Our first ever adventure debuting the Dryve Wheels name was definitely one to remember! The story starts off late as usual...you will learn as I have over the years that no departure with Shane ever starts when he says it will; good thing he is so good looking he can get away with it! Anyways, this was the trip Shane, Tyler and I had been waiting months for. Not only was it USA  Mountain Bike National Championships, which Shane and Tyler had spent many months training for, but it was also our first time showing off these rockin wheels that we are so passionate about to the public!

 After a long day of polishing porcelain (Shane and I also own a cleaning company) we hurried home, way too full of excitement and ready to get our vacation started! Tyler met us at the house and we began loading the car to the brim. After traveling with men, I am convinced that they are the real over-packers and somehow ladies just got the bad rep! With our car full and our team mascot Kai, the traveling dog loaded, we were on our way!


A quick stop in Bend to grab dinner at Laughing Planet (my all time favorite place to eat, bowls, burritos..pure healthy heaven!!) and we were back on the road. Our plan was to drive as long as we could and pull over and camp under the stars when we got too tired. We made it about four hours before pulling over for the night in Summer Lake, Oregon. We found a camping-friendly rest stop on the side of the road and set up for the night. Tyler turned out to be the smart one and set up his tent. Shane and I decided to be one with nature and sleep out in the open… until about 3:00am, when Shane woke me up to set up our tent, because we were being eaten alive by mosquitoes!


The next morning, we were up bright and early and into the car as fast as we could, hiding from the most aggressive mosquitoes in history! After a brief pause to stare at the amazing view surrounding us, we headed south towards the town of Paisley, which consists of two restaurants and a general store. We went into one of the restaurants and had a super tasty home cooked breakfast, our waitress was a fantastically sassy, friendly delight! We noticed several flyers about mosquito fundraisers and festivals. Apparently they have such a bad mosquito problem they have to have a festival to raise money to spray the area. Yikes!


Back on the road, feeling fat and happy, we continued towards Mammoth. Making a few stops here and there in the middle of nowhere; I learned there is a lot of nothing between Redmond and Mammoth but there is definitely some amazingly beautiful natural nothingness to look at! 


There was a special smell in the air as we got closer to our destination, the scenery was absolutely breathtaking, grey slate mountains that climbed through the clouds, the smattering of high alpine trees and yellow wildflowers and small A frame cabins off in the distance. This was not the California I knew, I was in love, ready to drop everything and never return home (we had not even seen the town of Mammoth, but that’s just how I roll!). When we did make it into town I was sold! All I needed was a few million in cash, and a cute little cabin would be all mine...or maybe I would just have to settle for a shack without plumbing, either way Mammoth was a dream within minutes!


The condo we rented was an awesome rustic flashback from the 70’s just feet away from the start/finish line of the race! Shane and Tyler beelined for the trails and of course Kai couldn’t be left out! The both of them took it super easy because of the elevation change, they didn’t want fatigue or elevation sickness before their races. That night, we went to the Austria Hof, a little restaurant across from our condo where Tyler indulged in the most delicious steak ever. It was well worth the money because Tyler kicked some serious butt in his race the next morning, taking 11th place in the U23 Mens race! He owes it all to the steak and of course the smooth as butter wheels… ok and maybe he had something to do with the results! But hey I am just saying good food and a good bike set up need a little credit too!


Shane didn’t race until the next day, so we had to keep things low key, and save the exploring for after his race. So while Shane hung out, back at the condo, Tyler, Kai and I went in search of some ice cream for Tyler and some chocolate for me...cheering is a hard job! That night consisted of spaghetti and laying around watching Shane pretend not to be nervous!

 The next morning we were up early, ready to watch Shane kick some butt! Which he most certainly did! Fourth place in the Men’s Category 1 30-34 Race! I think I was more excited then he was! I can kinda be the overzealous wife from time to time, but someone has to do it, right?! After taking an ungodly amount of proud wife pictures, we hung around the race venue to explore some of the booths and such. We ended the evening with celebratory burgers at a place called Campo. Word of advice, drive to Mammoth and eat at Campo, it’s sooo good!


The remainder of our trip was all about exploring Mammoth and the beautiful Sierra Nevada area! We started by taking the gondola down to The Village at Mammoth, getting coffee and exploring the cute little shops. The gondola was amazing.. after I stopped panicking about being up so high, the views were unreal! You could see every rooftop and tree for miles!


The following day we checked out of our condo, packed the car and headed out in search of some hot springs. We found some directions to a hot springs out in the middle of nowhere, on Burton Snowboard's website, how cool is that! Oh my gosh was it well worth the long bumpy gravel road! The hot springs were hidden out in a grass plain surrounded by mountains, long pale green grass, and cows. The springs were a creek, with several different pools to lay in. With only a handful of people to out there, it was such a peaceful experience. Best of all, I got Shane and Tyler hooked, they were ready to find another hot springs to visit!


Our trip was nearing an end with only two days left, so we made our way back towards home. We found another hot spring near Bridgeport where we could camp and relax for the evening, it also happens to be near Bodie. Bodie is a preserved ghost town that was built back in the 1800's when gold was first discovered there. After a relaxing evening of hot springs, the following morning we made the trip out to Bodie not knowing what to expect, and let me just say there is no describing what you will see. We spent about five hours walking around, looking at all of the buildings and the things that had been left behind. This was such a surreal experience and a little eerie at the same time. You could feel the hardship and life that at one time had occupied this town. It was best described by a little girl, who's family was headed to Bodie back in the late 1800's, wrote "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie.".


After several days of enjoying beautiful nature, we had to throw in some bright lights and noise! So that being said, we stopped in Reno, to try our luck at bringing home some big bucks. I ended up winning a cool two dollars, but Tyler was the real rockstar of the tables, trying his hand at a round of blackjack and winning fifty dollars! We all thought the gambling was great and all, but the real excitement was the buffets! What choice to make!? As you have probably noticed, we kind of like food a lot....like a lot a lot! After walking through the food area several times (burning some extra calories so we could properly eat), we ended up at the international Buffet. It was rain forest themed, with a man-made tropical canopy that spread throughout the entire room, with realistic monkeys, birds, etc, while sounds of the rain forest played in the background. It was an experience of its own, and the food was incredible, we definitely waddled out after consuming a massive amount of delicious food.


The next morning, we woke up somewhat early, not quite ready to end our awesome trip, but we packed up and made the remainder of the drive home to Redmond. This trip was one to remember, the epic racing by the guys, finally getting to put our wheels into race action, the scenery and things we got to see, just unbelievable. Can't wait for the next trip!


-Samantha Johnson

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