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Old 12-05-2012, 08:34 PM   #166
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The campground had a trail and it felt good to stretch our legs after the longish ride from Lassen-


Kristhawee led the way-


He found some monster dandelions and made a few wishes-


The trail crosses Cottonwood Creek several times-


Getting dark in the old growth forest-


We got back to our site just after sunset, built a nice fire (I was surprised that camp fires were still permitted, what with all the fire warning signs and restrictions in effect). We were both pretty beat from the moderate hike up to the Ridge Lakes earlier in the day and went to bed pretty early. Tomorrow will be a long ride to Yosemite National Park!
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:17 PM   #167
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Good morning from Cottonwood Creek Campground,


We have a pretty long day ahead of us to reach Yosemite National Park-


Riding highway 89 south towards Truckee-


Truckee is a cool old mining and timber town that is now a tourist hotspot- we stop there for breakfast and fuel-




It's a beautiful day and there are tons of people rafting on the Truckee River-




Approaching Lake Tahoe!


A Bicycle Campground? Sounds intriguing-


Lake Tahoe!!


West Lake Boulevard is a fantastic ride!


Great road and beautiful views!


Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe-

The Emerald Bay parking area was absolutely packed so we didn't stop.

Just past Emerald Bay the road follows a ridge with sheer drop offs on both sides-




Some nice hairpins bring us back down to the lake-


Riding through the town of South Lake Tahoe-

I know it's kind of cheating, but I take the Lincoln Highway and we cross the border into Nevada, just to say we were there, the U-turn back to California and continue south on the 89. This section of the 89 has many names, including Luther Pass Road and Christmas Valley Road.

Regardless of the name, it's another awesome road!




We enter Toiyabe National Forest-


Just me and my boy, on a beautiful road with fantastic scenery. Life is good!!


There was a lot of traffic back at Lake Tahoe, but we have this road almost completely to ourselves-


The Luther Pass Road is only open during the summer and passes through some really rough country-




EXTREME Fire Danger, but thankfully no fires around here; the air is clean and clear!
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:37 PM   #168
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Right around lunch time we reach the adorable little town of Markleeville.


There are a couple other bikes in town. Kristhawee seems impressed by this BMW R1200 cruiser-


There are a couple cute little restaurants on the main street, we decide on Ali's Cafe-


They have a cool tex-mex / organic style menu and some pretty funny signs-


A surcharge for grouches- brilliant!!


We enjoy a fantastic lunch, huge burrito for me and chicken and cheese quesadillas for the little guy- Yum!

Then we wander over to the historic Markleeville General Store for dessert.


Kristhawee seems to enjoy relaxing on the patio of the Markleeville General Store with his frozen ice-


The Markleeville General Store has burned down several times. I love their "No Smoking" sign-


Father and son at the Markleeville General Store, Carson Pass Highway, California!


While we're chillaxin a bunch of other bikes roll into town-


The old timers on the hogs were super nice and couldn't believe we'd ridden all the way from Minnesota. Some guys on sport bikes showed up. Love this tri-color Ducati 848-

But look closely and you'll see that it's rashed up from a spill from a few days earlier

We have a good time chatting with the other bikers but finally it's time to hit the road! They kindly offer to take our picture before we go-


Father and son in Markleeville, California!
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:51 PM   #169
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We continue south on the 89-


Up and over Monitor Pass!


The guys on the sport bikes must be LOVING this road!! (I've got a serious case of perma-grin myself)


Leaving Toiyabe National Forest-




We finally reach the end of Highway 89 and proceed south on the 395. Only 400 miles to L.A!


Wow, the 395 isn't a bad road either!




We pass the junction to the 108, aka Sonora Pass Highway and I'm bummed that it's too late in the day for us to hit that road. Next time!!

We continue south towards Mono Lake---
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:59 PM   #170
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I love this ride report! You are building memories that the both of you will hold onto for a lifetime, when your 70 and you mention the bison game it will bring a smile to both of your faces. I'm sure he will remember losing that toe nail but more importantly he will remember the journey along the way. Kudos to you for being an awesome dad. Ride safe and Keep the updates coming!
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:27 PM   #171
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We're getting closer to our destination- Yosemite National Park!


Highway 395 passes through some beautiful high mountain scenery. Way off in the distance we see some snow in the high peaks-


Soon we will hang a right and ride over these mountains via the Tioga Pass-


First we pass Mono Lake-

Mono Lake supports an interesting ecosystem. It is a shallow salty soda lake that supports millions of migratory birds who feed on the lake's thriving shrimp.

Mark Twain once described Mono Lake as "lifeless, treeless, hideous desert... the loneliest place on earth."

