narrow road on a ridge, and for the effect, they don't put barriers and you could hear the wind howling out while you’re surrounded by this gorgeous view. It was just tremendous.”
It was then on to the “loneliest Highway 50” across Nevada for Apodaca. That’s a road stretching 85 miles with no services, water or food.
“For five days, I started in the morning with all the provisions needed for that day,” she said.
Apodaca had to carry up to six liters of water a day with all of her provisions.
There were no restrooms, no cafes, no showers and no anything along Highway 50, according to Apodaca.
“This was the most mentally tough part of the trip because I was solo,” she said.
Apodaca soon came into Carson City, Nevada (Carson Pass is south of Lake Tahoe). Then she took the Mormon Emigrant Trail, a road that connects to Sly Park in California.
“Then I was in Shingle Springs, and from there, I knew my way home,” Apodaca said.
She returned home in Rocklin on June 22 and on June 26 continued on the Western Express to San Francisco where she dunked her front tire in the Pacific Ocean.
Apodaca rode an average of 70 miles per day with 3,000 feet of climbing. She rode 40 to 110 miles per day with four “zero mile” days. Apodaca was on the bike for eight hours a day on average.
Apodaca is scheduled to speak to a bicycle group and individuals who are curious about her story. For more details about that event, email Apodaca at firstname.lastname@example.org.