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Monday, July 21, 2014

Heaven on Earth.....

My riding buddy, Brenda, refers to this view as "Heaven on Earth", and I have to agree.  Every time I arrive at this spot I feel like I have come "home"......it always feels like it was only a few days since I was last here, when, in fact, it has been over 3 years.  


This picture was taken by Brenda at the top of Mammoth Mountain, some 11,083 feet above sea level....and at least 1,000 feet above timberline (the point where trees begin to grow).  You can see the Minaret Mountains in the distance.

As agreed our group met at "Breakfast Club" around 7:30 for breakfast.....I had my usual eggs over easy, sourdough toast, hash browns, bacon and coffee, and as usual it was great!  Sundays on a mountain bike trip to Mammoth with good friends reminds me a lot of our life on the road when we meet up with other nomads as we crisscross the USA......the "until next times" always come too soon, and never seem to get any easier.

We were in the gondola making our way to the top of Mammoth Mountain a little after 9 am to begin what would end up being our last downhill run this time around.  The weather was partly cloudy with a light breeze, but not too chilly as we began our 15 mile plunge to the Village.  The run was entirely without incident, and, in fact, we had no injuries this weekend, and only a few minor spills with no blood shed.  I managed to ride crash free for the almost 50 miles of downhill riding we did this weekend.


Here I am at the end of the "Juniper" trail section about 3/4's of the way down.  Note the "full body armor" I wear now.  I take a little ribbing, but at least "if" I fall there will not be much damage to my person.  Knowing I have the extra protection reduces those moments of hesitation that can cause crashes........hesitation is your enemy.


Taking a short break near the top of the "Big Ring" trail before we continue on the "Paper Route" trail on our traverse across the back side of the mountain.


Me (above) about 1/2 way down "Off The Top" trail, just reaching timberline......the overnight rain helped to pack the sometimes loose pumice trails, and it is because of the volcanic pumice that covers the entire mountain terrain here that you must wear protection.  Pumice is decomposed volcanic glass, and will cut you to ribbons if you do not wear enough padding.

Rain at the Adventure Center

We reached the pavement just as it began to rain......we had heard from a rider just a few minutes before that they had shut down the gondola due to lightning.  It's good that we at least got one run in, because this was to be it for the day.

We all headed back to Motel 6 by a little after Noon, and were in our cars headed to our respective homes around 12:45......my friends heading south on US 395 back to SoCal, and me north to SLT*.  I can never escape that vague feeling of ennui that over takes me at these times.  The rain came again with a vengeance just as I was approaching the south end of Topaz Lake, an continued the rest of the drive home.  I was continually fighting a strong wind from the west, and occasionally hydro plaining through puddling water on the highway.

On the south end of Topaz Lake, and about to enter Nevada.

I stopped off at Trader Joe's in Carson City to get a few things TLE requested, and then began the 10 mile jaunt up US 50 to the top of Spooner Pass in a driving, torrential rain storm replete with wind, lightning and thunder, but no lions, tigers and bears.......:D

Bill and Debby were behind me as I approached 
the Kingsbury Grade turnoff

I arrived home around 3:50 pm just as a lightning strike caused a power outage throughout South Lake Tahoe.  I pulled up to the Registration office to find it bathed in darkness and TLE checking in customers without a computer, or much light......the "show" must go on, right?

The electrical outage was so extensive that it took until after 9 pm for them to restore service, but as I write all it back to normal, and the campground is drying out once again.

Thanks for stopping by!

* SLT = South Lake Tahoe

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