Highway 395 winds down to the lake-


It is a very desolate area and I can imagine it wouldn't be much fun in bad weather. Fortunately for us it's another beautiful day!


Those orange markers are to help the snow plows follow the road in the winter-


It can get pretty windy up here, but not a problem today-


Highway 395 passes along the west shore of Mono Lake-


Not sure how you can have a "National Forest" without any trees?


Riding along the west shore of Mono Lake-


We are approaching the turn off for highway 120 to the Tioga Pass and Yosemit National Park!
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:41 PM   #172
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The California 120 climbs up and up and up to the Tioga Pass, which, at 9,943 ft (3,031 m) is the highest highway pass in California and in the Sierra Nevadas!


It is a stunning ride!




Entering Inyo National Forest-




My camera doesn't do justice to this amazing landscape-


Waterfall-





Woohoo! We've finally reached Yosemite National Park!!
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:10 PM   #173
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While we waited to enter Yosemite we struck up a conversation with the biker in front of us who had ridden here all the way from New Jersey! Respect!


Woohoo! We're in! Welcome to Yosemite National Park!


It's still a fair distance to the Yosemite Valley-


We stop at the Tuolomne Visitor Center to grab a snack and a Junior Ranger workbook for Kristhawee-

It's been a long day in the saddle but he hasn't complained at all- what a great kid!!

Back on the road- gorgeous scenery on the Tioga Road as we make our way down to the Yosemite Valley-


Yosemite is full of granite domes. Which one is this? Medlicott Dome? Fairview Dome? Hard to keep track of them all!






The massive granite formations in Yosemite are unlike anywhere else in the world-




Beautiful Tenaya Lake-


Approaching Olmsted Point-


Over the shoulder shot looking back the way we've come-


From Olmsted Point you have a partial view into Yosemite Valley. I think that might be Half Dome way off in the distance?


Another look-


I was a Geology minor in college so find these formations fascinating, but my terminology is damn rusty and I haven't a clue what this is called-


It's getting late and much of the road is in shadow now-


Great road and surprisingly not so much traffic-


Finally we reach the junction with Big Oak Flat Road and hang a left, riding east towards the Yosemite Valley-


Amazing light with the sun at our back-


Approaching Yosemite Valley-


We pass through some cool tunnels-


The curves keep coming-


Another tunnel-


Now we're on the El Portal Road, following the Merced River-


Cross the river, a few more bends, and we catch our first glimpse of El Capitan!
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:55 PM   #174
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Woohoo! We've reached Yosemite Valley. El Capitan towers above us-


Half Dome!


We make our way to the North Pines Campground where, despite my reservation number and proof of payment, they can't find my reservation... Grrr, after a long day in the saddle Kristhawee and I just want to find our spot and relax, but we have to do a bit of running around with the campground host, who makes some phone calls and does his best to get us sorted.

In the end he puts us in an unclaimed spot, not the greatest, but it will do-

^Kristhawee at the North Pines Campground, Yosemite National Park!

Kristhawee was really happy to discover a nice family with really cute kids camping just behind us. We all hit it off and ended up having dinner together.

I finally got rid of the Jiffy Pop that we'd been carrying around for the last week or so

We ended the evening with a campfire and S'mores with our new friends and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:37 PM   #175
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Good morning from the North Pines Campground, Yosemite National Park!


I had only been able to reserve one night in Yosemite, but wanted to stay at least a couple more days. Yosemite is the most visited National Park in the US and the reserved spots book out early- I'd been very lucky to find the one night.

I had spoken to a ranger at the visitor center the day before who told us that there are a few first-come-first-serve campgrounds in Yosemite- Bridalveil Creek, Camp 4 and Porcupine Flat. These campgrounds fill up fast so it's necessary to arrive early and get in line. I wanted to stay in the valley if possible so we packed up early (Kristhawee wasn't too happy about that- I think he wanted to sleep in) and made our way over to Camp 4.


Wow- we got there around ~8am and already there was a long line of campers waiting to try and get a spot. There was a really nice ranger who tried to maintain some order. He said there would be about ~30 vacancies that day and then counted us off to see how many in line could be accommodated. We barely made the cut, but we were in!

This isn't my pic but shows the check-in kiosk and campers waiting in line to try and get a spot at Yosemite's Camp 4:


Camp 4 has traditionally been the number one choice for rock climbers and is littered with large boulders perfect for bouldering- (not my pic)


It is a walk-in campground, so no generators or RV's here! Yosemite's Camp 4 is on the National Register of Historic Places; definitely a special place and I feel very lucky to have scored a spot here and pay for two nights.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:19 PM   #176
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By the time we finally checked in to Yosemite Valley's Camp 4 and got our site set up we were both pretty hungry. The Yosemite Lodge isn't too far from Camp 4 so we set off on foot to go find a late breakfast / early lunch.


