E1.10 A Tour of Airstream MTB’s International Serenity Part 1

Emily & Fred


Evening, Peeps!

We’re excited, like…. quivering geeky day-before-Christmas excited!

Please join us and enjoy our 10th YouTube episode as we share a detailed exterior walk-through of our 2016 Airstream International Serenity 30′! We’ve been waiting months to make this video and it’s finally here!

And yes, if you were wondering, this video is different. After living in this Airstream for over a year we have many observations to share, so unlike many Airstream aficionados we’re not shy about pointing out where the Airstream falls short. We hope that after watching this video not only will you come away as much of an Airstream enthusiast as we are, but also a realist about what to expect from these metal monsters.

And fear not, we’re following this video up next week with an interior walk-through that offers even more detail.

Oh, and…. Airstream MTB is now on Facebook!!

So with that, we bid you adieu, enjoy, comment, participate, subscribe, and live well!

– Peace

E1.9 Airstream of Scottsdale Full Model Tour!

Emily & Fred


Evening, Peeps.

Please join us for our 9th YouTube episode, E1.9 Airstream of Scottsdale Full Model Tour. In this video we go full geek-out mode and take a tour of the full range of Airstream Travel Trailers starting at the very top with the Airstream Classic and winding up at the end with the Airstream Basecamp.

As always a special thanks to Airstream of Scottsdale for allowing us to record.

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And please subscribe to our YouTube channel if you like our adventures, we want to bring you more!

That is all.

Riding #9415 Wolverton Mountain Trail

Emily & Silent Partner


Afternoon, Peeps!

It’s 4th of July weekend and time to Airstream again! For the next few days we’re up here at Prescott’s White Spar Campground. We already did an extensive review of this area here, so instead we’re using this time to blog about what’s new – in this case, more mountain biking!

To that end, we we rode #9415 Wolverton Mountain Trail this morning.

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The Wolverton Mountain Trail is rated as a blue-black and after comparing notes on the ride we agree with this rating.

This 10-mile (16km) out-and-back begins across from the campground and immediately slaps you in the face with aggressive sustained climbing that meanders anywhere between 5% and 10%.

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I think the trail might be better named “Touched by Fire”, though. The climb takes you through dense scrub and evidence of a terrible forest fire sometime in the past.

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One thing that caught us off guard climbing here was the exposure – there is so little foliage, and so much dead-fall, the temperatures already hit low 90s (33C) by 9AM.

By the end of the ride we’d both worked our way through most of our water.

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The climb consists of moderately technical surface though much of the trail is steep off-camber single-track and crushed rock like this. It never occurred to me why the campground was named “White Spar” but it turns out the term “spar” refers to any bright crystalline substance.

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We only made it 4mi (6.4km) in before turning back, the altitude and heat was getting to us.

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On the descent you are greeted with an extraordinary view; San Francisco Peaks visible in the distance.

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Also we took some time to smell the flowers.

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And… enormous private telescopes?

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Conclusion

We’ll absolutely ride Wolverton Mountain Trail again, probably on Tuesday. By then we should be adjusted to the altitude and we’ll head out a little earlier. Seen you soon with more Airstream updates!

E1.8 Night Riding with NiteRider Pro Series Lights

Emily & Fred


Evening, Peeps.

Please join us for our 8th YouTube episode, E1.8 Night Riding with NiteRider Pro Series Lights. In this video we review a range of NiteRider lights as we make a circuit around McDowell Mountain Regional Park in the first of 2018’s summer Night Ride Series.

As always please subscribe to our YouTube channel if you like our adventures, we want to bring you more!

That is all.

E1.7 Summer Rides – Pemberton

Fred & Emily


Afternoon, Peeps.

Please join us in celebration as we release our 7th YouTube episode, E1.7 Summer Rides – Pemberton. In this episode we discuss summer riding and take you on an extensive tour of the Pemberton Loop at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel if you like our adventures, we want to bring you more! We’ve listened to your comments, boosted our audio and offered better maps!

That is all.

 

Airstreaming Mammoth Lakes, CA

Emily & Silent Partner


Evening, Peeps.

