Rod McLaughlin

Joshua Tree again (29 oct 12)

I rode my bike here four years ago:

I guess it took two days from Barstow then, but I took a different route

This time, I went via Lucerne Valley, and made a mistake, which led me up a hill toward Big Bear Lake (the settlers were very imaginative with names)

It had a warning for truckers - steep grades 8-16%

I thought it meant downhill - hill warnings for trucks normally are

You can't always see how high up a road is going - it could turn downhill at any moment, so you press on

The road kept going uphill

This made me realize something was up, and I used my Android to get directions to Joshua Tree

The phone GIS worked, for a change, and it told me to go back downhill and head east on 'Old Woman Springs Road' 

The correct route is virtually flat all the way

I met two English bike tourists who said to stay on that road and I'd end up in Yucca Valley, near Joshua Tree

Incidentally, the name of the road sounds Native American

We wouldn't name something 'Old Woman'

To Indians, 'old woman' was a compliment 

An indication of how we don't respect our elders like they did

Another profound anthropological insight from your host, Rod

Unless the first white settlers of the area thought it would sound cool to invent an Indian-sounding name, just like climbers refer to Mount McKinley as 'Denali'

They'd not be the same ones who named 'Big Bear Lake'

I've discovered that riding a bike for three days through a desert with insufficient water makes you dehydrated

Now I'm chillin' in the Super 8 Motel in sunny downtown Yucca Valley 

Riding into the park and climbing can wait 'til tomorrow


Portland London