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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wm Heise Campground (Fri, May 20, 2011)

Wm Heise Campground just southwest of Julian.  Great campground!!  I loved it here... but I didn't love the ride getting here.
Riding up a mountain on a bicycle while hauling 50 pounds of camping gear.  That's the sentence.  No subject, only a gerund, two adverbial prepositional phrases, and a dependent clause.  Because the exercise is purely psychological... it has no meaning outside of the exerciser.  And thus the sentence describing this insane behaviour must forever remain incomplete.

I got passed numerous times during the course of this ride by extremely physically fit riders, some of them older than me, on bare bicycles and carrying only a fanny pack containing - I surmise - an apple and a patch kit.  They'd ask me where I was going.  When I told them I was headed to a campground... they'd nod.  But consternation was visible... already this was sounding a little harebrained. 

Then they'd ask: where am I headed the following day?  And I'd tell them Potrero via the Sunrise Highway.  And always a momentary silence.  Then a nod.  Why not? they'd think.  No one would say: while hauling all that gear? 

But that's what they'd be thinking.  This nut is going to kill himself hauling all that gear.  And they weren't too far off the mark.  And I think it's time to reconsider my strategy of riding up a mountain on a bicycle hauling 50 pounds of camping gear.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. 

In fact, during the course of this day (Friday May 20) riding up the mountain wasn't the hardest part.  I think covering the 22 miles or so to Santa Ysabel was psychologically more stressful as I kept being convinced that after every bend in the road I'd see it deep in the valley below.  It was a discouragingly long time before that actually happened.

Lovely Santa Ysabel.
But in time I rode into Santa Ysabel.  I visited the market and got a bag of small apples (what is it about apples that they are so tangy and delicious when you're exhausted?), an energy drink (3% lemon juice; more tanginess!), and a large bottle of water.

After drinking the energy drink and chomping a couple of the apples, I refilled my water bottles and then did something very, very smart.  I drank the remaining water.  For whatever reason I don't always drink enough water when doing physically demanding things.  People, when riding a stressful ride: drink all the water you can stand!

Then I went to Dudley's bakery and ordered one of their enormous sandwiches.  I ate half the sandwich, saved the other half for dinner (this time wrapped in a plastic bag - no curious possums tonight, thank you), and also bought a pre-made sandwich and a piece of apple pie.  Dinner, desert, and tomorrow's lunch.

I lounged for a bit, then it was time to climb the mountain.

As I mentioned, initially going up the mountain was less stressful that I'd anticipated.  I was smart enough to ride very slowly, I took my time, and emotionally I didn't feel I was under any time constraint.  And so I rode.

Apparently this road sign admonishes us to be on the lookout for Rudolph when he's playing soccer.  You know how reindeers get when they play soccer!  They run into the road without looking!!
The weather was beautiful, the ride up was lovely.  But make no mistake... in time I became exhausted.  Imagine my delight in seeing the turnoff for the campground (Pine Hills Rd.).  Imagine my dissappointment to discover this turnoff was full of steep, labourious hills.  It seemed to take forever to cover those final 7 miles.  At last I came coasting into the campground down a steep grade - so steep that I overshot the ranger station at the entrance.  I retraced my "steps", introduced myself, and got squared away.  Yeah, always a grand entrance.

My spot was nothing spectular.  I like some trees for shade but the tree to my spot had apparently burned during the last forest fires.  As I set up the tent a flock of wild turkies passed close by.  Why didn't I take a picture?  I have no idea.  It just didn't occur to me.  The few pictures I later got of individual turkies were so fuzzy and grainy that I'm not going to bother posting them.  You'll just have to believe me that there are wild turkies all over this campground.

I like Wm Heise because people so obviously have fun at this campground.  People scheduled the use of the ampitheatres (outdoor benches arranged facing forward... very basic) for sing-a-longs and presentations and what-not.  You could hear the singing, applauding, laughing, etc. throughout the park.

As the sun set children were squealing, people were laughing and talking... what a great place.  10:00 pm is quiet time, strictly enforced, and sure enough it was suddenly dead quiet on that wonderful, star-filled night.  I surprised myself at how well I slept. 

I woke at 5:45 am and had to convince myself to stay in the tent until 6:00 am.  What a great sleep.  I felt great!!

Finally I broke down camp, loaded everything on the bike, and was on my way.  I was out the front gate before 7:00 am and headed for Julian.  As I traveled the main road out (Frisius Dr.) a deer bounded along in the meadow next to me.  It was leaping so high and drawing its front legs up to its chest... it was really enjoying itself. 

I varied my route leaving from when I came in.  Rather than re-trace Frisius Dr. and Pine Hills Rd., I detoured along Deer Lake Park Rd.  This took miles and time off my commute to Julian.  Be aware, though, there is very little to no shoulder to this road.  Be extra cautious some character doesn't clip you with his car.

In very little time I was in Julian and got breakfast at the Julian Cafe.  After that I headed out and followed the 79.  On to the Sunrise Highway!!

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