But the heat worked, the cable was on and the water almost got to lukewarm. Roughing it, California-style.
We went to the town’s main bar, the Wrightwood Inn, for fun that first night – and fun we got. It was only five blocks away. The cabin location was fantastic, just minutes from eating, drinking, skiing and sledding.
Karaoke night was in full swing. Beer was $3 a cup (not a “glass,” a cup), and the place was packed with locals, tourists and various wall-heads alike. If you could avoid looking Bambi in the eyes it was a great time.
White guys in their 20s were belting Lady Gaga, and the bartender made us pizza in a toaster oven after a fuse blew and killed the electric stove. He handed it to us with a guilty look. The edges drooped and the cheese curled unnaturally to the left. $3 beer. We ate it and were happy.
We had a great time for about $30. Even though Mark wouldn’t sing Lady Gaga. About 2 a.m. we stumbled back to the cabin, giggling like schoolgirls and praying that no horror movie characters had moved into the closets in our absence.
Ever made eggs on a heated frisbee? No? Of course not. The frisbee would melt. But that, for all intents and purposes, was our stovetop burner.
So we had a hearty breakfast of Lean Pockets that only took 30 minutes to make in the microwave.
Like I said: roughing it, California-style.
Marc took off skiing and I read. Heaven. About midday I left for fresh air and Lean Pocket replenishments. It was one of those perfect winter days – 30 degrees, the lightest of winds ruffling your jacket and hair, and cold, crisp air that smells like a mountain.
After an early night, it was time for sledding the next day. And oh my. So many hills, so many heights, so many families seeing snow for the first time.
Some of the highlights:
1) A nice family brought their toy dog with them for their very first snow sighting. It was zipped into a Miami Dolphins parka worn by a teen son (top), with only the ears and eyes popping out below his chin. I thought the soon to be Mrs. Ex-Wife HAD actually done something to the juice for a second, but, no – there was indeed a dog in his parka. He let me pet her.
2) A man tasking his cute, chubby-cheeked nine-year-old for failing to stay on a phenomenally impractical sled that looked like a canoe with no sides. It had green racing stripes and looked aerodynamic, but the kid didn’t have a chance. It was a foot wide at most, and he was a novice. You’d need experience to get that thing down a hill of ice.
3) Me giving the kid my saucer before we left. His eyes lit up, and he immediately ran up the nearest hill before dad could steal the prize.
4) Dad’s look of death in my general direction.
5) The 75-degree hill the size of a building with three different outlets – one onto a frozen lake. It was like the polar bear version of Plinko. Sometimes you bounced left, sometimes you bounced off a tree and onto the ice. It held.
6) Mark deciding, against advice, to ride down a hill shaped like a sharp “V.” He was either going face first into the other side or getting tossed – it wasn’t wide enough for him to slide up the other side like he envisioned. Physics. FAIL. It was a face plant that left the right side of his face bright red and I’m pretty sure gave him a concussion.
7) Mark finding a pinecone after his accident and naming it “Pinecone of Trust” as a symbol of the strength of our relationship.
8) Driving above the cloud line.
Wrightwood’s not for everyone.
If you’re looking for a wide variety of slopes, designer shops and gourmet restaurants, this is not your place. If, however, you want a place close to L.A. with decent skiing (I am told), a great karaoke bar and fantastic sledding – all on the cheap – you’ve found a home.