Kitchen Creek – Fred Canyon Area

So I have been behind the power curve on making reservations ahead of time for excursions.   I had to go the route of finding a first come first serve site for this outing.   I was looking to hit up our favorite spot, the Laguna Meadow Campground, but it is currently closed for maintenance.   Burnt Rancheria was the other campgroup on the list but they were all booked up so I headed up mid-week to find an spot.    Most of the first come first serve sites are tent camping sized sites.  I was not the only person who had this mid-week idea as when I arrived most of the larger sites that would accommodate an average or larger RV were already occupied.   One of the reasons we went with the size trailer we did was to be able to get into more places and spots.    Lucky for me there were half a dozen spots that were large enough for our setup.   The spot I got had just enough of a parking spot to use but it made the door face away from the site itself.   No big deal as the site itself was huge.

Grabbing a Spot

The following morning I decided to do some snooping around on some trails/routes that I had never been or or I had been quite some time ago.   My boundaries for the day were Sunrise Highway, Kitchen Creek Rd, Fred Canyon Rd and and Thing Valley Road.

Kinda a trail here

Dispersed camping is allowed on the National Forest land off of Kitchen Creek Road and Thing Valley Road so I had an eye out for accessing those options on a later visit.

Top Quality Social Distancing

The more I snooped around the further east and down the mountain range I traveled.    Evidently I found myself by Cibbets Flats campground thinking I had done a good chunk of descending so it about time to head back uphill.   I decided to make a loop using Fred Canyon Road and Thing Valley Road to get back up on top of the Lagunas.

Taking a much needed shade break while climbing up Fred Canyon.

The climb up Fred Canyon Road was not too terribly difficult but it had some steeper spots and there was little shade along the way.    I evidently made it to the junction of Thing Valley Road and continued climbing.  Thing Valley Road takes you up through the Ewiiaapaayp Indian Reservation (Stay on the road) for a ways before you are back in the National Forest.   As you approach the northern border of the reservation the flora transitions from desert scrub to  pine trees.    Evidently gnats love this kinda forest as once I was under the trees the gnats got thick.   I realized I have my bug net in my truck and not in my pack.  The remainder of the climb was a bit of extra work as there was some additional calories expended swooshing at those little bastards.   I heard once that the the Southern California Gnat can fly at up to 6.7 mph.   My top climbing speed on Thing Valley Road was apparently 6.6 mph.

Hammock:45 (15 minutes past Beer:30)

I felt pretty good about the effort I put in for the day but I was certainly ready for a siesta.   It was a very good day to be out on a bike.

The Local Loop

So I have a few options for a MTB ride from my house.   Two of them require riding on a section of road I am just not fond of as it twisty and narrow and idiots driving too fast while being distracted are way too common on this road   There are a number of trees that bear the marks of dumb asses playing chicken with trees and losing.   I am not too interested in playing that game with a car.

So my preferred trail system actually requires  quite a bit more street riding to get to than the other two but they are much less dangerous streets and roads.   Getting to the trail system also requires a bit of climbing which is good for the whole exercise thing.

There are has been sometime where I felt kinda meh about the local.    Since I was off the bike for quite sometime earlier this year with a knee injury, I have rediscovered some of the joy of the local loop when I was actually able to get back on it again.   Earlier on in the recover just getting to the trail from my house was all my knee could handle.

The Perch

Now that my knee is on the mend enough that I can put some work on the climbs it is really nice to get back and enjoy this place.   Even if all I do is make it up to the first climb and chill out on what I call “The Perch”.     I am thankful for a knee that works again and my local loop.

Idyllwild – Pine Cove

I was pretty stoked to finally be able to get a way from the house in the midst of all this COVID-19 BS.    The plan was to take the RV up to the Herky Creek Campground and base camp there for the weekend   Nichol and got up there on Friday afternoon and a couple of hours later my longtime MTB Bud Bill arrived.     We spent the afternoon and evening grubbing out catching up and sampling tasty whiskeys.    Bill and I have learned a thing our two about our proclivity to try and solve world hunger around a campfire at night when there is a bike ride the following morning.    We set an alarm clock, not to get up in the morning but to go to bed 🙂

Base Camp Herkey Creek (This picture was from Sunday, Saturday was cloudy)

The weather was pretty foggy the following morning it looked like we might get some drizzle action as well.   We had the right gear so off we went.   Today’s ride would be Pine Cove and Hub Trails.

In the twisty stuff up top

We took advantage of the spousal shuttle service leaving Bill’s truck at the Hub Trailhead while Nichol dropped us off up in Pine Cove

Misty at the top!

It has been more than a couple moons since the last time I had started from Pine Cove so it took me a couple of minutes orientate myself.   I ended up taking the route I new and then later in the ride realized that few new connectors had been added that optimized your elevation loss/gain.   Our basic route was a bit of Project X, Toptimater, Dreamwalker, Hard Sun and Tubs.

I believe we are on Dream Walker

The cloud cover kept the temperatures at just in the comfortable range.   We got ourselves turned around a couple of times snooping on some of the new stuff (since the last time I rode there) but that is all part of the fun of this area.

That evening was more tasty grub and good times.    The next morning the sun was out and it was time for some more fun on two wheels to the east of where we were base camped.

Desert Flower Goodness

The Pretty Cool Temps and cloud cover were gone for this ride and replaced with gorgeous sunshine and warmer temps.

Desert Goodness

Spring was still holding on in a few spots.

Horny Lil Guy

Bill harassing the locals

More Cactus Goodness

We had a great time out on a nice bit of trail. This was my second time out on this route and I was really stoked to show off some of the bits of trail that included some of the California Riding and Hiking Trail.

Back at camp we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon, before breaking camp and rolling back to San Deigo.  I had reserved the spot for Sunday night as well, but I enjoy not having to be rushed out of the site on the last day.    This was a nice weekend getaway and good opportunity for Bill to check out live in the RV for some of less local adventures I have planned with this rig in the  future.