From Camp 4 we followed the Lower Yosemite Fall Trail. Lots of people out climbing- some unattended ropes-


This late in the summer Yosemite Falls was just a trickle-


We enjoyed a big meal at the Yosemite Lodge and then jumped on a shuttle to the Happy Isles Nature Center. The shuttle bus system they have set up in the Yosemite Valley, which historically has suffered from serious traffic congestion, is outstanding.

The Nature Center was fun and educational-




Kristhawee loves to color
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:09 PM   #177
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After exploring the Happy Isles Nature Center we joined a Junior Ranger activity hosted by a cute and vivacious intern- I think her name was Kelly-


She was going to teach the kids (and adults) all about the geology and formation of Yosemite Valley

First question- what is granite made out of? Hmmm, I'm a bit rusty, but recall that quartz is one of the primary minerals and whisper the answer to Kristhawee. We got one right answer!

Then she holds this up and I whisper mica to Kristhawee, but turns out my geology sucks, cuz actually it's hornblende


We learn that the granite in Yosemite is primarly Granodiorite, which is made up of quartz, feldspar and hornblende.
Kristhawee seems to be enjoying the presentation-


The kids are all assigned to be different minerals and they play a kind of "musical chairs" game where like elements have to pair up and whoever doesn't find a partner is eliminated. Kristhawee is "Hornblende", hence the "horns"


Next we learn about the formation of Yosemite Valley-


Here the kids get to touch a topo map of the valley and guess how it was formed-


Now they are going to recreate the events that led to the formation of Yosemite Valley-


Kelly talks about glaciers and tells the kids to make a fist which they will use to simulate glaciers pushing through Yosemite-


They use their fists to push through the landmass and mimic the effect of glaciers-


Next they take turns pouring water through the glacial valley to see the effect of erosion-
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Old 12-24-2012, 04:08 AM   #178
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It was early afternoon by the time we finished the Junior Ranger activity and it was getting hot in the Yosemite Valley. Let's go for a swim in the Merced River


The water was VERY cold!


What's that? You want me to splash you again?


It was a beautiful spot. We'd swim a bit in the freezing water, then warm ourselves on the rocks, then jump in again-


Looks like somebody's getting a bit sleepy-


My little guy passed out on the shuttle ride back to our campground-
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:26 PM   #179
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Kristhawee was totally beat so I put him down for a nap while I got started on dinner.


Our neighbors were a nice Korean couple and their daughter. I surprised them by dusting off some Korean I'd picked up years ago and we hit it off. He whipped up some awesome Korean bbq and offered me a plate

Kamsamnida!

Try as I might I could not roust my kid so I caught up with a nice guy we'd met while waiting in line to check in to the campground and he brought over his chess set-

We ended the day with beers and chess at Camp 4 in Yosemite National Park; it really doesn't get much better than this!

Kristhawee finally woke up, right around the time I was ready to pass out


Got him fed and ready for bed, eventually. First we sat out watching the stars and trying to identify constellations with a really cool app from the European Space Agency called Star Walk that I had installed on the iPad-
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:48 PM   #180
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Good Morning from Camp 4, Yosemite National Park!


As luck would have it, the trailhead for the Yosemite Falls Trail is right behind Camp 4. One of Yosemite oldest historic trails (built by hand from 1873 to 1877), the Yosemite Falls Trail leads to the top of North America’s tallest waterfall 2,425 feet (739 m) above the Valley floor.

It's a strenuous hike; 7.2 miles/11.6 km round-trip; 6 to 8 hours; 2,700 feet/823 m elevation gain!

This would be by far the toughest hike Kristhawee had yet attempted, but he was totally game for it-


The guy we'd met in line and played chess with the night before joined us for the hike. Adam was super-cool, a student from Mendocino he was on summer holiday and traveling in Yosemite by himself and Kristhawee warmed up to him immediately.

Up up up! More switchbacks than I could count!


Looking down at the valley floor-


The long nap the afternoon before served Kristhawee well- he was full of energy today and motoring ahead-


Lots of critters on the trail; lizards, snakes, bugs, etc-

(If you look closely you might be able to see the lizard in this pic)

Higher and higher- a nice view of Half Dome-


Father and son on the Yosemite Falls Trail, Yosemite National Park!


Eventually Kristhawee did run out of steam...


And Adam became his new best friend when he offered to carry him for a while-


Kristhawee seemed to enjoy the ride; Adam? Not sure...


Going up!!


Woohoo! We made it to the base of the Upper Yosemite Falls! As you can see, this late in the summer, it's nearly dry!
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