Devil's Backbone 2017
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The Devil’s Backbone

The Devil’s Backbone ran the Heavenly Highways

The eighth running of SCMM’s Devil’s Backbone Run took place in September. This year’s edition, called Heavenly Highways, included overnight stays in Bishop, South Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes.

In typical Devil’s Backbone fashion, the majority of attendees met at Denny’s in Sylmar to officially kick off the run. There each MINI received a goodie bag of snacks, souvenirs and a Devil’s Backbone sticker, before setting out across the high desert to the first night’s destination in Bishop.

Two hours into the run the MINIs regrouped at the Indian Wells Brewery near Pearsonville. Here the MINI Maniacs browsed the brewery’s extensive inventory of soda pop, beer and candy.

Next stop was Lone Pine for lunch. This popular town is known for being the gateway to Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states, and where countless movies have been filmed in its nearby Alabama Hills.

The Frosty Chalet proved to be the favorite lunch spot with the Maniacs. The Chalet lived up to its slogan of “Old Fashioned Fast Food.” Located on the north end of Lone Pine in a building right out of the 1950s, this roadside restaurant serves up burgers, fries, shakes and more to travelers along Highway 395.

Bishop’s Creekside Inn was the final destination on day one. The Wolfman’s Lair, set up on the creekside patio, was going strong by late afternoon with food, drinks and music. Later that evening, following dinner, a small group of die-hards managed to get a couple games of bowling in before calling it a night.

Day two of the Devil’s Backbone took the MINI Maniacs to South Lake Tahoe for an overnight at the Montbleu Casino Resort and a sunset dinner cruise on the lake.

It wasn’t wildfires but lightning this year that threatened the fun on Friday. The dinner cruise was scheduled to depart at 6pm, but at 3pm it was pouring rain.

“I was looking out over the lake from the hotel and lightning was coming straight down to the water,” says George Marsh. “At the same time there was a National Weather Service severe storm alert on TV warning of thunder storms in the area. I thought the cruise was sure to be canceled.”

An inquiry was made to the cruise company. “No, the cruise will depart on schedule,” was the response. That message was relayed to a number of worried members. “Okay, we’re still going.”

As luck would have it, by 6pm the rain stopped, clouds began to clear and the group was treated to a beautiful sunset.

After dinner aboard the M.S. Dixie II, the largest cruising vessel on Lake Tahoe, the group moved to an upper deck dance floor and rocked the night away. They even got to witness a wedding proposal (nobody from our club).

On Saturday morning the MINIs rolled out of the Monthbleu in mass, taking the scenic Monitor Pass route back to Highway 395 and on to Mammoth Lakes.

The Alpenhof Lodge in Mammoth was the central meeting point. Members, many in pirate attire, gathered in the late afternoon on the upper level patio overlooking Minaret Road. By 6pm the party moved across the street to The Side Door Cafe for a final evening of pirate fun and festivities.