When office life is getting you down and you haven’t left the confines of the concrete jungle in a while, there’s nothing better than a little outdoor escape. This blog post is a little look into our buddy John's adventure with his friends Denny, Mikey on a trip to Mammoth. It's amazing what you can pack into a quick weekend trip from San Diego to Mammoth Lakes, CA and back.
A quick summder detour to Mammoth by John
We chose Mammoth Ski Mountain as they had an epic snowfall year and are planning on being open until August this season. I’ve never snowboarded in June and was really excited about the idea.
We planned on leaving at noon on a Friday with every intention of trying to beat the traffic. In true Denny fashion, just as we got on the road, the infamous ‘I’m Hungry!’ came out, so Mikey and I knew a food stop was imminent. The latest road trip food stop of choice has been In-N-Out Burger and we found one in Sorrento Valley. A quick trifecta of double doubles and we were back on the road. It didn’t take long before we hit traffic, so we had to find something besides the usual tunes to occupy our time.
…Enter ‘Hot Ones.’ This is a youtube show that interviews celebrities while eating hot wings that increase in intensity. Highly recommend going out of your way to watch this show! Bret Kreischner had the most entertaining performance, so we listened to some of his comedy after that. If you haven’t heard his bit about ‘The Machine’, add that to your list.
I highly recommend using the Waze app for directions when you experience any type of traffic. We ended up saving some time with a side route to avoid an accident, which was invaluable. Also, DO NOT speed in any of the small town along the 395! I would also be cautious in between those towns as well.
Almost nine hours later and we caught the sunset just about the time we hit Mammoth Lakes.
Mammoth Lakes is setup like a lot of traditional ski towns which is centered around a common area or ‘Village.’ This area contains a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and activities. So, the closer you are, the easier it is to check these spots out.
We checked into our lodging at Mammoth 80/50, which was conveniently located right in the village. From there we walked across the street to a locals spot called the Clock Tower (www.clocktowercellar.com). They have a really good bar food menu and great selection of beer including Mammoth Brewery beer. We obvio usly ordered the hottest wings they had to start practicing for our own Hot Ones show that will air in San Diego later this summer.
Any good snowboarding day at Mammoth starts off with breakfast at Old New York Deli and Bagel Co, which is right in the village. Being on the west coast does not provide many opportunities to get NYC quality bagels and these aren’t far off. The bacon, egg, cheese and avocado bagel sandwich is a solid choice.
Old New York Deli and Bagel Co. Outdoor Seating
After we crushed breakfast, we drove to the main lodge to get on the mountain. We parked on the road, put on our gear for the day and purchased our tickets from the main lodge. The main lodge was our best bet to park as they have a full service ticket window and most of the trails that were open ended up at this location.
Did I say Ridin’… I meant Boozn’
After a few runs, it didn’t take long for us to end up at the tried and true drinking establishment called The Mill Cafe . We could’ve used the excuse that it was too hot, or the snow was too sticky, but let’s be serious…
The Mill Café @ Mammoth Mountain
We rallied for a few more runs, including some botched runs through the terrain park (yikes), and you never guessed where we ended up...
…Close guess, but this time we migrated to Tusks bar which is at the main lodge. We sat outside and had a few cocktails while sitting in the high elevation mountain sun. It didn’t take long before we got too hot and had to seek shelter under an umbrella.
Though our riding day was a bit short, I did manage to get a solid summit pic under the iconic Mammoth Mountain sign . This sign was completely covered during the peak of the winter season showing you how much snow they got.
After we finished up riding for the day, we rolled back to the car and headed back to our condo. We made a quick trip to the Busy Bee General Store , which is right in the village, to pick up the cocktail ingredients for none other than our mountain drink of choice, Fadorade (Gatorade and Vodka, duh). This is the only market that is in close proximity to the village and they have a pretty great selection of essentials. See aforementioned Fadorade comment. There is also a Vons grocery store that is in town, about a 5-7 minute drive from the village, which can take longer with traffic or weather. Prices and options are better at Vons, but it’s nice not to have to drive sometimes.
After mixing up our Fadorades, we headed to the roof to chill by the pool for a bit. Yup, it was still hot out. That, coupled with Denny’s suspect music selection caused that chill sesh to be rather short lived. I’m pretty sure I got tan though, all good.
Village a Trois…
We then decided to make our way to the Village to see what was going on.
‘The Village Sign’
Our first stop was Gomez’s Mexican Restaurant , which sits right on the main plaza of the village. We sat outside under an umbrella table and indulged in pretty much all of their happy hour specials including margaritas, crunchy tacos, quesadillas, nachos, and chips n salsa. If that wasn’t enough, we decided to keep our training regimen up and ordered a couple orders of the hottest wings they had. I got made fun of by our waiter who called me a lightweight being one drink behind Denny and Mikey. Denny burped so loud he got half the restaurant’s attention. It was time to go.
Our second stop took us to my favorite bar outside of San Diego, Lakanuki. I like this bar so much that I nicknamed it ‘The Boot of the North’ after Bootlegger in San Diego. We hit up happy hour for a couple drinks and Mark took care of us. He’s the perfect amount of gangsta for a middle aged white man.
Our third stop took us to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in the village where Denny and Mikey proceeded to go nuts. I was banking on the fact that they would fall asleep and I would have dibs on any leftovers. Nailed it.
With having quite the day, that equated to a pretty mellow evening. I took a nap, won a ping pong championship, and topped it off with a little Brad Pitt in World War Z.
All Good Things Must Come to an End…
…but not before one more stop at Old New York Deli and Bagel Co. Yup, still bomb.
It was already pretty hot out early in the morning, so we bagged playing golf at Sierra Star Golf Course as well as some of the hikes we were going to do to Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls. We ended up stopping at Convict Lake, which has some flat, shaded hiking around the lake. This lake is stocked with trout and there were a lot of people fishing.
A trip to Mammoth on the 395 would not be complete without a stop in Bishop, CA at one of the many gem eateries they have in town. Bishop is about 45 minutes or so south of Mammoth Lakes, CA which makes for a good stop after the car is all packed and you’re on the road.
I had never been to Mahogany Smoked Meats , which is on the north side of Bishop. They used Mahogany wood to smoke their meats and they smoke ALL kinds of meat. Half of the store is a deli and the other half is a jerky / smoked meat section. I ordered the California Cuban and Mikey ordered the Handyman (cashier’s fav), which were both tasty. Apparently the most popular sandwich is The Rodeo, which I’ll be trying next time for sure.
On top of having jerky to fuel us on the journey home, we listed to a couple podcasts include ‘The Art of Charm’ and ‘Planet Money’, which were pretty interesting.
It was nice to get back early on Sunday, but it would’ve also been nice to see what locals would have recommended for shorter hikes that would be favorable in hot weather. Also, I’m much less familiar with summertime activities in Mammoth than I am winter activities, so it would have been nice to see what locals would have recommended on this front as well.
Denny, Mikey…it was a pleasure!
Feel free to message me on Lokely if you have any questions!
You can find me on Lokely @ John A