|Looking east on I-8 from Willow Rd/Alpine Blvd overpass. Viejas Mountain in left background.|
|A chimney is all that's left of one of the houses along Viejas Indian Reservation.|
|Now... isn't this a deluxe busstop shelter?|
|Viejas Grade Rd, dirt portion... with my little slide evidence on far left.|
Lucky for me, Tim is a wonderful bike touring partner in crime and enjoys stopping to take in the view as much as I do. The view southwest from Viejas Grade Rd is pretty smashing from various bends as we snaked our way up the WE flank of Poser Mountain. Beautiful Viejas Valley where the casino lies framed in by Viejas Mountain to the west, and all the prominent peaks in the coastal range looks rather different when seen from the east. It is still easy to pick out McGinty Mtn and Lyons Peak, however (if you squint you can still see the latter' fire lookout towers). I'm afraid we were a noisy pair and scared the local birds into hiding, though I did spot a couple of bluebirds and at least one meadow lark.
|Collection of road signs at the top of Viejas Grade.|
We opted to descend down Oak Grove Dr instead of continuing on Viejas Grade Rd. Tim had gone on a bit ahead as I stopped to attempt to photograph a kestrel that was hunting near the fork of the road. I soon caught up, however, and opted for an inside line into a fast right curve in order to avoid a series of potholes in the middle of the lane when I saw white patch on the pavement around the corner. Sand! The thing had at least 3/4 of the lane covered, it was a fairly blind curve and I was doing around 30 mph on the inside line. Braking was not an option (the worst thing you could do that would guarantee a skid out) and changing the line at that speed while taking a 90 degree curve was not much of one either, so I weighed down my outside foot, aimed as far left (away from the main patch of sand) as my momentum allowed and mentally crossed all my digits... and nearly made it across when the front wheel suddenly gave way and deposited me on the bumpy and sandy pavement.
It was about as mild a crash as the situation would allow. I'm afraid I didn't manage to tuck in and hold on to the bike, however, and I found myself skidding along with right arm stretched across the pavement acting simultaneously as head cushion and a rather expensive brake pad. It is a wonder how fast acting a painkiller adrenaline is when you hit something hard like that. Nothing really hurt, though the perpetually bored voice in my head did, in the few long and drawn out seconds that I spent skidding across the road, chimed in its sincere hope that an evacuation by ambulance wouldn't be required (when I crashed face first in Pt Loma last year the 8 miles long ambulance ride had cost me $2400... aside from doctors and radiology and emergency room fees) and how I will have ruined another good pair of arm warmers by the time I came to a stop... Then, of course, I realized that I had taken the arm warmers off before we started climbing, so I came to my stop half way across the opposite traffic lane with a mouthful of sand and gravel, wondering if my poor right arm still had any skin left on it. Before I could properly inspect the damages, though, Tim, who had screeched to a stop just beyond the cursed curve, yelled out, 'Car!' So I ditched the thought of damage inspection and the bike and hopped clear off to the high side of the road.
|Not from this ride, but same sort of 'sand washed/blown onto road behind a curve on Torrey Pines Park Rd.|
After straightening out the banged bent right hood and inspecting the frame and wheels for cracks I thanked prudence again for having opted for the sturdy aluminum bike rather than a lighter carbon one, and we remounted and headed on down the hill to the Perkins' Store in Descanso. A couple of nice Avon salesladies were set up in front of the store there and we had a good chat. Perkins' is to Descanso what Lyons Valley Trading Post is to Lyons & Deerhorn Valley, I think. The best place to catch up on local news and stuff. By now my wounds were stinging quite a bit, so I decided to abandon the day's ambitious objective (Cuyamaca Lookout Rd) and head back to town.
|Smooth descent on westbound I-8.|
As lucky as I was not to bang up my head or come off the mountain with a broken bone, the road rashes were quite awful. It always hurts a lot more on the day after, of course. The first three or four nights were quite terrible. I had managed to spread the road rashes around and there simply wasn't any way I could position myself so that none of them were touching something. I was grateful that we were in the midst of a Santa Ana weather pattern then, though, so long sleeves and blanket weren't required as it would have been much more miserable peeling wounds open every few hours to unstick clothes and bed sheets. My right arm took quite a beating and my right shoulder still hasn't regain its full range of motion, 2 1/2 months later, but it could have been worse. For much of the first week I really wondered if the whole arm wouldn't fall off or go septic on me. The upper arm had lost so much skin and was quite deadened and sore. It got much better once all the road rashes had dried out. Then, of course, the itching began a bit later as the scabs dried off and start attaching their corners to things.
|The day after.|
|One week after.|
|One month after.|
In the meanwhile, here's a little video from the day's ride.