It's remarkable how soon LA stopped being LA when you head north...if you know what I mean. After seemingly being in the city for four solid days, approaching from the west, but within a day, we were seemingly in the countryside, especially after leaving Santa Clarita, where my confusion as to where I was exactly was heightened by running past a UK red telephone box on the outskirts! Being passed by groups of cyclists always makes me worry there are hills ahead as I find cyclists seem to be a fairly masochistic bunch and after meeting the guys at a nice looking French restaurant seemingly in the middle of nowhere (Not open – sad face.) I found what they'd been riding towards. Big hills. Heading off road again in my own bout of masochism I found myself taking a bit of a short cut through a residential area that had huge houses, but all the roads were dirt tracks with huge ruts and puddles. Seemed strange as the houses look like they'd be lived in by people with enough money to get a fella to put some tarmac down for them. Taking a no vehicular access sign with a pinch of salt I got truly wild and as a result found myself doing a 40 minute mile up what I guessed was a 50% gradient, but had a decent reward at the top, an amazing view which looked even better after getting enough oxygen in me. The descent was even steeper – a proper lean back and pray job, with running out of the question in parts. When I got to the bottom, with my legs burning, I had a dead straight road through the towns of Palmdale and Lancaster to get to our RV site for the night, at the local showgrounds. The road was a bit weird in the fact that this town was huge – but looked like it had been put up in a hurry, with the same dirt roads, this time in a grid pattern, as you'd expect of a place like this just with a little more… You get my point. After getting directions of a very friendly security guard at the local Turf Club (Like an arena sized bookies) I saw Jenny – behind a 12 foot fence. No way round apart from a three mile trek. The guy must have thought the gates were open. I couldn't quite get under the fence (despite a rib crushing attempt), there was no way through, so over was the only way. No, as you may know, after a bout of strenuous activity over a prolonged period of time, the muscles get a bit tight. This means that scaling this fence was both painful and comedic to the passing observer, but over I got, just in time to watch some guy in the campsite drive his Corvette round and round for an hour. As you do.
Start: Jct of Via Princessa and Sierra Highway. Finish: Antelope Valley Fairground RV Park 35.83 miles. Day 75 Tune of the Day: Aces High – Iron Maiden: Flying high over the mountains, ending up in Lancaster
I'd gone for an early start and the morning was the coldest yet, just at freezing and so a dayglo/reflective/beardy Michelin man set off past a sign that said “Musical Road” and wondered what events had transpired in Palmdale to give it its name. I heard a car coming in the distance so moved out of the centre to relative safety. I indulged in some character assessment of the driver who was coming down at a rate of knots with his stereo audibly blaring from a quarter of a mile away. I couldn't make out what tune it was, until I realised it was the road making the noise! I thought about going back to see if I could make it play something and later on I wished I had as I'd actually gone a mile past where I was meant to make a turn, meaning my morning run had gone from 11 to 13 miles. As I should have learned yesterday and maybe from the previous leg. Google Maps, without satellte images can be a bit misleading as to the quality of the road. 35th Street, was even less of a road that the ones arrowing through Lancaster and was basically a 4x4 track with huge puddles that forced you to go cross country and jumping across streams after the recent deluge. This was the third day in a row now of either hills or leg-sapping terrain and I was desperate for concrete to give my muscles, if not joints, a rest. Fortunately it arrived after Rosamond and I'd resolved I wasn't going to try any shortcuts, I just wanted response from the ground. As another mile long train went past, my eyes were drawn to what looked like scrap cars on my left. It was however, a custom car place, with a Back to the Future (Actual!) police car, and futuristic relics from Mad Max, as well as a pretty sweet Cadillac with a mannequin's legs poking out from the passenger seat. A nice uneventful run ended in Mojave, home to an actual Spaceport! Olivia mentioned that this probably won't seem so remarkable in a few years. Virgin Galactic operate here, as well as in New Mexico, but I didn't see Richard about. The only real thing I did see was a huge number of passenger planes – apparently this is where they come to have a rest, or retire, as it's so dry. No rest for me. 8 miles more, to a spot for the night by the side of highway 14, to the west of California City, the third largest city in California by area...though I imagine you've never heard of it. It's designer intended it to be as big as Los Angeles, but things didn't quite turn out that way. Check out this article if you need to occupy yourself for a few minutes more on your commute, or wherever this blog finds you. It's pretty cool. http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/california-city-unbuilt-suburb
Start: Antelope Valley Fairground RV Park. Finish: West of California City, just off Highway 14. 35.61 miles. Day 76 Tune of the Day: Never Get Old – Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. Party tune at the end of the day.