Friday, November 09, 2012

California Tour Recap #2

Our first full day of our Stagecoach tour started with a beautiful morning at Bailey's Cabin.We had spread out around the site trying to find the best shelter from the wind.  I was in the green Nemo Gogo, and chose a bad spot.  The wind shifter during the night, putting me squarely unprotected.  I should have went into the bushes pictured in the back ground.  First lesson learned of many.


Andrew confirming the mood of the camp group.  It felt great to be out and going, and the morning couldn't be better. Temps were in the mid 50's.  Cool enough to sleep really well, and warm enough to not be freezing when you got out of the sleeping bag.


Oatmeal and instant coffee were my go to breakfast items.  I ride much better having something like oatmeal to start, and I get really unhappy without coffee of some sort.  Starbuck's Via instant coffee tastes much better than some I've drank in the past, and fit the bill well.  My trusty steep/clothes line in the back ground.  Ultra low humidity had clothes totally dry in no time, which made putting on a dirty kit feel a little better!


This shot of shows the surface of the wash well.  You can clearly see the sings of water, and the small at tracks made it obvious that it was damp at some point.  With the lack of traffic in this area, it's not hard to imagine these tracks being made months ago.  They've likely been undisturbed for some time.


Our fearless leader cruising around a corner.  We were again graced with a nice tail wind.  Combined with the ultra-hard surface this was super easy going.  The colors and shadows in this section were glorious.  With the warm sun on our faces and wind at our backs it felt sublime to just roll along.


The smoother sections gradually started changing rockier as we progressed along.  The track of the wash also started to narrow, making deeper cuts into the surface.  These little mini canyons were fun to ride, though I went over the bars trying to ride a little technical section.  I broke the computer sensor on my fork with this little stunt, a little thing that annoyed me to no end.  I now had no way of telling how far I had gone each day.  This would be a blessing or a curse depending on how you looked at it later.


Into the middle willows.  This is an oasis of sorts along the trail.  The transition from desert to wall of green was impressive.  Picking the hole in the wall closest to the GPS track, we headed in.  


Water was flowing even a little way in.  I didn't think I'd be ankle deep in it in the middle of the desert, but here we were.  Even with the QPS track, a lot of this section was close to bushwhacking.  We took turns at the front crawling through openings, scouting ahead, and looking for the stakes with pink flags on them that marked the route.  It was a lot of fun, but made for slow going.


A ways in the flora changed again, this time to eight to nine foot tall grasses.  In spots this was so thick I lost sight of Andrew only feet ahead!  Being able to see the desert hills in the background made this almost a comical scene.  It was awesome.


What started as little streams of water got fairly big.  Trying to keep feet dry eventually proved impossible, but Andrew's attempt made for one of my favorite photos of the trip.


I wouldn't have thought that the bikes would get so dirty in these few miles, but they were covered with silt, sand and vegetation. My brakes were making horrible noises even in the fully open position.  After a few minutes of cleaning and rinsing brakes, we were out of the willows and back into the dry desert.


Our progress this entire morning was rather slow.  It was actually easy going, but we were even at this point starting to lag behind the schedule we had set for ourselves.  Back on desert roads, we made our way towards Borrego, home of lunch in the form of fabled burritos.


 I'll pick up from Borrego next week.  Have a great weekend folks!


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