Mountain Bike Bill, The Dirt on the Dirt

Big Laguna Camping

I have had a big project on my to-do list for quite some time since I bought the trail-trailer. That being a highly capable solar upgrade. I had previously installed 500 watts of solar panels on the roof along with a solar charge controller in a earlier effort. The next phase was to add a bank of LiFePo batteries, a 3,000 watter inverter, an automatic bus-transfer and a battery monitoring system. That stuff took sometime to complete and now it was time to head out for a weekend of fun and testing things out.

Campsite on Laguna Meadow

The Cleveland National Forest was shutdown due to the CA wildfires drawing away all of their resources so we had to wait until the closures were lifted. The morning that it did I was already headed into the mountain to try and grab a first-come first-served site. I was rewarded with a nice spot on the meadow.

Oops on Los Gatos

After setting up camp it was time for quick spin around the place. It was still early in the day on the first day the forest had opened back up so the place was pretty much empty. From camp I went along the meadow and then up Aqua Dulce to Los Gatos. There was a tree down on Los Gatos that was a bit too big for me to try and muscle out of the way. Another thing that was pretty cool was the the number of pine cones all over the trail. With the forest being closed to the public for two weeks no one has been kicking them off the trail so there we all these little land mines along the trail. It was an added layer of fun for the day.

Traeger Smoker (Ranger Model)

To go along with the solar/power upgrade I bought a small Traeger wood pellet smoker for the RV. These nice thing about these is you pretty much set, forget and go for a ride. While they use wood pellets to cook/smoke they do need a little bit of 115VAC power to run the controls. The power upgrade took care of this without even thinking about. Considering that this thing uses less than 250Watts max and less than 50Ws most of the time, I basically have a solar powered smoker ūüôā

Pulled Pork – Yummy! (Yeah we are not really camping)

The In-the-field operational test of the smoker was a hit! Pulled Pork awesomeness.

The next day was a pretty mellow cruise around the meadow with Nichol. At the top of the meadow there is a pine tree that the Acorn Woodpeckers have taken over a pine tree to be used as a granary or “Acorn Tree”. The whole woodpecker family/community will use these trees and they will take turns guarding it.

One thing I think is really cool about this behavior is that initially they will get a acorn jammed into the hole so tightly that it cannot be easily removed. As the acorn dries out it will shrink. The woodpeckers maintain the tree and will rotate acorns as they shrink to smaller holes were they will more snuggly fit.

Top of Los Gatos

Sunday a friend of mine came up and we did a sizable loop that included a climb up to Redtail Roost followed by a run down the singletrack to Aqua Dulce. When then went up and over Wooded Hills and then a loop around the meadow. Definitely good stuff. We finished off the ride with Pulled Pork Tacos!

There was plenty of chilling done over the weekend as well.

We chilled out with the dogs leisurely broke camp the following morning to head back home. So nice to get out of town for a few days.

Exploring in the Southern Sierras

I did some camping and riding a little while ago in the Southern Sierras.

We spent a couple days out off the beaten path checking out some potential MTB goodness.

It was a little late in the year to be where we were and the temps were down in the 20’s at night

We even got a little snow on us the first night.

The trip and riding were certainly this….

Playing Dental Floss on a rock outcropping that looked like a row of molars.

A little air time.

We got at high as 8,000 feet and some points.    

Oh the names of the trails?¬†¬† They were KTS #1 and ICTU #4¬† (Kinda Top Secret and ICan’t Tell U)

The world is bike place, go bike it!

BLT Fun with the Grommets

FORWARD:¬† This is repost of an online post I made in September of 2007 after my boys and I spent a weekend camping in the Laguna Mountains.¬†¬† I am in the process of updating my page and maps on the area.¬† While doing this I noticed I did not have this story¬†anywhere on my site.¬† This post here is designed to “capture” the story within my site.

Me and my boys are in between thier youth hockey seasons right now so we took advantage of one of the free weekends to get in a little camping and riding in the Laguna Mountains. While the biking was not the primary goal for the weekend we had a lot of fun and I am quickly starting to get a couple little dirt addicts on my hands. We got to the Laguna campground late in the afternoon Friday and just did get setup before dark. Saturday morning we took a spin around the Big Laguna Trail.

The BLT is a great place to take kids that are looking for a “big” ride. My youngest Jake was getting a bit bounced around on the uphills with rocks so we stopped and did some sessioning on how to unload the front wheel when going over the stuff. He picked it up really quick and owned the stuff the rest of the morning.

We stopped and messed around with the cows

Hmmm……..cranberry sauce, gravy…..

By 1PM we were out on nearby Lake Cuyamaca fishing. The keyword is Fishing NOT catching.

So it was Chicken for dinner that night. The rest of the evening we spent screwing around with the fire, smores, and flaming balls of marshmellow goo.

