Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mojave Tour 2014: End times

Dec. 29th

We made the easy drive to Joshua Tree in the early afternoon.  Since we're cycle touring nuts, we can't help but study roads with cycling in mind.  For the most part, the connection between Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree has been much improved--great pavement and, on long sections, a really good shoulder.  At times the shoulder narrows to less than two feet, but the road is two full lanes in each direction with great lines of sight.  While not always a fun ride, it looks pretty reasonable.

After some shopping and puttering around at the local mountain shop, Nomad Ventures, we went in search of our vacation rental--and were so, so very, very glad to be driving.  The place was miles and miles and over 1,500 ft. above the town, a chunk of the climbing on rocky sandy roads.  We were shocked--and delighted.  The coarse lanes spread across the rocky hillside with grand views in all directions.  We could feel the quiet.  We wanted to buy a house and move in.  We settled into Piper's rental and drank it all in, walking Django on the soft road surfaces.

More study of the forecast confirmed our need to depart early and forfeit a night.  Snow was coming for sure to Joshua Tree, and it was threatening hard in Tehachapi.  A few snow flakes in Alaska will lead Caltrans to close Hwy 58 and keep us from getting home, so we determined to beat the storm.  Most graciously, Piper came by to check on us and say that she was going to refund our night.  She figured almost everyone was going to be shut down by the storm.  "There's more to life than just making money," she said.  "I'm more concerned about people having a good time and wanting to come back."  Now that's better business.  By mid-afternoon the next day, we were home.  The icing on our post-tour cake?  An astronomical traffic jam funneling through an intersection of Hwy 58 and 395--miles and miles of backed up cars, trucks, and RV's--THAT WERE GOING THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!  We missed it all.  No snow fell in Tehachapi, but the town of Joshua Tree got over three inches.

Miles: O pedaled.

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