This is the second post in a new series that explores some of my research and adventures while writing A Feast of Weeds, a post-apocalyptic adventure trilogy.
On the first day of this delta tour, we biked over 50 miles. Beautiful weather, deserted roads, a friendly encounter with a local folk band. Part research, part adventure. I spent the day imagining what it might feel like to find the whole world big and empty.
The slough roads were narrow, barely wider than one car, but so empty, it often felt more like a dedicated bike trail than a road for cars. Some of the sloughs sported a layer of neon green, red, or yellow algae, depending I think on the type of chemical runoff from the vineyards (a slough is a type of creek, usually slow-moving, swampy, marshy).
On the turn off for Grand Island Mansion we passed another group of bicyclists on their way to Berkeley, CA with their instruments strapped on their backs and on bike trailers. The Cracker Family Circus had also started their trek in Sacramento and were headed to Berkeley to play a show. They’re all about lowering their carbon footprint while playing punk blues. We compared maps and miles traveled, like any good cyclist would do, and then headed onwards.
The biggest surprise for me were the two ferry crossings. They run almost continuously across two sloughs–there to help the random passer-by cross the delta’s vast network of roads, islands, and swamps. No fee, no hassle, we just waited for the next ferry and hopped on.
While being in the saddle for that many miles didn’t feel so great, the day’s worth of sights and friendly people made up for it. It was a nice, easy ride with great views, beautiful skies, flat roads, and a countryside almost empty of people.
Of course, that’s not quite how Corrina, Gabbi, and Maibe find things in A Feast of Weeds. In fact, these heroines would each argue that the world is still too full of people after everything falls apart–capture and torture and terrible experiments will do that to a girl.
Igneous Books is publishing A Feast of Weeds in late Spring 2015. I’ll be sending updates, sneak peeks, and advance reader copies through my email list. I hope you decide to Join the Adventure and further explore how this delta bike tour informed the trilogy.