Sierra Nevada To La La Land (ML Across America Stage 1)
On March 15, 2012 the day had finally arrived for Birdie and I to pack up our rig and push off for Boston. But since my co-driver had PSIA testing until late afternoon, I made the most of my last day in Mammoth Lakes by getting on the sauce and hitting the slopes.
Uh, not in that order of course.
My roommates and I had returned from the bar the night before and decided we needed to record a music video to a song our new roommate Eli had written. By the time we were satisfied with a tenth take, the sun was starting to creep up and the lifts would be open in a little over three hours.
The decision to forgo sleep altogether was made when I realized Netflix had Hot Dog available for streaming- just what I needed to get amped for my day on the hill.
With daybreak officially in progress I rallied the crew they same way whoever wakes up first in Apartment Five always did- by yelling incoherently at the fridge and revving the coffee grinder like a Hayabusa.
Lanton and Dominic powered on, Eli was less responsive.
Nevertheless, we were on the hill by 9:00.
Well… at the lodge. Reviving ourselves with Bloody Marys.
By the time we had finished breakfast Eli was ready to join the living, and we headed straight for the summit. Despite low visibility at the top, the snow was great if a bit chunky. We were able to get some great turns in on the steepest stuff I’d hit all season.
The summit had been disappointingly bare for most of this year, and I was pretty stoked to be able to leave Mammoth with at least a taste of what it’s really known for.
Unfortunately the warm weather turned the snow into flypaper by mid-afternoon. My wax was literally melting again and had about as much glide as 10-grit sandpaper running over an old brick.
With my co-driver still preoccupied with her snowboard-certification test I had a few hours to kill, so I got dragged back to the bar for my last Mai Tais in Mammoth. A few minutes (hours?) later Birdie showed up; sunglasses on, car keys in hand.
“You ready to go?”
Still in my ski gear I thought back to my apartment, where the rest of my belongings were scattered like… well, not like I was about to move out, that’s for sure. So I came up with an evasive answer I thought would buy me some time.
“Uh, are you ready?”
“Aaalright. Fellas, it’s been real.”
When we got back to my apartment, Birdie was less than pleased to see that I had yet to initiate the packing process.
“Also, you’re driving to L.A. tonight,” I said as I crammed my ski wax, a few shirts, and two pairs of Calvin Kleins into the last cardboard box I had saved for this occasion.
Six hours later we had made it to the Shannon family’s West L.A. house, where we were greeted by two pint-sized dogs and a massive TV.
This would be our staging area for the 4,000 mile expedition we were looking down the barrel of.
Hope there’s Red Bull in the fridge.