Up and out of reach from flash flood potential, we pitched our tents overlooking the endless sandy wash that we had spent most of the afternoon climbing. The next day would bring more of the same plus a bonus excursion up into the slot canyons where we got boxed out and had to backtrack to get back on route. Drinking water calculations came eerily close to danger that day as we limped back into “civilization” just in time to fill our reservoirs before the vultures started circling.
It was around this time that we started to feel a shift in the weather. We had heard rumors of an incoming storm cycle and we knew that we would be headed directly into it. The question became more about timing - where and when would we make our push into the foul weather?
We decided to stop short of the big climb (Oriflamme Canyon Road) that would take us back up and over the mountains towards the ocean. If we hadn’t hunkered down under the porch of a laundry room at an RV Park, we would’ve been totally exposed and at the mercy of some nasty weather up in the mountains that night. Despite having to sleep with one eye open due to the sketchy nocturnal nature of some residents of the adjacent trailer park, we made it safely through the night and didn’t lose our bikes or any gear.
As we made our way up into the mountains that day, we encountered more water which was likely amplified by the past night’s heavy rain and thunderstorm. The dirt road approaching the base of the big climb was basically underwater and we rode through axle deep water crossings until the road became the river and then we were just riding upriver in the water against the current. Wet feet again!
Once we ascended to the steeper part of the climb the road became dry again. We climbed up and over the mountain to a point on the route where it would cross the highway along the ridge of the Laguna Mountains. It was at that spot that I had stashed a cache of snacks and beverages under an oak tree. It was a welcome boost to our levels and morale as we celebrated the completion of what would be the biggest climb of the ride.