In the late Spring of 2017 I was beginning to hear signals from my employer they would want all remote workers back in the office. We made a trip from Colorado down to Arizona so I could take a meeting and at the end of that fateful day we found ourselves with a sad decision to make. The die was cast – we would only have a few months left of precious freedom before going back to cube-land. Full timing was near its end.

So how best to spend the time?

California of course! We’d always meant to go there, it was close, and full of our favorite thing – mountains. While we were in town we driveway surfed at Fred’s house. That evening drinking beer and sitting by the pool Fred said, “Why not Mammoth Lakes?” We’d never heard of it. A quick trip to the Google revealed an alpine village chocked full of mountain biking and skiing. The destination was set!

Booking

For our stay in Mammoth Lakes we decided on New Shady Rest Campground. For reasons we don’t entirely understand, this campground seems to be first come first served for most of the summer. We arrived at the beginning of June so the sites had just opened up and we got a sweet spot at site #93. Later in the year, reservations can be made at the federal portal here.

Like any mountain destination that early in the year, Mammoth Lakes was beautiful one moment.

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And brutal the next. That is snow.

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By any measure this is an enormous campground, and that doesn’t even include Old Shady Rest Campground across the street. Sites are somewhat narrow but heavily forested and well groomed. All pads and roads are well maintained pavement, though the roads are nerve-wrackingly tight and we witnessed more than one 5th wheel scraping the trees. Traffic was moderate and noise was middling. Oddly we found campfire smoke from surrounding sites to be especially bad here, but we did stay on the east end – maybe prevailing winds take the smoke there.

Water is available in a number of locations along with an RV fill-up and dump station at the entrance to the campground. Bathroom facilities were old but well maintained and clean. While we were staying there the dump station was temporarily closed but a self-service station is available at the Mammoth Lakes Community Water District just down the street.

On the reservation front, I can only speculate, but I wonder if the no-reservation policy is to keep booking fair, since Mammoth Lakes is essentially between the two megalopolises of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Whatever the case, it worked to our advantage and we had a glorious two weeks there.

Choose Your Path Wisely

In all our time towing the trailer, I think we’ve really only had two genuine misfires. One time was getting ourselves stuck in a rural road in Moab, and the other was my fateful decision to follow the “scenic” route from Phoenix to Mammoth Lakes.

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Little did I know that CA 168 was a curled up intestine of death worthy of only the most hardened RVers. I found out, of course, when we crossed from Nevada into California and I started to see signs like, “Vehicles over 30′ not recommended”. By then we were committed so we soldiered on.

Though obviously we lived, that drive was some of the most intense mountain driving I have ever done with the Airstream, even more intense than the Rocky Mountains. The road alternately shrank to one lane and offered up sharp corners and steep inclines. Thank god it was little traveled so I had plenty of room to maneuver. If I had to do it again, though, I would take the Los Angeles route, trading near death cliff-diving for horrible traffic.

Amenities & Activities

City of Mammoth Lakes

The City of Mammoth Lakes is a remarkable little Ski/Mountain Bike town characterized, for me, by the extremes. On our drive to Mammoth Lakes we drove through Bishop and it was 110° F (43° C) and entirely given over the cactus and desert.

In 20 minutes we were in pine trees and aspen groves at 72° F (22° C).

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Once there, the entire town is surrounded by the snow capped Sierra Nevada Mountains and right at the back door to Yosemite National Park.

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That June had also capped off a record setting snow season. So much so, Mammoth mountain was entirely off limits to bikes because of this stuff.

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Incredibly, just a short way down the mountain the snow was gone and trails were open.  This water was of course, going somewhere – look at this intense whitewater we saw when we left Mammoth Lakes.

 

Eats

Mammoth Lakes is a tourist town but it seems to get rather sleepy in the summer months. Still there are plenty of restaurants and shops waiting for customers. We found good pizza at Giovanni’s Pizza, even better at John’s Pizza Works and good coffee at the Looney Bean.

Shopping

Footloose Sports near the campground offered a very good selection of mountain biking gear and rental bikes. Directly next door you can find Rite Aid for your apothecary needs and a DIY Home Center for your hardware needs (ahem, rivets).

Laundry facilities were found at the Mammoth Lakes Laundromat and excellent grocery shopping at Vons. Keep in mind by California law you must buy plastic bags so it pays to get some reusable ones.

