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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Dirtbiker78, Oct 26, 2013.
Great job Brian, yup, jealous......
Thanks for your great ride report. I've ridden many of the same roads, seen the same sights and felt the same emotions but could never put them into words as well as you have. The pics bring back a lot of memories too.
Man! Reading this RR while at work is making me about as useful as tits on a fish!
Keep up the good work! I'll be following along from now on.
Welcome to Cali. Great report.
good to see youre out having a great time. sucks that yosemete was closed! that is a great place.
Looks like a great ride. Did you fiancé even get to ride the 700 while she was back? Ride safe and see you soon.
Ha Ha Ha!!! Nicely put!!
Stay tuned I"m working on Yosemite right now
She did didn't get a chance to take the little two stroke out, but we'll do that next time
Thanks JayHawk. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I've had a good time putting it together.
I woke early this morning and strolled outside to see what the day was like. Low and behold!! It was beautiful!!!! It's the first time in a week that the temperatures were on the good side of 50 F and it was only 07:30!!!
I was out the door so fast you'd think a ghoul got stuck in there after last nights Halloween festivities. Yosemite was only a twist of the wrist away and I knew I had a spectacular ride to get there.
The cops were having breakfast and I used it to my utmost advantage, I put every last pony the beast has to offer to work, I wanted to get to the park earlier than Kim Jong Ill and the Disney Land crew.
I crested a hill so quickly that the beast reared her head and growled at the sky, Her traction control kicking in and pounding her front wheel back onto the pavement with a light puff of rubber quickly dispersed by the gentle breeze coming off the lake in the distance.
There was a light brown sign next to the road that indicated "Yosemite, That-a-way" and I rounded the corner so fast my my pegs made the beautiful "shikkkkkk" sound that I've come to love and expect on this trip. I felt like John McGuiness rounding The Goose Neck to start his mountain mile in the Isle Of Mann. I almost expected to glance to my left and see a bright orange pitt board.
The road twisted and turned so sharply headed up hill that by the time you came to the top you felt like a fart in a bubble bath.
The town of Groveland lies just before the gates to Yosemite and as I rolled through town at a sedately 35 (the speed limit, that's my story and I'm sticking to it) I could smell the wood fires used to to chase the heat out of the cold mountain homes clustered on the hillside, the smell of frying bacon wafting in through the vents of my helmets and making my tummy growl in anticipation at the promise of a sunny side egg on warm toast with a pile of bacon to match. No such luck though, if there was a restaurant in that town, I didn't find it, mostly everything was pretty much closed up for the winter and the smells that drove me out of my mind were from private tables reserved for the residents occupying the homes.
Only a few short miles after the town the smells in the hills changed, the scenery turned stark. As harsh as the Arizona summer sun and as barren as a moonscape. Only then did I realize how close the people in that little town had come to losing everything they owned. The fires broke out in the surrounding mountains only a few short weeks ago. The smell of burnt wood is still hanging in the air almost two month after the fires had been beaten into submission by the sweat of countless men and woman who are far braver than I am. I cannot imagine what it must be like to walk headlong, unflinching into flames that could tower a three story building and sear flesh from bone with one ill placed step, one wrong swing of an ax. Scary!!!
I rode to the gate of Yosemite contemplating the devastation of that fire and found that it's beyond my comprehension. The scorched earth reaches as far as the eye can see, but that's not the worst part. There's so much more to a fire like that in a place like Yosemite, the lost plant life and animals are only a fraction of the entire equation. Soil now gets washed away with every subsequent rainfall, the plants that used to trap the water are no longer there and that could cause flooding in the catchment areas and drown houses. It's terrible, a very sad sight to see indeed.
Off to Yosemite proper then!
When I entered through the gate to Yosemite I had a bit of a feeling of accomplishment. A real sence of achievement. I know it sounds silly, but it's a place I've wanted to see for many years and I've simply never made it happen for myself, until now. I cruised down the road feeling that this is exactly where I should be today. There's nowhere else in the world I'd rather be at right this second. I was very happy with myself and was grinning so broadly in my helmet that I think if I didn't have ears my smile would have gone all the way around.
