It's Mostly Downhill from Here
Heading for Home: Same Thing, Only Easier
Saturday dawned and my first breath of fresh air brought good news: no smoke. 

I got some breakfast, turned in my room key and ambled out of town.

Shortly after the turn onto Angeles Crest I see a milage sign. Since I am already at about 7000' elevation, today's ride should be a piece of cake. 
Nevertheless, the ride would have its rocky moments.
Wrightwood sits very near the San Andreas Fault. This area (through no fault of its own?) gets a lot of little landslides.
There are really only two climbs of any consequence today. The first is from Wrightwood (5960') to Big Pines and on to Blue Ridge (7381')
The second climb worth mentioning is after Blue Ridge the road goes down to 6500' or so before heading up to Dawson Saddle (7901'). The mountain and desert views are a pleasant diversion as I head up.
Here's what Dawson Saddle looks like from the other direction. While it's not quite all downhill from here, it is fair to say that I have a 
fast and fairly easy ride from this point.
The ski lift at Mt. Waterman was open for business on this Saturday morning. The idea seems to be that hikers, mountain bikers and sightseers will plunk down five bucks for the ride. There didn't seem to be much business, though.
Newcomb Ranch, on the other hand, was doing a great business. There were maybe four times as many motorcycles parked here as there were yesterday.
Almost before I know it I am making the hot little climb back to Red Box and the Front Range. I am back in chaparral country.


Then there is the little climb (less than a mile) back to Clear Creek. I'm almost back in the big city.

I got back home in the early afternoon of what turned out to be the beginning of a nasty little heat wave. I'm sorry I can't provide a shot of my bike computer with the milage but the unit conked out right after I left home. Nevertheless, I can estimate the ride at about 70 miles each way from home, or about 59 each way from Angeles Crest and Foothill.

This was a great ride. It wasn't crowded, it wasn't hot, it WAS challenging and the scenery was great. Next year I hope to do this ride again. I will do three things differently:

  1. I'll go earlier in the summer, before the fire danger peaks,
  2. make sure my bike computer has a fresh battery, and
  3. book my overnight stay at someplace that doesn't make me think of the Bates Motel, only crummier.