The Path to the Salton Sea - A newbies bikepacking adventure (heavy pics)-
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  1. #1
    Singlespeed Enduro Poser
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Smile The Path to the Salton Sea - A newbies bikepacking adventure (heavy pics)

    Day 1 Gale Force winds

    The mountains of San Diego, CA has been experiencing a winterless winter. For months, the weather has been pretty mellow with guaranteed sunny skies. Of course, at the day of our big bikepacking adventure, winter decided to show up....besides rain makes for a good adventure right?

    Here we are t minus 5 seconds before take off. Our bikepacking gears are waterproof but we are not taking any chances. It has been raining off and on and the rain were dropping pretty heavy from the skies. So, we wrapped our bags with good ol' fashion trashbags.

    We had a loose route planned out but the constant rain kept us in enroute to Noble Canyon which isn't far from the house.

    Photo by Gabe

    At this point the rain has gotten pretty heavy but we pushed on.

    The forest through Noble Canyon was just exploding in vibrancy. I can not seem to recall a day in the canyon where it has been so lush.
    Photo by Gabe

    Photo by Gabe

    As we get further up in elevation our immediate forseeable future is pretty imminent. WINTER STORM!

    We get to the top of Penny Pines trailhead and the wind was somewhere in the 60mph winds that howled like a possessed evil spirit. The adventure gods peppered us with marble sized hails and the cold, it was a bitter cold.

    We were soaked and battered from the wind and hail. We are not even remotely close to where we are supposed to camp.
    Here at Penny Pines we stopped for a short break and hoping to fill up our water for the next 2 days.

    We purposely only brought enough water to carry with us to Penny Pines and the plan was to fill up here for the rest of our trip.
    We get to the pump and lo and behold the Mother #$#$ er is not working. So, we decided okay lets pedal to the campground which is several miles away and we will fill up there.

    As we began to pedal to the Big Laguna Trail, the wind has picked up even more, pretty much enabling us to pedal that direction.

    So we made a crucial decision to turn around and basically conserve water until we are in the desert which seems from where we are is a gazillion miles away.

    We tough it out and carry on, on our adventure.
    This section and part of the ride really tested my resolve like hasn't before. The Gale force wind was unbearable. It delivered numbing pain on my face, eyes, hands and feet. For 1.5 hours we battled with mother nature and honestly she might have won this one.

    Gabe is a real trooper. I think, i honestly think if he said let's turn around i might've obliged to his request/demand.
    He was battling cramped legs and i was battling with my own demons.

    After 1.5 hours we took shelter at Pioneer Mail trailhead which has an enclosed bathroom. There we seek protection from the elements.
    My hands and feet were so numb and painful at the same time, i thought they were frost-bitten. My eyes were frozen and my face was so numb that it was pretty impossible to talk because my jaw/cheeks wouldn't move.

    As soon as we started feeling our extremities again and somewhat ready continue we began our battles with mother nature once more.

    Here is Gabe in the middle of the Gale Force wind storm.

    after a few hundred feet of elevation loss, the weather receded just a tad and progressively got better.

    Photo by Gabe

    With some serious elevation loss to the desert, the weather got nicer so, nice that we had to remove our soaked jackets and let them hang dry on our packs.

    Gabe feeling ecstatic from having survived that nasty storm we just encountered. Now we are off to our resupply point.

    After filling up all reserves with water, we each enjoyed a bottle of mexican coke before heading out our primitive campsite.

    Once at camp, we quickly set up, had dinner and collected some wood for our fire. We can't help but look out into the horizon where we came from and noticed the thick storm brewing storm above the mountains.

    Photo by Gabe

    Phot by Gabe

    At night we hang out by the fire for a bit and sipped our whiskies. The first day was quite the adventure and both Gabe and I are excited to see what is in store for us the next few days.

    I brought a fortune cookie and i thought that fortune that came out was pretty cool.

  2. #2
    Singlespeed Enduro Poser
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Smile The Path to the Salton Sea Day 2 - Team What the F*&*

    Day 2 - Team What the F*&*

    2nd day started early. We have a long day ahead of us and with all the extra water that we need for the night. I would say we have a full load.

    According to Gabe he thought he knew what strong winds were, until last night at camp. Apparently the wind was pretty intense during the night. It was hard for me to tell because i had my earplugs on.

    Looking back to the mountains where we've descended. Looks like the storm is still up there in mount laguna.

    Gabe is just happy to see the sun come out.

    After a quick breakfast and coffee we packed up camp and got wheels rolling.

    Photo by Gabe

    Photo by Gabe

    The desert wash was so sandy so we had to do a few of these.

    Photo by Gabe

    After a few miles of riding and Hike-a-biking in the wash. We hit our first saddle. From there we took a small break.

    This is probably the worst i've seen this wash in a really long time. But at least the temps stayed in the mid 70's and the dark storm clouds were behind us or so it seems.

    We look at the clouds and Gabe was like, that is our future.

    After the last saddle before the full descent down to the desert floor, Gabe wanted to see if he can see our final destination for tomorrow.

    Now it's time to descend. You can almost see the desert floor from here.

    Photo by Gabe

    Once in the middle of the this geological awesomeness. The views just becomes, sorta unreal. seems prehistoric....

    Photo by Gabe

    That looks sketchy!

    Photo by Gabe

    Most of the entire wash was really soft so you really have to navigate and find the hardpacked path.

