Friday, June 1, 2012
Vision Quest: Day three
Grey dawn, hardly a breeze, up and out of the tent at 5:30AM, birds already doing their thing, 38 deg. F. We have breakfast and almost spit it up as Kevin shows us how he'd take out a bear should one make the mistake of gettin' up in his greel--go totally off-the-hook ghetto with a plastic pooper shovel. We finally leave camp at the genteel hour of 8AM, rolling hills then down and down and out into broad sage-filled basin, the small town of Adin clustered in trees and braced to the north and east by crusty volcanic ridges. Distant views are hazy--the product of a fire we won't smell until late in the afternoon--but there's no denying this is great riding. In Adin we stop for a snack and pick up some supplies for the night, a spot of decent Chilean red for the adults (?) in the crew. In the restroom are a few posters printed on tin: "Wine--how classy people get wasted." Or "I drink coffee because I need it. I drink wine because I deserve it."
From Adin, we head due west, Mt. Shasta a ghostly white island on the horizon. These miles are effortless, a gift before the punishment that will follow after lunch. But at the moment we are ignorant of the future and ride in the moment, which is all we can ask for.
Before heading north again, we encounter these animals, more commonly associated with Wyoming:
Local color in Lookout, where we had lunch and packed water for the coming dry camp. There don't appear to be any "services," but there is a currently an open Post Office:
After lunch, the Heat Lamp of the Gods--Apollo especially, eh?--is turned up to 11. We soldier on, pouring sweat. Perhaps only in the mid-80's deg. F., it is hot enough to have us gasping on the slow climbs and seeking shade for breaks. We ascend firmly into the National Forest, and for the first time, I smell smoke on the breeze. Where is that fire? We never get an answer. With some logging activity going on, it's time to play tag with that most miserable of creatures: the loggingtruckdriverus jerkus americanus. Most of the blokes were fine, but why are these particular drivers so often a-holes? A pair of heavily loaded rigs piloted by pin-headed demons decide it would be great fun to swing wide into the opposite lane--my lane--and lay on the horn, ya know, just scare the skinny cyclist idiots, right? Good fun--har, har! On the plus side, the call isn't close, and I continue my most excellent cycling adventure with excellent friends while the loser truck drivers are trapped in their diesel-spewing, rattly kidney punchers and will finish their day in a low-rent dump feeding their loser, low-life alcoholic cirrhosis-blasted livers, maybe beat the girlfriends for good measure. Sorry, gals, make better choices. Dump 'em and find a real man. You can tell he's a good man because you'll find him riding a bike--not trying to run down riders for sport.
We pick a good dirt road and roll back some distance from the pavement and pull off into the woods. A nice, flat, pine-needle covered floor invites the would-be campers who, excited at the prospect of a good stop, jump off their bikes into the warm, inviting embrace of...blood sucking mosquito bastards. Well, technically bitches 'cause only the females suck blood. The only real vampires I know aren't pretty or sexy or sparkly or endowed with goofy Hungarian accents. They're bugs. And they just suck. Too our great relief, at least one of us has thought ahead: Kevin has packed the repellant, and a healthy spraying wards off the worst of it, although we all end up suffering puncture wounds on unprotected flesh. Sigh....
Still, the camp is quiet, the ground soft, and we settle in as best we can--tolerable but itchy scratchy: