Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thank You Speedy!

First of all, to catch up after yesterday's post from Wrightwood...

I left Wrightwood at about 2:00. It was back to climbing. The weird thing was that the road said it was Big Pines Hwy. But it was supposed to still be Hwy 2. I didn't see anywhere where I would have turned on to a different road. Finally, because I was worried I was not on the right road, I stopped and pulled up maps on my phone. I was on the correct road. They just called it by another name (I hate it when they do that!).

I continued to climb up to Blue Ridge at 7000+ ft. I stopped and took a few pictures. A gentleman asked me if I would like a photo with me in it. I said sure (I always do)! Then I was headed downhill all the way to the elevation I had just climbed up! As I was going down, a coyote went across the road in front of me. So, you ask, "Why did the coyote cross the road?" To see Super Biker Woman, of course! He (or she) took a good look at me. No worries though, I was going pretty fast.

After I lost all that elevation, I had to go back up to even higher. I was getting a little worried that I would even make it to the top, let alone to Buckhorn campground. I had filled up on water in Wrightwood, so I could camp anywhere. I decided I would start looking for a place to pull off and camp at 4:30. Well, 4:30 came and went and there was no place to camp. I was still climbing. 5:00 came and went as well. By then I was talking to myself saying, "It can't be too much further. You can make it! I'm sure it is just around the corner!" I almost cried when I reached Dawson Saddle! Still, there was no place to camp. At least, it was downhill! It is truly amazing how many miles go by so quickly on the downhills!!! I got to a place called Islip Saddle. I saw a parking lot with vault toilets, picnic tables and trash cans. I decided that would make a perfect place to camp! There was even a reasonable flat spot out of sight from the road. The Pacific Crest Trail crossed here, so that is why there was the amenities. The only thing lacking was water, but I had filled up so I was good.

As soon as I got off my bike, the flies began to gather around my face. I quickly set up my tent, swatting at the flies. I threw everything in the tent and dove in myself (only letting one fly in--too bad for him--he was dead in a poor-little-fly heartbeat!). I set up my bed and organized my stuff. Pretty soon the flies gave up and went off in search of something else to pester.

I didn't cook any dinner; just ate some cookies and a granola bar dipped in peanut butter. I got in my sleeping bag after hanging my food panniers from a tree (okay, so it wasn't much of a tree, but at least any critter would have a hard time getting a grip on them). Even though I was all alone on a desolate mountain, I slept very soundly. All I could hear as I drifted off to sleep was the soft hooting of an owl.

I woke up this morning at about 5:00am. It wasn't really that cold, so I was able to get everything packed up without freezing my hands. I didn't cook any breakfast either--just another granola bar dipped in peanut butter. I had bananas, but they were still too green.

I was on the road by 6:50. I had a little bit of climbing, then a long downhill. It turns out the campground I was supposed to stay at wasn't even open. The bad thing was that I needed more water because the next campground didn't have water. I had hoped to get water at Buckhorn. I continued down the road. On my map, it showed a restaurant not too far. When I got there, the restaurant was closed. Two guys on motorcycles were there and said it would be open in a couple of hours. One of the guys checked to see it the water was on (there was an outdoor spigot), but it wasn't. He suggested going through Chilao (a campground and picnic area) to see if there was water there. I did and my first attempt failed. There was a drinking fountain, but it wasn't on. I continued through the park. Eventually, I saw two buildings. I stopped to see what they were. The sign said they were government buildings and not to disturb the occupants unless it was an emergency. Frankly, they both looked closed up. But, one had outdoor lights on. I went to investigate and saw a hose. I followed the hose to the spigot which was
In a concrete block box with a piece of plywood over the top. I lifted the plywood and turned the spigot. Yay, the water was on! I went back to Stella and got my three water bottles and two Platypus containers. I disconnected e hose and filled up all my containers. As I was reconnecting the hose, a dog started barking from around the corner of the building. I quickly put the plywood cover back on and went back to Stella. It was only 8:30, so if there was anyone there, they were either still asleep or out working. Anyway, I managed to make my getaway without being observed or caught (what a good little water poacher am I).

I came out the other end of the park and continued down the road, confident that I now had enough water to see me through tomorrow. I did some more ups and downs until I reached the base of Mt. Gleason. I had decided instead of camping at Monte Cristo, I would finish the climb to the top of Mt. Gleason and camp at the top where the PCT crossed the road again (remember, this ride roughly parallels the Pacific Crest Trail--in fact, it crosses it 11 times). This was about a 6 mile climb. It was hot and there was little shade. I would try to stop and rest every time there was a bit of shade (mostly having to cross to then other side of the road to get to it). As I was climbing up a particularly hot and steeper section, I came to some road construction. A flagger was leaning on a front loader as I came up the hill. I stopped when I reached him. He said I was doing a great job and asked where I had come from. I told him and he agreed it had been mostly downhill...until now. Then he asked if I would like something cold to drink! He gave me a bottle of Gatorade! I drank that puppy down!!! As I was drinking, I asked this savior his name. It was Speedy. I finished the Gatorade, gave him the bottle back and said, "Thank you Speedy!"

From there I had about two more miles. At the top, there was a sign saying, "No public use due to the 2009 Station Fire recovery project". Well, now what was I to do? I figured I would just head downhill until I could find a suitable place to camp outside of the area of the fire. No such luck. Soon I was out of the Angeles National Forest. Now any camping would be known as trespassing. I continued into Palmdale. The route was to take me around Palmdale through Desert View Highlands. Since there are no services besides a restaurant, I came into Palmdale itself. I stopped at a gas station and asked where the nearest hotel was. It was an Indian guy and he said, "Go to the second signal and take a left on Palmdale Blvd." So I did. The first hotel (motel) that I came to was called "Wahil's Inn". It looked pretty cheap, so I stopped. At first it looked like they charged $60, but then I saw a sign that said "1 person, $35". I asked if they had Wi-Fi. The guy said, "Yes" (well, he nodded his head anyway). So, I decided to stay there. Curiously, the guy was also Indian. I had a hard time understanding him (not just because of his accent, but because he was behind, possibly, bullet-proof glass.). I got my key and rolled Stella into the room. This is, quite possibly, the seediest motel I've stayed in. It's probably some hooker hotel. But, it's cheap and the door locks with a deadbolt. The shower was fine and I don't need anything fancy anyway. I'm not sure what I'll do for dinner and breakfast. I ate late at Subway, so I may just find a grocery store and get something cold.

As for the Wi-Fi? I'm at a Starbucks close to the motel. I didn't figure I would be able to understand the guy if he were to tell me what the network was for the motel and it didn't come up when I tried to connect. I wonder how long Starbucks stays open?

Total miles for today: 61 (should have been 38)

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