The next morning we decided to do the BLT in the other direction this time.

Stopping to check out the Indian Motareos(sp?) (In case your wondering my oldest boy Will gets that from his Mother

Jake’s handiwork with the camera.

And Will messing with the camera around camp.

After the ride, we took our time breaking down camp and where rolling towards home by 1:30pm. It was a great weekend with the boys and if you are ever looking for a good place to take your kids beyond the local parks this place is pretty good in my book.

Bill and Will Roadtrip Day 3 – Mount Pinos

Man, the things we do for our kids.¬†¬† I got up at around 7AM and loaded up all my gear in the truck while Will was still sound asleep in the tent.¬†¬† All of Will’s biking gear had been staged in the tent last night.¬†¬†¬† I drove down to the bottom of the mountain at 6,400 feet and started a 6.5 mile pavement climb back up to the campsite at 8,200 feet.¬† Will certainly has it in him to do this¬†climb as he had tackled¬†Palomar Mountain earlier in the year which encompassed 4,700-foot climb over 11.1 miles.¬† I wanted this ride to be more about fun than fitness today so I cut out most of the climbing for him.¬†¬†The climb back to camp was¬†not a steep one and I found it¬†pretty easy to keep a pretty descent¬†pace even with 2.6 Stick-E rubber tires.¬†¬† I thought about taking the McGill trail up but I wanted both Will and I to experience a “new” trail together.¬† When I got back to camp, Will was already up and making himself some breakfast.

Views in the morning

I had left a few things back at camp so I would not have to climb with them, mainly my camera.¬†¬†While I was getting that stuff in my camelbak, Will (who had already gotten geared up)¬†commenced to start talking a little smack about Dad being a fiddle-fart.¬†¬†So, I set him up.¬† I snippedly told him to “Go on ahead, you know I’m just going to catch you, even though I already climbed over six miles this morning”.¬†¬† Well that was all it took, Will took the bait.¬† He casually said, “See you up the road” and¬†pedaled off at a normal pace.¬†¬†I yelled at him as he rode off, “Don’t start off too fast or¬†you’ll be sorry!”¬† The hook was set.¬† Just when he thought he was out of view (but not quite), I saw him¬†drop the hammer.¬†¬† Nothing left to do now but reel him in a few minutes after the pace,¬†grade and the thin air above 8,200 feet get done with him.

I finished up what I was doing and got¬†rolling.¬†¬† After a couple of turns in the road and Will still being out of site, I was impressed.¬†¬† One turn later and I saw him, hunched over his handlebars on the side of the road.¬†¬† The voice of Phil Lidgett came through my head, “Oh my, the young rider has cracked! There will be no hopes for a mountain top win for him today.”¬†¬†¬† Will got to rolling when I neared, but his pace was mighty slow and he complained of not feeling good.¬†¬† We took an extended break¬†for him to recover and I could not help but get a devilish grin¬†on my face, when I told him to come on and stop fiddle-farting.¬† I wish I had my camera out¬†to catch the look on¬†his face when it dawned on him¬†that he had¬†fallen for a parental version of a Jedi Mindtrick.

View from Pinos

After he recovered, we soon left the pavement to continue climbing on a fireroad up to the Mt Pinos summit at 8,830 feet.   It was a fairly mellow climb and the views were pretty nice even with a bit of lingering haze from the NorCal wildfires.

Bill and Will

From here it was a mostly downhill affair back to the top of the pavement where we hooked up with some pretty nice and mostly buff singletracks that included the Harvest and Southridge trails.  These bits of goodness took us back by our camp and down to the McGill campground.

Harvest Trail

From the McGill campgroud, we picked up the amply named McGill trail which was an absolute heavenly bit of singletrack that worked its way down the mountain.  The grade was never steep and it was virtually buff the entire distance.   I rolled through hundreds of Kodiak moments and only captured a few.

Will in the trees

This picture provides very little justice to the view.

Killer View

Will had one of those moments of inattention that caused him to take a soil sample on a switchback.   After the initial uggh following the thump, he chuckled and dusted himself.   He then went back up the trail and nailed it the second time around.

Dusting Off

The blissful descent was over far too quickly and we were soon back up at camp and packing up.¬†¬†¬†Will has not learned much about repairing flats and other mechanicals yet so a solo descent down the¬†McGill trail was not on the table.¬†¬†I did let him ride the road down.¬† He thoroughly enjoyed the speed-fest coming down the mountain on the pavement.¬† We spent the rest of the day getting home and chatting about what a cool week we just had.¬†¬† Once home it took all of about 15 minutes before Will¬†was out the door to skate and hang with his friends and basically get back into his busy routine.¬†¬† I’m sure as the teenage years roll in and along the competition for his time will get tougher so I am really thankful to¬†have the time with him now.¬†¬†¬¶lt;/p>