Old Dale Road, Joshua Tree NP.
Shortly after the new year, we met up with Monte, Bonnie, and their friends for a leisurely two-wheeled tour in Joshua Tree National Park. We convened at the Cottonwood station on the south end of the park and headed north to Old Dale road. From there we were greeted by a perfect desert day; moderate temps and soul-warming sunshine… and none of J-Tree’s famous winds.
We attached the bike trailer (a Chariot Cougar 1 fitted with Kenda Small Blocks) to my singlespeed and prepared to show Alexander a good time whilst burning off some holiday calories. I had a look at the topo map before heading out to Old Dale and saw we’d be gradually descending down into Pinto Basin. At some point we’d turn around, likely before what appeared to be a huge climb into the Pinto Mountains.
The road had been recently graded. It rolled fast. And we were definitely descending; so much so that I was completely spun out on my 29×18 mountain gear… I asked Monte to slow down a couple times, he hadn’t noticed we were going down hill and commented on the “false flat.” I pondered the climb back to the car. Alexander cooed with glee from his trailer.
We made great time down to the Mission Well and Mission Mill site. We unloaded the kiddo and walked around, exploring the old site and taking our best guesses as to what various equipment remnants had been used for. Alexander couldn’t have been happier, he got to do some exploring of his own:
Then, the climb back. The false flat we’d encountered on the way down felt anything but false. I felt each holiday cookie, every festive beverage, and the big meals all weighing on me. Alexander napped. My pedal strokes became square and choppy. Monte & Bonnie disappeared ahead.
Eventually I found my flow, though it took a lot of water and snacking to make it happen. We had a nice cruise back to the car. It was a great alternative mtb ride- great scenery, conversation, ‘sploration. Best of all, Alexander got to join us for the trip.