Mountains and Deserts

After a few week-ends spent in front of a computer in the lab, this time I wanted to spend the week-end outdoors. On saturday I was planning a 65 miles loop in the San Gabriel mountains. Will and Bill joined the ride. Bill knows the area well, so he took us through some small streets that I didn't know at all, it was pretty nice. We got lots of headwind while going up Big Tujunga canyon, lots of COLD wind. So once we reached Clear Creek ranger station, we decided that the downhill was calling us, and forgot happily about the planned ride to Mt Wilson. We ended up riding 50 miles.

Too early, I don't want to go any more...
We meet Bill in Glendale.
Will came with me from Pasadena
We start fighting against headwind.
Going up Big Tujunga Canyon
I take a break at Big Tujunga Dam overlook.
The road's pretty steep on this section
32 miles, we're at Clear Creek
The downhill's calling us, let's go back !
First time I see this sign on "low"
All the clouds are "gone with the wind".

On sunday I wanted to try a century I heard about around Joshua Tree National Park. I had a route sheet from 'PseuZQ' from the newsgroup, so I packed and drove to the desert. "The desert in November, you're going to freeze your ass !", everybody told me. And for sure, it was cold. Cold at night, and also cold during the day with again plenty of wind. I tried REI's 'subkilo 20' sleeping bag, and was pleasantly surprised to stay warm all night with a sleeping bag so light !

Apart from 6 unpaved miles, riding through Joshua Tree was nice. No traffic, tailwind on the uphill and headwind on the downhill. Back in 29 Palms, for the second time of the weekend I lost my motivation to finish the ride as it was planned, and went straight for the car, instead of going through "Yucca Valley suburbs" as per the route sheet. I ended up cutting about 30 miles and rode only 65 miles. Hey, I was back in Pasadena before sunset... and most important, before all the bad traffic coming back to Los Angeles on sunday evening.

Saturday night at Black Rock canyon campground
GPS and laptop to plan and upload maps & route
Hopefully the tent will protect me a bit against the cold.
Joshua tree by night
Sunday morning, 6am. Time to wake up !
The sun's going up as well
I'm on my way and leave Yucca Valley.
Entrance gate of the park
Some Joshua trees have a strange shape.
Did you know Joshua trees are NOT a yucca species ?
Horse mine road leads to a gold mine. No time today.
Arghhh, unpaved road !! This is no fun at all.
Loose gravel... yeah, I hadn't noticed...
After 6 miles in unpaved hell, a nice sign.
Joshua tree Park has plenty of big rocks like this
Lots of people go for rock climbing.
After lots of climb, the reward: 12 miles down
I'm making a big loop...
...that will exit the park near 29 Palms
Time for some sugar, I brought bananas
The exit ranger station, I show my pass.
A cholla cactus. Don't touch, those really hurt a lot.
What's that, an army bunker ?
I stop at the visitor center to buy postcards.
There's all kinds of shops in 29 Palms...
Snow on the San Bernardinos. Probably Mt Baldy.
An oxidized rock with nice colors.
Chihiro and I stayed here last year.
A garage that claims to be cheap. Yeah, right...
A dead coyote on the side of the road.
Back in Yucca Valley.
Do Yokozunas really eat sushi ???
My means of transportation. The bike's worth more.
Was a nice cold, sunny, windy ride.
The Bike Friday fits nicely in the trunk.