Sunset Chasing Southern California’s Best – Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington

Sunset Chasing Southern California’s Best
Photos by Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington. Words by Sean Talkington.

Ryan and I recently planned a ride up Highway 39 to get some “work” done. We needed to shoot some of the Team Dream products in their natural habitat (shameless self promotion #1). We asked our friend Jackie to come along as a lady model. Jackie originally wanted 10K in cash (up front!) to model but settled for a turkey sandwich (also up front!) instead.

This ride is (in our opinion) the absolute hands down best climb in all of Southern California. The road used to be closed to cars a few years back and in those days you could do the bulk of the twisty climb without ever seeing another human. It was really post apocalyptic feeling back then. Now the 39 is open to motor vehicles until just after Crystal Lake, but even with the occasional “Fast And The Furious” car ripping by you every so often, this climb is still easily #1.

To the Clouds Along Highway 39

The plan was to shoot all of the product while we rode up the 39 and (hopefully) get up to the top in time for a few quick sunset pics near Highway 2 aka #teamdreamsunsetchasingteam (shameless self promotion #2). Both Ryan and myself have ridden the 39 quite a bit, but this was my first time up there for sunset. Man was it good! Just before we reached Highway 2 we popped out of the fog. It looked like you could have walked out straight onto the giant pillow of white clouds like a Care Bear (Shameless Care Bear promotion #1).

To the Clouds Along Highway 39

The three of us stayed there and took photos until batteries were dead and memory cards were full. It was also Jackie’s first trip up Highway 39 so she was all like “No Way!?” and Ryan and I were both like “Way!”. This was easily the best either Ryan or myself had ever seen it up there. Not bad for a days “work”.

Note- This time of year gets dark really early and its not uncommon to see extremely high variation in temperature when you start near sea level and get high up in Angeles National Forest (anyone that rode the Mudfoot Hump Hundo knows that!). That being said, of course, I didn’t bring a jacket or leg/knee warmers! Its seems like every year I get caught out once or twice before learning. Lots of people are making really great handlebar mounted bags that can fit warmer clothes, food, cameras etc. This climb is most certainly a ride that requires all of said things.

See the route at Strava.


Follow Ryan on Instagram and at his Tumblr and follow Sean on Instagram and his Tumblr, Team Dream Team.


  • Kevin

    Wow. Amazing!

  • Naz Hamid

    Last photo! So great.

  • John Watson

    Seriously rad photos Ryan and Sean!

    • senorflaco

      I cant stop looking at this set. So dreamy.

  • Nick

    This makes me want to get a road bike today and ride this soon after this rain passes

  • Carter K. Quinn

    Dat inversion layer

  • Chrue

    what a set!

  • tony365

    great photos i haven’t been on that section of 39 i usually go up the back side of GMR looks awesome.

  • Jonathan McCurdy

    I need to do this ride… any groups going up the next weeks?

  • barry mcwilliams

    So, so good. Love that road.

  • Jeff Haye

    This set is exactly why I am looking at your site multiple times a day!

  • Andrew

    Sometimes I wish I wasn’t in Michigan…this is absolutely stunning

    • rmdub

      Thanks! I actually grew up in Michigan (but didn’t ride bikes back then), and will be back to visit in a couple weeks. Any recommendations for MTB rides in the Metro Detroit area? Going to try to squeeze one in!

      • Andrew

        Potowotami in Pinckney would be a good place to check out. Otherwise I always enjoy Tree Farm(lakeshore park) in Novi for a quick ride. If you make it up to the Grand Traverse Bay area it would be killer to check out Arcadia or Vasa!

        • rmdub

          I’ll probably try to check out Lakeshore since I’ll be only a couple miles away. One of these years I’ll make it back in the summer and head further north. Thanks!

          • Andy Brown

            Lake Shore is flat, fast and close to the water table… Fun when it’s dry. Maybury is close by too, kinda of a mini-poto/PLRA sandy/rocky/punchy. If you want fast,dust on crust and wide open head to ILRA. If you have a day to kill, head to Mohican State Park in Ohio, hands down some of the best single track this side of the Mississippi River Valley.

          • rmdub

            Thanks for the info! I’ll look into all of these.

          • Fritz Groszkruger

            Every state has some beautiful rides. If these guys use much gravity they are back in LA. When we went out to visit there years ago (my old stomping grounds) one of our little ones said, “This is just like Mason City.” Love the one you’re with… or the grass always seems greener. Fantastic photos and scenery nontheless.

          • tony365

            I am sure there are great rides in Iowa, I grew up in the mid-west and mid atlantic but its nothing like it is on the west coast.

          • Fritz Groszkruger

            Yeah. I look at my kid’s blog and the distance he covers and it is otherworldly. See any horneytoads? (Ha. the spell checker made me look at horneytoads and the only suggestion was attorney)

          • John Watson

            I always see them on Gleason!

  • Peter Koch


    • rmdub

      I was using a Sony A7 and Sean was using a Sony RX100 mk3

      • Peter Koch

        Thanks! Sorry one other question…what do you carry your camera in when you ride?

        • John Watson

          haha. I’m doing a post about how I deal with this problem next week… ;-)
          I think Ryan uses a Yanco bar bag.

          • rmdub

            ^ I’ll be interested to see that one too!

        • rmdub

          Typically I use a Sony RX100 mk2, so I just keep it in my jersey pocket. If I bring my A7 on a solo ride I’ll use a Yanco bar bag with the 35/2.8 lens, which fits but takes a bit of time to get out, shoot, and put away. If I’m riding with people I just sling it over my shoulder, so I can get more stuff on-the-bike. I’ve only done that twice with this camera though, so I don’t really have a setup nailed down.

          In this case our intent was getting kit oriented photos, so I brought the A7 with a 55/1.8 (too big for the bar bag anyways), and just slung it over my shoulder the whole ride. The setup is light enough that it doesn’t really bother me unless it’s swinging around toward the top tube, which I’m starting to get a little better at keeping in check.

          • Sean Talkington

            Ryan makes me carry all of his equipment most days. I have to use cargo bike with lots of bags for the green screen, lighting, craft services & post production equipment. He likes to do all of his post production on location because he feels it makes the shoot “more authentic”.

          • rmdub

            Sean, do you want authenticity or does that NOT MATTER TO YOU!? These extras, special Fx crews, CGI artists, etc aren’t going to feed themselves, so yes, that requires you to haul a lunch buffet to the top of the mountain on occasion. It’s for the art, Sean… Don’t lose sight of that behind the massive hair and makeup trailer that I have you pull behind that cargo bike.

  • david


  • Patrick

    Amazing photos!

  • Mr_Bridge

    Not kidding about the temperature variation. Layers layers layers, and winter gloves for the descent. Love that climb!

  • mellowvelo

    Wow. I needed that today. My head space is so not good right now, but looking at these photos helps a bit. Thanks for bringing us such lovely photo essays.

  • Bayo30

    is it possible to buy that awesome jersey? where where where??? :)

  • hans

    good people in this set! best road in so cal too

  • Jon Baines

    Beautiful stuff