The Round About Way

Since this was our last weekend in the “Pass” (as this area is known), we figured we’d better take the advantage of a beautiful day on Saturday to take a drive to some of the nearby spots we’d been wanting to check out. Big Bear Lake and ski areas were only about 45 miles away according to our GPS, but of course we wanted to stay away from major interstates and congested areas. “Let’s go up the back way, through Oak Glen (a quaint town of orchards and all things apple only 15 miles or so up the road), maybe check out a couple of geocaches, and then make our way over to Big Bear Lake.” Sounded like a plan, so I grabbed the camera, a couple of bottles of water and some snacks, and off we went!
First Stop – Oak Glen.
OK, so we didn’t actually stop (it’s not exactly prime apple harvest time), but the views were impressive as we were heading out of town –
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And we really enjoyed the signage!
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Trust me, they really know how to do “curvy” here in California!
Oh – and I wish I knew exactly what mountain that is in the distance. It was in my viewfinder for most of the day, but the best I can do is “San Bernardino Mountain”. And it’s a guess, folks. Just a guess.
But I digress with my lack of geography knowledge…..
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See, there it is again!
Since we were headed to Big Bear we knew we would be coming into some snow. Remember last week when we had 2-4 inches of the stuff? Well, the mountains near here got 2-4 feet. Or so it seemed by the look of this car coming toward us on the highway –
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Uh, sweetie – the snow was LAST WEEK, and maybe you could have cleaned a little more off the driver’s side??????
But for us, the roads were clear.
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And even though the plowed piles got higher and higher, the drive was lovely!
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We did take a little detour to do a geocache, and while Gary was walking around with his trusty GPS
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I was busy clicking away at the beautiful snow covered landscape.
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(I think this cactus was a little concerned about the blanket of snow….)
Finding the cache with all the snow presented a little bit of a challenge (and we hadn’t done much geocaching lately, so we were a little out of practice), but I finally noticed a straight edged thing under a root.
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I made Gary do the groping (I’m not really fond of sticking my hand into dark “what just might be there” spaces, and we were rewarded with our first “find” in several months.
There were several other mountain roads that Gary had hoped to explore, but they were all closed. Such a disappointment for a guy who was really hoping for some dirt road adventures.
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Anyway….on to Big Bear Lake.
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All along the way we saw cars pulled over and folks getting ready to find a sledding hill or strapping on their cross-country skis or just plain having a snowball fight. Those are some renegade snowballs on the lake ice!
And there certainly was snow enough for everyone.
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Maybe they are waiting for spring?
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We literally crawled through the town Big Bear Lake – not only was last week’s snow the first BIG snow in a couple of years, but this was the first weekend day that the roads were open. It took us 2 ½ hours to drive the 10 miles along the south side of the lake. (We stopped for lunch thinking that maybe we could “wait out” the traffic. Not only was the lunch the slowest meal we’ve had in a loooonnnng time (2 hrs. for a burger and a bowl of chili), but the traffic was still waiting for us when we were (finally) done.) I have to tell you, 4 ½ hours of Big Bear Lake is just a little bit too much!
Not wanting to go back the same way we came, Gary chose to head north, pick up a cut-off road that went over to Yucca Valley, and return from the East. It was a great plan, except we never found the short cut road. Apparently the plows had never found it either. The road we thought was “it” turned out to be a little connector road that took us back to Baldwin Lake and was only about a ½ mile long.
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But it did (almost) give him his dirt (mud) road fix.
Almost.
Enough chatter – here, in the order of their appearance, is the rest of drive home.
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Baldwin Lake
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Down the other side of the mountain until we ended up in the “high desert”.
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We were losing daylight fast –
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Caught the sunset going through Yucca Valley
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(sorry for the blurry sunset. It’s very tricky taking sunset shots from a moving truck!)
That trip home was definitely the “long way home”!
Here’s our day’s journey on the map –
Jan 30 Drive
(You can see our missing”shortcut” home – it goes east above Big Bear and heads over to Pioneertown and Yucca Valley. It would have been sweet if it had been open!)
Zoomed out a bit –
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And here’s a zoom in –
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Yeah, there were a lot of those curves!
You know, not everyone can take what should be a 100 round trip drive and turn it into a good 200 miles. And even with the crawl through Bear Lake and the incredibly slow lunch service, it was indeed a Very Good 200 miles!

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