    We've been on the saddle pretty much non stop for 7 hours now with the exception of the small break we had. So after this shots were taken we've stopped to enjoy our scotches & whiskies and just take in the views. Besides we only have about 6 miles left until we reach our primitive campsite.

    Photo by Gabe

    Gabe got a little carried with the whiskey so it was funny to see him kinda 'weaving' during the ride.
    Also, we've not seen a single soul in the desert all day. so when we came across a group of campers/mountain bikers in the desert we were elated. We stopped, chit chat a bit and told us that they will be camping where we will be camping. So, we were really stoked and looked forward to hanging out with them at camp. But before we went on our merry way, they gave both Gabe and I a half of cup of Tequila and i hesitantly refused but, later on i was like what the heck.

    We took our shots and next thing you know we were buzzing. Gabe and i had to stop and eat some food before we reach camp.

    Meet Team What the F*&*

    Here is Gabe having to stop just feeling out of it.

    Shortly after this break, we proceeded to pedal about 3 miles or so to our campsite. We quickly changed and setup camp.
    Just in the distance, Team What the F*&*'s campsite.

    After we got done setting up, here is our new friend delivering us some IPA's. Hell's to the YEAH!!

    Never thought, an ice cold beer tasted soooooo good!

    We enjoyed every dropped of that beer and told everyone that we would be stopping by after dinner.
    Dinner came and gone and before you know it, we stopped by to hang out with Team What the F*&*

    Man, what a GREAT NIGHT this was. The weather was calm, the stars up above was in the billions.
    By any means, we were not expecting anything when we stopped by, but man! They HOOKED us UP!

    They fed us tri tips, peruvian beans, carne asada and chicken tacos, spanish rice and cherry cobblers. The beers and whisky were flowing. The guitar was being strummed. The fire was stoked. The conversation was great. One of the guys is stoked about his upcoming Great divide race. i mean, it was just an awesome vibe all around. And we even got to see some movies!

    It was really cool to see that such a vast age differences (from 26yrs old to 79yrs old) congregating in one spot because of this thing. This mountain biking thing that we all share and have in common with.

    After awhile, we were all gathered around the fire and i told one of the guys that Gabe played the guitar and how good he was. Of course Gabe as humble as he is played it off, but took the guitar and played probably one of the best played song i've ever heard in my life.

    All the guys were singing with song and gabe just rocked it.

    One of the guys said, this is destiny. You guys are meant to be here.

    What a way to top off the night.

    Team what the F*%* were awesome. Google them!!

  3. #3
    Singlespeed Enduro Poser
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Smile It's always never about the desitnation - Day 3

    Day 3 came in at around 5:30AM. A little to early for my blood, but i would give to see a sunrise just like this once more.

    Photo by Gabe.

    Photo by Gabe.

    Last night was one for the books. You know, the book/s you keep hidden from everyone and show everyone when the time comes.
    Our journeys and adventure that preceded us was an amazing and unforgettable one. My partner in crime Gabe is one amazing human being. I am fortunate to know him and share this adventure with him.

    Once it was bright enough, we did not waste anytime to get ready.
    We made our morning coffee, breakfast and all packed up before 7:30AM

    Team What the F*&* basecamp.

    Shortly before we left, Team what the F&*& showed up hauling some goods for us to take. They gave us more food and more water for our trek to the Salton Sea. What a great group of people!

    I even got to try Paul's Electric mountain bike. this one was sick! And it was really light for having all that stuff on the bike.

    After saying our farewells to the gang, we slowly rolled out of our campground and once the wheels were turning, we did not look back.
    After all, we still have a full day ahead of us crossing over to the sand dunes aka the desert of San Diego.

    After a short pedaling on the pavement, we made it to the next county over.

    Typically, this place would be really going off. You would see a lot of Moto traffic. But today is Superbowl Sunday and the desert was in Sublime condition and only having to see a handful of moto's.

    At some point, the dunes got really bad and we had to deflate our tires to about 7 psi. running them really low.

    Gabe and I riding some of the "trails" on the dunes.

    Off to the rear of the picture, you can see the mountains where we've descended from.

    At this point we came across a saddle not too high but from there we were able to see the Salton Sea.

    and after a few more miles of pedaling we made it to the Salton City.

    It was just like any normal city. it had all the fasfood amenities and mexican food. At this point we were pretty hungry, but we opted to just keep pedaling and finish the ride.

    Man, the Salton Sea is one trippy place.

    You see all that white stuff that Gabe is pedaling on? That is not sand but decomposed fish and fish bones. It is beyond nasty.

    Bit of a turnoff but you, know the journey that we had from our house to here was something else altogether. The challenges, the uncertainty, the new friends, the hypothermia, the hail, the wind, the sun, everything. If i was asked if i would do it again, well you know the answer.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Jouster's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: rjwall's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    awesome trip report! sounds like you guys had a little something of everything, well done!

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Ecurb_ATX840's Avatar
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    Feb 2014
    Really great to read and see this, thank you!

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Sounds like a perfect journey. Great report, great pics, thanks for the inspiration!

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Thanks for posting the trip report. Great pics and story.

  9. #9
    Reputation: pimpbot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Photos are broken. I suggest migrating over to PicasaWeb/Google. They don't care about bandwidth.

  10. #10
    Just Ride!
    Reputation: kustomz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    pictures not showing

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