Yeah, I know, I'm not getting any better at the selfie thing yet
I'll keep practicing, maybe get some tips from a teenager or something.
I rode Northwards first to see if I could meet up with the road that turned me around yesterday. I didn't make it to the gate, but I did manage to find some wildlife
There was more of them but the behind me decided that that was the opportune moment to lay on her horn. As if that's gonna move a 6'5" nature loving biker nut trying to take a photo of the small furry animals (now that's a brave woman I tell ya)
I was rolling down the road at my leisure hoping to see more animals, maybe a bear if I'm lucky when my back wheel stepped out so violently my bum nearly took a bite out of the beasts seat!!! :eek1 The beast bucked so hard it threw me straight up into a standing position putting my weight on the pegs and fighting hard to save her. I was a moment from sounding the "ABANDON SHIP!!" when the rear wheel found purchase and then tracked back in a straight line following the front as though nothing had happened at all.
I pulled over to inspect the bike to see what had happened and discovered that I'd hit a patch of road ice. I decided that discretion was to be the better part of valor and turned around to go find less icy temperatures.
I headed for the valley floor as quickly as I dared, pulled into a gas station to find some food and defrost my gloves in the sunshine.
It wasn't long before I was headed to probably one of the most photographed places in the world. I don't know if it is, but I'm sure this particular place has been photographed so many times it'll make a Vogue cover girl sick with envy.
Yup, you guessed it, "Half Dome"
I decided it's been photographed so many times I just had to "photobomb" it for the ride report... so here's that picture too. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha... I just had to
I left Yosemite valley headed South on Route 41 in a generaly South bound direction headed to the gate on the South side of the park when I met up with a group of bikers touring the park from England.
We hung around smoking for a little while at "El Capitan" and then headed in the same direction together. They're on a very much "planned" tour though going about it on the clock, ride for 45 minutes, rest for 15, stop here, see this. Anything that doesn't come out of a "Fromers" is
When I told them about my trip I thought they were going to throw their Fromers at me :eek1
"El Capitan" Anyone who has ever had the inclination to climb big walls or base jump has seen this in countless video's and books (usually from a VERY different angle though)
I left Yosemite headed South and it wasn't long till I was absolutely hanging off my chinstrap. I was so wore out from the early start and all the excitement of being where I was that I found I kept making silly mistakes and my concentration was wondering all over the place. I pulled into a "lay bye" and stretched out next to my bike for 20 minutes just to get my mind back in the right place. It worked wonders and I was soon back to my old self.
Just before I got to Fresno, I crested a hill on the long straight road and came face to face with a scene straight from the South African "Lowveld" region where I grew up. This looked so much like it that I could practically taste the biltong (much like Jerky) and smell the boerewors (a type of sausage indigenous to South Africa) cooking on an open fire. Boy did this scene take me back I loved it.
Before I knew it I had rolled through Fresno and I was on my way to my next destination.
A sign next to the road says the pass is closed because of the snowfall this weekend past, but the internet says it should be open tomorrow. So here's hoping the internet's right.
Tonight I'm staying at a tiny little motel only an hour away from the Sequoia National Park. I'm typing this in their bar cause it's the only part that has internet. They sold me 6 beers, put it in an ice bucket for me and left. I'm the only guest here, but it's the most hospitable place I've stayed at so far on my trip. If you're ever between Fresno and the Sequoia National Park, do yourself a favour and stay here!!!
Glad to see you are warming up now, excellent post Brian! The Sequoias' are awesome...make sure you look for "Sherman"!!
Looks like you are having a blast, when you get back to town we will need to grab some beers and hear all about the details!!!!!
Your narrative is becoming more polished with each posting.
I love your narrative style - especially the analogies makes it a joy to read.
Keep it comming.
