Leaving Mid Hills campground

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 4: Mid Hills campground to Caruthers Canyon

19.16 miles, 2:20 hrs, 21.1 max, 8.2 mph avg

Elevation: 5500 feet to 4800 to 5600

I wake up, my face cold, the only part of me exposed to the air, the rest of me enclosed carefully and tied shut inside my mummy sleeping bag. Despite the chill, I have no choice but to get up and go outside to urinate. Some sun is shining on the tent, but it's not providing any heat yet.

Scenery along the road in Mid Hills campground

Outside, I see a light layer of frost on my tent and bicycle being slowly melted by the weak sun. It's 7h30 now, and the frost was probably solid white before the sun hit it a short while ago; no wonder I'm cold!

Breakfast is two bowls of instant miso soup to warm up, followed by several handfuls of granola, one handful of tamari almonds, one handful of chili-lime cashews, and two cans of Kerns "juice" courtesy of Bonnie and her cyclist gang from two nights ago. And more water of course. I wipe off some of yesterday's sweat and salt with hot water, but the cold air makes me shiver while I dry off.

I begrudgingly pack up to leave the Mid Hills campground that I like so much, and to leave behind the convenience of having running water just 100 feet away.

Verbena flowers along Black Canyon Road near Cedar Canyon Road

Under clear blue skies, cold gusts of wind push through to cancel the effect of the sun which has become quite warm. I dress in short pants and t-shirt and apply sunscreen to my exposed skin as if it were a scorching hot day, presuming that I'll warm up once I get riding.

I load up the 10-ton bike and after pedalling 100 feet, I'm cold, so I get off to put on my sweater.

Whoosh, my rough gravelly downhill for a few miles to reach Cedar Canyon Road begins and I enjoy the lavender verbena flowers scattered amongst the brown and black of charred yuccas, pines and junipers.

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