Fun Facts

Curiously Mammoth Lakes forms part of the Los Angeles water shed. I find that amazing because LA is hundreds of miles away. But anyone who’s lived out west knows Whisky’s for ‘Drinkin and Water’s for ‘Fightin.

Mountain Biking

Ah yes, mountain biking – my favorite topic. Owing to the strange snow season Mammoth Mountain and the surrounding trails were closed. Still we found plenty of options that made for a thoroughly rewarding set of rides.

Big Smokey Loop

The Big Smokey Loop is a 15 minute drive east of town and slightly lower elevation than Mammoth Lakes. We discovered one constants about riding the Sierra Nevadas is sand, lots of it. We struggled through unending piles of the stuff on this ride, which taught me a 29+ might be the better way to go next time (see Fred’s review of the Trek Stache 5).

 

The trail is all fire roads and is rated at blue-green. I would normally consider this is green ride but the loose sand, squirrely climbs and steep descent near the end pushed it into blue territory.

In retrospect it was an interesting ride but I would likely stick to the Knolls Loop area and explore more there next time. It was hardly a waste though, the view of the distant Ansel Adams Wilderness et al was second to none.

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Mammoth Creek Trail

Mammoth Lakes has a splendid bike path circling the entire town and Mammoth Creek Trail forms the southern leg. The ride in total alternates from trail to bike path to streets and offers a great tour of the city. Though rated green I found the climbs totally satisfying as the altitude does make pedaling a little harder. It’s also fun to see how the other half lives as you climb through some exclusive neighborhoods and ski resorts.

Knolls Loop

Knolls Loop was our go-to trail while staying in Mammoth Lakes and we rode it easily a half dozen times. The trailhead is found just outside of camp and takes you on a 10 mile (16km) tour of the Inyo National Forest.

As with Big Smokey Loop the trail consists mainly of forest road and lots and lots of sand. When takes clockwise, however, we found most of the sand to be on the downhill sections making a ride on standard 29ers thoroughly enjoyable.

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The eastern portion of the ride is somewhat of a lung-buster but rewards the intrepid rider with awesome views.

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The roads back in this area are incredibly complex and it pays to take a mapping application such as MTB Project or a printed map. There’s also a serviceable map of this hairball here.

What Could Go Wrong

Strangely we discovered our satellite dish died at the beginning of the Mammoth Lakes stay. We talked it over and decided we did want it fixed before our return to Phoenix in three months so we called ahead to Bay Area Airstream Adventures. This led to an unplanned week-long stay in Vacaville and a couple trips to the dealer to get things sorted out.

Bay Area Airstream Adventures

Even though I was annoyed at being blown off course, this was pretty cool. Have you ever seen so many Airstreams?

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Also I think I saw the second Airstream love of my life there.

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I’ve always thought it would be awesome to get a 35′ Airstream and refurbish it. They’re relatively uncommon though. Speaking to one salesman I learned the long frames have a tendency to crack and the triple axles make them hard to park. The models with slides also had uneven tire wear due to the odd weight distribution.

Besides all that just look at it – gorgeous!

Also a quick shout out – these guys were so nice and accommodating. We waited in the lounge with our dogs all day and they kept checking on us and making sure we were ok. Very cool customer service.

Vineyard RV Park

While alternating between taking the Airstream in for repairs and waiting for parts we stayed at the Vineyard RV Park. In all ways this was a great park with friendly people, good staff, excellent sites and a nice pool.

Also, we met Nola the pig there!

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Another kick about staying there was the wild turkeys and their babies.

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We even made it into San Francisco for a day.

 

 

Alas the Airstream was eventually fixed and we went on our way to the Redwoods, but that’s a story for another blog.

Parting Thoughts

Mammoth Lakes was awesome. We’re even mulling going back there this September – we’ll see if the winds of change allow that to happen. But we thoroughly enjoyed the people, the campground and the riding. Mammoth Lakes definitely has “it” and we highly recommend it.

As for the satellite repairs – in retrospect, our temporary path through Sacramento/Vacaville was a hoot. We enjoyed the hell out of our stay and we got to meet Nola! So I guess it played out in the end.