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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ghost Riding Tha Whip

The other night my wife and I were shooting the shit and somehow we dredged up an old memory.

And its one that we've brought up a few times before that needs to finally be put to paper.

Er, virtual paper.

As the story goes... it's the early '90s and we're a broke but very much in love couple living in Los Angeles with a few friends in a house nestled in a canyon in the Verdugo Hills (somewhere between Glendale and Pasadena). You could ride your bike op Glenoaks Blvd. and come up on a ridge that overlooked the Rose Bowl.

When the Bills played the Cowboys in the Super Bowl we climbed that ridge with flour and tried to write "Go Bills" but clearly our letters weren't big enough because we never saw them on television.

Being broke and young in LA at the time, we decided that we would take up camping as a way to see the world around us - we weren't budding naturalists as much as card-carrying Frugalists. So we got a two-person tent, some 20 degree sleeping bags, borrowed our roommates' camping stove and off we went to camp for the first time.

We ended up somewhere in the Angeles National Forest and names like JPL, Altadena and Wilderness Park circulate up in that windtunnel that is my head but I can't pinpoint the exact place. I know it was close (but also about 2,500 feet higher in elevation; the word topography would permenantly entire my vocabulary then) and that the road to the campsite prove to be very windy, full of curves and one that made us slightly dizzy by the end.

I remember the campground being bare,almost empty, and I remember waking up to ice on the tent and my digital watch on the fritz from the condensation. It was winter but winter in LA and my knowledge of altitudes was limited.

So our night "roughing it" basically consisted of driving to a campsite in the dead of winter, setting up our tent, getting wasted and then going to bed only to wake up at God know's what time to bitter cold.

We packed up and out and scratch our heads; it was camping L.A. style and we chuckled how quickly we succumbed to the elements.

As we left the campground parking lot, we spotted a guy on a beach cruiser just approaching the road that would lead down the "mountain" if you will and then we watched - in total amazement - the dude ride down the entire winding mountain road with no hands.

After each turn, when you'd expect him to grab the handlebars and steady the beast, he'd not do it, and then we would erupt into Dude!/Sweet! laughter. At one point I think we even hit the travel odometer to track the mileage because surely we were witnessing something of Guinness Book Of World Records proportions.

When we all arrived at the bottom of the hill (see now it's a hill!) he finally put his hands on the bars. We cruised past him as my wife leaned her head out the car window and gave her best Ozzy Osborne-like-a-dog-out-a-car-window impersanation throwing the devil horns and screamin' "Heeeellllll YYYeeeaaaaahhhhh!"

1 comment:

Whit said...

That's crazy. It was probably icy too. I couldn't do that for 100 feet of flat road.