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Trip: The Sliding Game
Saturday February 23 2008 03:28:57 AM
Date: from Feb 23, 2008 to Feb 23, 2008
Surf trip description:
Dawn …. low clouds but no wind! Loaded up the Solara and rolled down the 405 Freeway South from Long Beach at a steady 80 MPH CD blasting Limewire downloads of everything from “Lean like a Cholo” to “Honolulu Lulu” and the “Hippy Hippy Shake”. Hit the 55 North by Newport Beach … still light traffic, then on to the 91 East, up to 90 MPH now.
Then I hit road work just before San Bernardino, slow to a crawl, finally get passed the mess, then off the local mountains exit on the 330 Expressway, back up to 90MPH. Making good time, 90 miles in less than a hour and a half. The big black sign at the base of the mountains lights up …. chains required in all mountain areas.
The Pineapple Express has been sucking moisture from the Hawaiian Islands north to the Gulf of Alaska then sending it spinning down the entire West Coast. Two feet of fresh powder over a six foot base in the local mountains ... snow level down to 3,500 feet with snow covered cactus in the high desert after last years record drought.
OK so I have to buy cables ... my Solara has 18” Chrome Alloys with low profile “rubber band” tires. Pull into Goodyear and pay the $70 for $40 (made in china cables) then up the mountain running 4,000 RPM in second and third, the cold air intake growling and making good time.
Hit 3,500 feet, lots of snow but the road is still clear. Looking down I notice the gas gauge sinking like a rock, that 3.4 liter V6 is thirsty at the best of time only getting 20 MPG, then boom … the Highway Patrol has the road blocked … chains required from this point. OK pay the $30 to the installers, then its roaring, slipping and sliding for the next 30 miles of winding mountain road.
Pulled into Running Springs on fumes and coasted into the gas station! Its 8.30AM and the road is still covered with last nights two feet of fresh snow! It takes me another hour to made it up to Snow Summit ski resort at Bear Mountain. Am following a Ford F150 pickup with chains, but no limited slip differential as highlighted by the stream of slush flying off the one spinning rear wheel … screw it I’m going for it. Have to pass not just him but three other crawlers … second gear 40 MPH cables spinning and roaring, slipping and a sliding, here we go!
Finally made it …. its 9.30AM and Bluebird. Clear blue sky above 7,000 feet with a sea of cloud below … the deep blue of Big Bear Lake mixed with the frozen shore ice and the fresh white snow draping the green Fir trees. Fresh packed squeaky fast powder! The Miracle Mile is just what it says. A mile long run mixing intermediate with expert sections.
First run … my legs ache and my muscles burn, thank god for the long chair ride back up. After the first three runs the pain subsides, get back into it (just like surfing you need to get into rhythm.) Lift up, unweight, turn, down, set the edges, and then unweight again all the while keeping your upper body pointing down the fall line (downhill). Easy carving in big smooth arc’s on the flatter stuff (like tracking out on the shoulder) using the terrain’s varying holes and bumps to set up the turn then whack, whack, knees up and down (like pumping a hot section) on the Black Diamond stuff.
Time for lunch at 8,000 feet … the $10 steak sandwich and $2.00 soda! Starting to get colder … the clouds are pushing in and the wind is coming up. A few more runs, almost 3 PM and its starting to snow, little hard pellets, not the soft fluffy flakes … time to get the hell out of Dodge before the blizzard hits!
The snowplows have done there job … the roads are wet but clear. Made it home in two and a half hours, hot shower, hot chicken soup, couple of Rolling Rock’s and crash, TV babbling in the distance … out!
Modified: Saturday February 23 2008 06:07:26 AM