What a bunch of pansies. Call yourself adventurers? We admit defeat, Mineral King remains an enigma to our rubber tires.What can I say? I just didn’t want to go riding in 7-inches of snow and -4c weather. Pansy, or genius?
The trip started off well. We had enough people pull out of the trip to fit all five of us in one car. The decision was made early that Mineral King was going to be too much, a storm was moving in over much of coastal SoCal and while it was rain at lower altitudes it was all snow where we initially wanted to ride. We decided upon a campground above the town of Ojai for our first night and a loop with two big climbs over the next two days.
We rolled out, Ojai is about an hour and a half north of LA. Driving is thirsty and hungry making work, but with Shane behind the wheel I have no excuse. I just like hanging out at bars, especially those decorated with sporting paraphernalia.
Leaving civilization behind, we arrived at our campground in the darkness and fumbled around with our tents. It was cold but dry, at that stage.
The morning after the place looked like a marsh. The rain started about an hour after we turned in and didn’t stop all night. JD, who had been sleeping on an outdoor bench, crawled into my tent neglecting to bring his only pair of shoes with him. Waking up to wet shoes would have crushed my spirits, but JD seems to thrive on adversity.
The rain continued to come down in buckets. We did our best to dry the tents, lamenting that we hadn’t camped under the picnic shelters, ate some breakfast and tried to come up with wet-weather ideas. There was some talk about going to the desert, where it was presumably dry, but eventually we decided to roll back down to Ojai. We were looking for a bike shop but found something much better.
Man, it was really warm in that bar.
On the trip up I had asked my Americans if anyone had ever had a battered and deep-fried sandwhich. Their response was conveniently listed on the menu at our lunch stop, a Monte Christo. I kinda had to try it. It was like two pieces of French Toast with a cooked breakfast in it, delicious.
A few pints later that sun came out and Enzo used his birthday veto to get us on our bikes and climbing up the nearest hill.
Climbing for an hour and a half is hard at the best of times, and after four pints it takes on new dimensions of heartburn, breathing difficulties and blurred vision. Naturally, we thought this was a hoot.
Minreal King remains unconquered, and we got our butts kicked by Ojai weather. But I found two good bars and ate a deep-fried sandwhich. Success!