I left my free site this morning at 7:15. It was pretty chilly at almost 7000 ft. My hands were very cold as I was trying to pack up my stuff. I had to use a match to light my stove as my fingers could not make the lighter work. I just moved fast to stay warm.
Day 7 on the road started with the remainder of the climb I didn't finish yesterday up to Onyx Summit. I made the summit (8443 ft.) in about two hours (it was 6ish miles). Then it was an awesome downhill all the way to Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake. I rode along the side of the lake against the wind. It wasn't too bad because the terrain was fairly flat. I passed the campground I was supposed to stay at last night at about 10:00. I'm glad I didn't try to make it the whole way.
At the end of Big Bear Lake, I started climbing again on Rim of the World Hwy. I climbed for a long time, a REALLY LONG TIME! The views were spectacular causing me to stop and take many pictures (also rest...and eat jelly beans). As the road climbed and followed the contours of the mountains, the view changed from mountainous to wide open where I could see the whole (I'm guessing here) San Bernadino Valley. I went through a number of towns that really seemed to be clinging to the mountain side. It was amazing! Even Rim of the World Highschool seemed to be perched on the precipice of death!
The wind along the rim was pretty brutal. On the sections where I was coming down, the wind was really pushing me around. On one descent, I noticed a CHP behind me. He stayed behind me until the road flattened out. Then he went around. Not long later, as I was coming down another hill, the CHP was parked on the side of the road. Reflagged me over as I went by. I stopped. He wanted to know what kind of bike and gear and where I was going. He is a cyclist, but hasn't toured. When I told him where I was headed tonight, I gave me another alternative to the route. Now, there are only two kinds of people I will let take me off my route. Local cyclists and police officers. He suggested a route that kept me from losing too much altitude (and having to go back up). It brought me back to the route a couple miles later. It had some hills, but a lot less traffic. The only bummer was that I got stuck behind a school bus (remember that highschool?). Anyway, Paul was very nice and I enjoyed the alternative route. He had also suggested a free campsite, but I really needed a shower and Mesa is only $3 anyway. Plus, I wasn't sure how I would get back to the route.
After I went through Crestline, I had to do something I have NEVER done before! I actually had to stop to rest my hands from so much braking! The road was so steep and VERY curvy! I didn't feel comfortable going over about 20 miles an hour, sometimes even less! Some might have had to do with my crash back December, but this was just crazy! I actually looked forward to the ups (except a couple that were particularly nasty)!
Finally, the road straightened out, but continued downhill at a reasonable, no brakes needed, grade. I made it to Mesa at 3:45. Not bad for 65.5 miles! I'm back down to about 3500 ft. Shouldn't be too cold tonight.
The shower here is the BEST SHOWER EVER!!! It's not free, but that's probably a good thing because, otherwise, I'd still be in there! The wind is blowing pretty good, but that is just allowing my clothes to dry faster.
Week one is complete. It seems like just yesterday I was landing in San Diego. Of course, that's what my mind thinks. My body thinks San Diego is but a distant memory! After 7 days I've pretty much got the routine down. Ride, eat, ride more, eat, set up camp, eat, sleep and repeat!
Now, onto more of the "eat" part!