Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Southern Cal to Vermont

Here's photos from the road trip that lead Narva and I from his home in Southern California to Middlebury. It's a big post and I considered breaking it up, but I'll just leave this as a 99% photo post.
I landed in LA late on May 28, where Narv picked me up and took me to the boarding school he works at in Ojai, about an hour and a half or so northwest of the city.

Professor Narva writing evaluations for his students.

The view from Narva's apartment in a student dorm.

On May 31 Narv and I drove to Point Mugu State Park on the pacific coast to do a ride.

The trail head starts on the beach and climbs into the hills


I came within about 3 feet of running this little guy over. I'm not sure who would have come out worse.

We spent all day June 1 cleaning out Narvs little apartment, stuffing much of its contents into the back of his Nissan Xterra. Early June 2 we hit the road, bound for Boulder City, Nevada, 10 miles south of Las Vegas.

Apparently they're running out of road names in desert southern cal.

The Nevada border is visible from several miles away.

In case you can't wait to lose money, there's a strip right at the border.

This is as close to the actual strip as we ever got.

We went to Boulder City specifically to ride Bootleg Canyon, a southwest riding mecca.

When we got to BC the temperature was in the 90's and climbing with strong winds. We were about to sweat more than I think either of us ever has, but never would we feel more than slightly damp in the dry desert air.

The trails kicked ass, but the heat did likewise to us. In the 3+ hour ride I downed a gallon on water and two Gatorade's, though I don't think I peed once. The dry wind whipped the sweat off us before it had a chance to really cool us off and there was no way to drink enough while riding to keep up.

From near the top.

Bootleg has some super intense riding. This little ditty straddles a near vertical face, sending the rider down three big steps with little margin for error. I had tunnel vision coming through it, but am glad Narva made me turn around and see what we'd done.

Narva was somehow able to pee in the extreme heat, and proceeded to do so on his truck.

Narva examines his crash site. He launched off the rock in the lower right and hit the steep rock face ahead, sending both him and his bike into the gully to his left. He came back and hit it again, riding it clean on the second shot.

Sunset in the desert.

Boulder City was originally built to house workers building the Hoover Dam, which is just 10 miles beyond town. On the morning of June 3, before hitting the road for Fruita, Colorado, we went to check it out.

The massive Colorado River Bridge in the distance will soon serve as the bypass so through traffic no longer has to negotiate the tricky curves of Rt. 93.

A gaping spillway.

We headed back up to BC and then north through Arizona, Utah, and into Colorado.

Really, Beaver Dam, becasue I'm pretty sure to have a beaver dam you need both water and trees, and I don't see either, but keep dreaming Az.

Utah needs a new sign.

As we gained altitude the world turned back to green.

And then back to eathtones.

Maybe next time.

There's a dinosaur in Fruita and I don't think that fence is doing much.

We spent the night on top of this mesa in Colorado National Monument.

The next morning we hit the Lunch Loops trail system outside of Grand Junction.

Fruita-Grand Junction trails offer super technical sections mixed in with big long sections of epic sweeping single track. Temperatures were also much more negotiable in Grand J.

Then as we neared the end of a really tough trail called Holy Cross, something unbeleivalbe happened.

Mari dropped dead.

Coming up a steep section on 'cross' I sudennly couldn't get any power into the back wheel. When I looked down, the frame was split.
I think the crack started in Bootleg, though I never saw it. After almost 5 years of service, she went quietly.
I hiked out to a nearby trailhead while Narv rode out and drove up to meet me. We went down to Grand J where I hit up several bike shops until I worked a deal on an '09 Giant Trance X2. I stripped down Mari and laid her to rest there.
The Road

Early on June 5 we left Grand J headed east. We blew through the Rockies before breakfast making it to Des Moines, Iowa by that night. The next morning we again rose early and blasted through the increasing traffic of the mid-west, landing at Narva's relative's home in Buffalo, New York. On June 7 we made it to familiar territoriy in Saratoga Springs. With a dark blue cloud hot on our tails and three days of sitting in the car causing our energy levles to boil over, we blew into campus, jumped onto the bikes and hammered back into the Stables trails with Scott.


Two bartenders who I'm pretty sure wanted to serve us more than drinks in Omaha, told us to go to Anthony's for a steak diner. When we asked for directions they said to look for the place with a cow on the roof. Anthony's is another story, but the steak was solid.

Mississippii River.

We pulled into East Middlebury on June 8, doing another ride just for good measure. The next day Narv continued east to finish his trip to New Hampshire.

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