California 2016

Day 08

June 25


I'm in 'road mode' again so I'm up at 4 AM to tend to business and to get SweetTreat ready. I try really hard not to wake up anybody as I get cleaned up and get out to the garage where SweetTreat is sleeping.


I load her up and pulled out and ready to roll. Don and Joyce want to wish me good-bye this morning, so after I tend to business I slip back inside and lay down until I hear someone stirring. They're up and about so I wander upstairs to give them some hugs.

Don asks me -

"Are you already to go?"

"Yes, I was up way early and was hoping I didn't bother anybody" I tell him.

"I never heard a thing at all" he tells me and for that I am thankful.

  But the driveway and the road awaits me, so I thank them both for putting up with me and giving me a home away from home. I give them both a big hug and I'm on my way.  
  Coarsegold is still asleep for the most part and I hope I will find Yosemite to be the same way.  
  I have the ride into Oakhurst to myself also which is the next town north of Coarsegold.  
  It's a nice run as the sun just starts to peek over the mountains.  
  Highway 140 gets me into the park much quicker than the way I had originally planned.  
  And it also provides the first of many construction zones of the day.  
  When I get to the gate, I have my 'senior' Park Pass in my teeth. The Ranger Lady just smiles and waves me on through.  
  Once in the park proper, I pass from one type of tunnel to ...  
  another type where the trees form a lovely green canopy over the road.  
  One of the prettiest viewpoints along the way is Olmstead point ...  
  where you can see the Tenaya Lake in the distance.  
  It's a beautiful Alpine lake at above 8,000 feet of elevation, so clear it is easy to see the bottom.  
  Yosemite is my favorite national park after Yellowstone. The views are stunning as I proceed along Highway 120.  
  I pass by Lembert Dome which reminds me a lot of Stones Mountain down in Georgia.  
  The incoming traffic starts to get really heavy as I make my way out of the park. I pass the Tioga Pass gate which brings back memories of another trip. The ranger waves me on and soon I am out of the park.  
  Before the day is over, I will be wishing I was back here and taking a dip in the waters of this lovely, cool lake.  
  As I begin my descent toward Mono Lake, the landscape turns much more arid.  
  Once I make the turnoff of Highway 395 and back on Highway 120, I get a clearer view of Mono Lake - a large, shallow saline soda lake somewhat similar to the Great Salt Lake.  
  Past it, the road resembles a roller coaster that stretches out for miles and miles through the scrub brush and up into the mountains.  
  I make a decision to bypass Lee Vining for a gas stop knowing it will be close. Fortunately Benton Station has fuel so it works out just fine. From here I'll be on Highway 6 all the way to Ely, Nevada where it joins Highway 50. There is a group of four riders parked there and traveling together from San Diego. Two are on BMW GS1200 adventure bikes and two are on cruisers - sort of an unusual combination. We chat a little bit and they are amazed at where I've been and where I plan to spend the evening - Salina, Utah, about 500 miles from where we sit. I wish them well, then get back to the mile eating at hand.  
  I make really good time through the deserted areas to the outskirts of Tonopah. My stomach is reminding that I didn't eat breakfast this morning, so that coupled with the rising temperatures persuade me to take a longer break and grab a sandwich for breakfast/lunch after I fuel up. There's a Subway inside the station and that works just fine for me. After I eat a sandwich, hydrate and chill for a while, the group of four come pulling in and I tell them hello again.  
  But daylight's a wasting, so I get back to the lonesome highway 6 where there are miles and miles of nothing ...  
  and still nothing ...  
  and still nothing.  
  Finally I get to Highway 50 where the terrain has a few curves and some elevation.  
  And out here the wind blows enough that I guess the wind turbines work pretty well. At least there ain't many people to have to look at them.  
  Then Highway 50 turns back to the same as Highway 6 as I make my way to Delta.  
  Highway 50 is one of the few national 'highways' that is still pretty much intact across the United States unlike Route 66 of more notable fame. It starts in Ocean City, Maryland on the east coast and terminates in Sacramento, California. I've ridden many sections of it, but one day I plan to ride it from start to finish just for grins.  
  It runs through places like Washington, DC, Parkersburg, WV, St. Louis, MO, Dodge City, KS, Lake Tahoe, NV and Austin, NV where it is called the 'Loneliest Road In America'.  
  It's been a hot day, so when I see this sign I know I'm not too far from some air conditioned relief.  

When I check into the Super 8, the poor desk clerk feller seems a bit flustered. He tells me -

"I've got a bunch of unhappy folks here today. They're really complaining."

I ask him "Anything in particular?"

"Nope, just about every little thing" he replies.

"Well, as a lady that used to work for me says - Some people you couldn't please if you hung 'em with a gold rope" I tell him.

He gets a big kick out of that and says "I'll remember that one and use it!"

He gets me checked in and I quickly unload SweetTreat and turn up the air as I am baked like a big old potato.

  I've got some sandwich and chips left from lunch and I snagged a drink at my last fill up, so I'm good for supper. I take a nice cold shower and enjoy the cold air blowing out of the HVAC unit. I have a theory that on long trips there is a phenomenon that hits you after a while called 'accumulated fatigue'. Whether it's real or not, I'm sure feeling it this evening so I polish off my leftovers and hit the sack. When I get like this, I always sleep until I wake up the next morning - figuring my body will tell me when I'm ready to go instead of an alarm clock. It's not long before I am out faster than a politician changing positions to get elected.