Total Trip Miles: 278
Knowing that we had an 11-mile, 3,000+ ft climb this morning out of Yucaipa, we decided to get an earlier than usual start. We rolled out of Tim and Nan's place around 6:45am. The fog was so thick that it was leaving little water droplets on our panniers and sunglasses.
I absolutely loved the climb today. The climb was gradual, there was a wide shoulder, and the views were gorgeous for the entire ride. Of course, it helps that I'm feeling stronger every day -- the hills are becoming less and less intimidating.
There's one thing for sure -- this route is not for cyclists who are allergic to hills. Fortunately, I have no such allergies. I love tossing the bike into an easy gear and slowly riding to the top.
|A beautiful view from today's climb.|
Of course, the descents are always great fun as well. It doesn't seem as though most cyclists around here earn their descents though, as we saw many cars hauling "downhill bikes" (a style of bikes designed specifically for downhill mountain biking) to the top of the hill.
|I love these mountains!|
Once we hit the small town of Angelus Oaks, the road continued to climb, though far more gradually. Before continuing the climb, we stopped at one of two buildings in Angelus Oaks for a lunch break.
|The restaurant in Angelus Oaks.|
If you look closely at the photo above, you'll notice three sets of bicycles: 1) two motor-powered dirt bikes, 2) two carbon fiber race bikes, and 3) two touring bikes. Can you guess which of the bike owners had the toughest climb up the mountain today?
A little while later, we looked off to a valley on our left and saw that we were definitely riding above the clouds. Woohoo!
|Riding above the clouds.|
There are a few National Forest stops within a few miles of each other. When we left this morning, we weren't sure which one we'd stop at for the night. But, with Alex's recently developed saddle sores, we figured we'd stop at the first stop, to maximize our rest time for the afternoon.
As it turns out, the Barton Flats Station is currently closed; it looks as though it opens a wee bit later in May. We wouldn't let a closed station turn us away. No siree! There's a functioning water fountain here, and the toilets are locked. That's totally fine by us. While camping is not permitted, in my book, stealth camping is always allowed.
We had a lazy afternoon. Alex napped.
I did some writing, some drawing, and then gave some TLC to my drivetrain.
Oh, and we saw a bear!
We used the stove for the first time tonight, making rice and beans, with red peppers and tomatoes. Yum! This was the first meal on this trip where I truly felt ravenous. Let the major calorie consumption begin!
After dinner, we wandered a bit away from the Barton Flats Station and set up our camp -- the first stealth camp of our trip! We found a great location, tucked in a low spot between some bushes. The bushes not only provided camouflage, but also protection from the night's strong wind gusts.
|Our stealthy campsite.|
While climbing is indeed enjoyable, it often makes for an early night. We crawled into our tents around 7pm. I spent some time listening to some music on my iPod before I drifted to sleep.