Fleeter Log #139kDay 18 - Saturday
Rim of the World
Rim of the World
May 2, 2009
Joshua Tree, CA to Palmdale, CA
Interactive Spotwalla map
Interactive Spotwalla map
Yesterday I rode in the desert. Today I ride into the San Bernardino Mountains that separate Los Angeles from the Mojave Desert. Today's road will take me through mountains and pines, past several lakes, and even past sections with snow alongside the road.
Highway 247 from Joshua Tree to Lucerne Valley didn't offer much to keep the ride interesting, but the ride decidedly takes a turn for the better when I make my way west into the San Bernardino National Forest on CA18.
The morning carried me past Big Bear Lake within view of Sugarloaf Mountain. Since I don't know what my dining opportunities will provide me down the road, I opt to take advantage of what is here and now. I stop for a burger at the local eats place in Arrowbear--Deep Creek Neo's. It's obviously the locals that keep Neo's in business. I see blue collar workers making the most of a 30 minute lunch stop, grade school kids that must have had too much energy to stay at home, a mom running in for takeout as she checks off her daily to-do list, and an older couple savoring their time over a meal just because they can.
Highway 18 is also known as the Rim of the World along this intriguing section between the lakes and the woods.
Some people are listmakers. I tend to keep lists. So yes, I'm a list maker. Among my collection, I have a listing of roads that I want to ride at least once as I fleeter about the country. The Rim of the World Highway (CA18) is on that list. Even though it is mid-day when I ride to the Rim of the World, I find myself riding through a mist as though it's early morning across a low lying field where the fog hasn't burnt off yet. But, here we are riding through one of the higher elevations in California in the middle of a day in early May. I don't think this is a low-lying fog -- I think I am riding through the clouds with an occasional glimpse of the San Bernardino Valley below.
Rim of the World CA18 video
Even the local high schoolers take pride in their school's geographical location. On the days the clouds part, their perch provides a special view of the world that lies before them.
At Crestline, I leave CA18 behind as it turns south toward Burbank. I stay my course of looping north and west far around Los Angles. My new route is California Highway 138.
The folks in Crestline are happy for the tourists that come looking for recreational opportunities in the area and wishing them a Happy Return as they leave.
Looking down on Sawpit Canyon Road from CA138.
A view of Silverwood Lake in Sawpit Canyon from a pullout on CA138.
Scene along CA138 just past Silverwood Lake near Interstate 15.
Where CA138 crosses I15 is known as El Cajon Pass. This area offers a variety of hazards: The Santa Ana winds blow especially fierce through the pass when they get riled up, visibility is often hindered by heavy fog, and there is a somewhat famous faultline running here.
Most passes are formed by the ancient passing of a river system through a mountainous area, but El Cajon is formed by the overlapping of two mountain ranges--San Bernardino and the San Gabriel Mountains. The continental (tectonic) plates in the Earth's crust at this location are busy grinding and clashing as the San Andreas Fault travels right through here along with trains, trucks, cars, and motorcycles. The pass is also popular among the railfanning folks as 54 trains pass through here daily.
The Rock Candy Mountains (better known as Mormon Rocks) are visible along CA138 to the west of I15. Past Mormon Rocks, I turn left onto CA2 looking for another road on my list--Angeles Crest Highway.
After passing through the small town of Wrightwood, I leave San Bernardino County behind and enter into Los Angeles County. The signs remind me that the mountains are capable of providing much cooler weather than the near perfect 60 degree weather that graces my ride today.
The Angeles National Forest visitor center is located at the start of the Angeles Crest Hwy (CA2) that runs directly through this national forest toward Burbank. This 66 mile road will have to stay on my do-ride list since I learn from the rangers that it is still closed from the storm of March 2006, which completely washed out a large section of the roadway. It is due to open later this month with a new bridge.
My alternate route today is the Big Pines Hwy (CA114) which still offers an enjoyable ride with several options to stray from the paved road.
The last of the few turns as I come out of the mountains.
Valyermo, CA is a small blip as I leave the mountains behind and start watching the GPS for guidance as it has me rejoin CA138 in Littlerock on my way to Palmdale for the night.
The GS is doing a great job at carrying me across the country via freeways, two lane blacktop, and a few dirt/gravel roads to keep it varied. The GS and I have become great fleetering partners. However, I still have one complaint: the seat. But tomorrow, that may change . . .
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