Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sweet September Metrics--Lake Almanor & Tunitas Creek

Sunday Sept 1-Chester Basecamp Bodfish Named-w Dr. Dave
Satuarday Sept 7-Tunitas Creek w/ Lighthouse Bonus, w CA Mike, Christine, Elliott

I usually hate Labor Day weekend.  As Memorial Day is the gateway to the summer, Labor Day is the gateway to colder weather, shorter days, end-o-baseball season, much more commute traffic.   This year had a chance to go up to the Dr. Dave hideaway and with a lack of planning (which got Ms. Pumpkin nervous) everything came off great.

Dr. Dave wasn't sure he could cycle 2 days in a row and Ms. Pumpkin rather hike than cycle--so I got dragged on my first hike in 14 years.  I know its 14 years as the walking stick I brought and Ms. Pumpkin scoffed at was dated 1999.   Actually I did hike with my daughter and wife in Red Rocks Nevada a few years ago and promptly had a cap ankle for a few months, so usually NO hiking for me.  But I figured I'd suck it up.

Ms. Pumpkin also sucked it up.  She's always afraid she'll get sea sick on any boat ride.  When Dr. Dave proposed a boat ride on the first day I quickly said yes.  Ms. Pumpkin sat at the front of the boat-shot in the air when we repeatedly crashed into afternoon waves, and she loved it.
Ms. Pumpkin with crazy hair--Mt Lassen ahead

Dr. Daptain Dave looking for waves to crash into

Good BBQ at night though Dr. Dave talked me into splitting a steak with him.   Dr. Dave likes desert--I don't, so he was satisfied with 1/2 a steak.  Damn, we grilled it to absolute perfection and we should have gotten more steak.
Next day was hike to Bumpass Hell---a hydrothermal boiling bubbling field.  The hike is relatively easy--maybe a little more difficult than Muir Woods, and I was the only person with a walking stick.  The trail was jammed with tourists--Bumpass Hell is one of the most popular trails on Mt. Lassen.

Over Bumpass Hell the Earth is crumbly, so you have to stay on a Boardwalk.  Later on looking down, the Bumpass Hell Boardwalk kind of looks like the Great Wall of China.

Ms. Pumpkin and Dr Dave in Bumpass Hell

Ms Pumpkin and me with the Great Wall of China Bumpass Hell, below.

From Bumpass Hell we  Ms. Pumpkin decided we need to hike another 1.6 miles to Cold Boiling Lake.    Here the trail stopped being easy and there were some major up/ downs, and the tourists were left behind.  We still saw no one with a walking stick like mine--most people were using carbon fibre? trekking poles.  Ms. Pumpkin wants to get them--Dr. Dave and I said they looked like what janitors use to pick up garbage at the beach.  No wonder the trail was so clean.

In any event, we reached one high point and looked down and saw a beautiful lake.  We then went down--where my knee usually gives me trouble--and Ms. Pumpkin was speeding ahead.  She had to drive back to the Bay Area in late afternoon.  We finally get to level ground and we get to---a dinky pond.  I wanted to keep going as we'd now be on level ground--but most of the hike back would be uphill and we had to get Ms. Pumpkin back, so we left disappointed that we didn't get to Cold Bubbly Lake.

Fakeout--we think this is Cold Boiling Lake--it ain't

Dr. Dave making sure I don't fall down the hill

The uphill climb was better for me than the downhill--I actually got ahead of Ms. Pumpkin though I tweaked my knee by mistakenly leading with it over boulders.   See that beautiful lake we didn't get to again from the overlook.  Tourists back at Bumpass Hell.  Trip back was much quicker than our trip out--but I;'m disappointed we didn't get to our destination.  When we get back to the cabin Dr. Dave looks at the map--the pissy pond was Cold Bubbly Lake--the lake we saw from the overlook was the next lake in the chain.

Ms. Pumpkin joked that I should be an REI model for my strange hiking dress and my walking stick, but I think that honor went to a few people wearing plaid shorts.  I could still take the lead if I borrowed those white arm sun protectors.  h

 Bodfish has all the answers, even before you ask the questions and Bodfish sells fuel at a nice price
On way back we stopped at Bodfish Bike in the logging town of Chester.   Bodfish is kind of retro; Rivendell with humor.   The Bodfish team did a series of California ride book, we spoke to the owner for awhile and I picked up his book of the 40 best rides in California.  Turns out I've done most of the Northern California rides he mentions, and to my delight he spends some time talking about the Gold Country which I think is the best area for riding in California.

Waffles taste great at 4,500' for breakfast.   Dave picked out two great movies to watch--The Birds and American Graffiti.  I think AG held up well over time, The Birds seems very campy.

Diet  dark beer and diet waffles with pearl sugar--recreating Belgium at 4,000' elevation
Dave came up with a nice quote--both he and I bemoaning that we are 5-10 lbs heavier than we want to be.  (Long long ago we were both 30-40 lbs heavier than we wanted to be.)   Dave said "I'm happy with my current weight--until I'm on the bike"  So Fn true.

Next day Dave and I planned to cycle Indian Valley.  Rained heavily overnight and overcast in the morning.  We drove to Indian Valley it started to drizzle so Dave figured we could do a ride he likes out of his cabin--up nearby logging roads until the pavement ends.  Dave's call to drive 40 minutes was perfect, when we got back to his cabin the rain stopped and the sun was peaking through.

Dave and I ride up though pine timberland towards Silver Lake before the road craps out

Moss on the trees

Dave makes friends with one of the children in Chester

First road was a gradual 10 mile uphill before the pavement started crumbling.  Lots of tall pine trees, interspersed with clear cut areas.  Sections looked like an xmas tree farm.  Then it was back down and over to Chester where we rode a backdoor route towards the Lassen National Forrest.   Dave kept raving about a great water spot and when he said "this is it" I looked ahead to spot an outhouse with water fountain.  No--it was next to us.  A waterfall UNDER the rocks leading down which formed a pool, which then ran under the wall and formed another waterfall.  So we had running water in stereo.  Then nearby there was a pipe with spring water shooting out--this is where w refilled out bottles.

So a triathlete weekend--boating--hiking--cycling and hammacking.

Dave's secret water spot in Lasson National Forest.  They could replace the plain pipe with something more...artsy.

I'm climbing out of Chester, with Mt. Lassen in the background
Next weekend was a good Club ride but most people were either injured or out of town.  CA Mike called for us to do Tunitas Creek, which i wasn't keen on as my tweaked knee was hurting.  (On the hike was first time I had to take Alive in years.)   Weather was for 100 in East County, while Tunitas was @85, so nite before decided to do the hilly loop.

Weather was perfect--warm on first morning climb of Old La Honda.  A big group started with us--I could still pass @90% of the people but the people that passed me went by so fast I didn't have a change to hang for even 5'.   Mike's young friend Elliott is built like a flatland powerhouse but he kept plugging away with my falling off his wheel.  He later joked he was 50 lbs heavier than me whereas I pointed out he was 50 lbs (sic) younger.  OK, not quite but I can't keep a high pace going anymore.  

Mike on Old La Honda climb

Mike and Christine going down Highway 1

Our motley crew by the lighthouse
We used to do a bonus loop South of Pescadero by taking a backroad to the Ocean then going North on Highway 1 on the Pacific and past the Pigeon Point Lighthouse.  Wind was always in our face and we used to line up behind Big Jim for this portion of the ride.  Last time out Ward and Mike figured that without Big Jim we should head directly to the ocean and head south with a tailwind.  Today the wind was kind of still so we only had a faint tailwind but it was still a tailwind and the lighthouse was very very clear.

Warm in Pescadero so I skipped the artichoke bread and just liquored up with lots of sports mix.   Young Italian mom in a mini skirt doing an imitation of Sharon Stone.  In another area three cyclists--one in a Davis Double Jersey and one in a Triple Crown Jersey performing a major operation on one of the bikes which seemingly was a routine flat tire change.  A half hour later the tire was still flat and they were still changing it.

Mike by the Pacific

Christine and I near Pescadero near irrigated Pumpkin patch

Nice ride to Tunitas Creek and then a beautiful climb.  Next is a descent of King Mountain-lots of hairpins and traffic.  I hate it--when we were in training in past years we used to basically do a climb similar to Tunitas Creek--Alpine Road, which nicely avoided the Kings Mountain downhill.    Always seems like someone is driving up a hairpin over the center line.

Bamboo tandem in Pescadero

Homage to Ward--Elliot will learn not to focus too long or strange things show up in the viewfinder

Highway 1 and Pacific on descent to Tunitas Creek Road

Christine happy finishing Tunitas Creek Road as she hasn't seen the idiot driving on the wrong side of the road yet.
Today Elliott and Christine go down first and Mike babysits me.  When we get down the the bottom we find out that Christine almost skidded out, as around a turn a car was full in in her lane coming at her.  She came out unscathed wit just a needless adrenaline rush.

Good deli sandwiches back in Woodside and then I took the long way back so I could go over the New Bay Bridge. (+pluses) Surrounded by spider web cables , nice view of the Oakland hills, bike lane/ pedestrian walkway.   (-minus) Uni tower is kinda dinky compared to the SF side Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge towers, forest of thick floodlight poles looks strange.

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