Another awesome post has me giggling like a school girl at a beiber concert.
My lame attempt at an analogy.
I was up really early this morning, anxious to get on the road. I wasn't sure if the pass to the Sequoia National Forest would be open or not but decided I had to take a chance.
I rode my motorcycle all the way there and it would have been a shame to have been denied. In all likelihood, now that my fiance's been made aware of what I'm doing, my culinary skills will probably not be put to the test on anything more challenging than a sprig of asparagus, who knows when I'll be able to come past this way again. I had to get through the pass!!!
As luck would have it, the pass which was snowed in yesterday was open and I could get through.
Top of the pass on California State Route 180
The road was immaculate, newly surfaced and as twisted as a bad sence of humor. I was a little cautious on my way up though cause it was still colder than frozen chicken and my tires squirmed horribly when I'd get on the gas too enthusiastically.
It wasn't long after I'd passed the Sequoia sign that I started to smell the early morning cooking fires of the crew that had worked tirelessly overnight to clear the pass of snow and ice. I pulled over when I found them and thanked them profusely for all their effort. I wish I could have done more for them but they all seemed pretty eager to pack up and head home. So I pushed on and arrived at the gate to the park just after the clock struck 8.
I showed my pass, was handed a map and a sticker to put on my windshield and off I went.
I was making my way further up into the snow line and knew there was a good chance I might not be able to make it through to the Sequoia's cause a car came past me headed in the other direction still wearing his tire chains which were caked in ice :huh
Gingerly I rode on and eventually a car coming in the opposite direction pulled me over for a chat. He asked me about my trip and warned me that the road to "The Sherman Tree" was iced over. I asked him how long the iced piece of road was and if it was sheer. The answer was about a mile and a half of packed ice and slightly uphill but not very steep.
I thanked him for the information and made up my mind to stop and have a bite to eat, hoping a few cars would pass there before me and drive the ice off the road.
Unfortunately, my luck usually just doesn't run that way. I sat in the watery sunlight glinting through the trees and ate my cold sardines as slowly as I could, contemplating my options. By the time the sardines were in my belly I'd pretty much made up my mind. Today I was seeing that damn tree, even if I had to park the beast and walk there!! So off I went.
When I reached the ice covered road, it was exactly that!! The ice was about an inch thick, packed down so hard by the cars running over it that it felt like concrete. I slowed the beast as much as I could, thumbed her ABS button to "OFF" and stood on the pegs. I ran a higher gear than normal to smooth out the throttle response and hoped for the best.
The road was slicker than greased goose snot, but we made it. My "pucker meter" was deep in the red as I stood on the pegs with the beast sliding around beneath me. "Easy Girl" became my phrase of the day as I continually mind slapped myself into submission "Brian, you chop!! What the hell are you thinking!!"
I made it to the parking lot without incident, but when I put my foot down I went down too, Motorcross boots do NOT work well on ice
The parking lot looked the same way the road did and I managed to get a picture of that for you. I didn't want to stop on the road though cause I wasn't sure I'd be able to get her going uphill on that ice from a stand still.
I managed to upright the bike and strolled down the path to go see the worlds most voluminous tree
The Sherman tree isn't the tallest or the widest tree in the world, but it has the biggest volume of wood. The top of the tree is "dead" so it doesn't grow upwards anymore, but its trunk still grows and the girth gets larger every year by a substantial amount. In fact, it grows enough each year to make up the wood volume of another average sized tree. The diameter of the base of The Sherman tree is so long that if I lie across it, I could lie end to end five and a half times with room to spare!!! (The diameter is 11,6 meters for those that are interested).
Sorry, there's just no good way to take a picture of a tall tree. If you know how to do it please tell me. All my pictures of it came out "silly" and you can't see much of anything in them.
It was a crazy uphill walk from the tree back to the parking lot, it wasn't so far or so steep, but the air is thin cause you're well over 9000ft in elevation and the gradual climb takes its toll quickly. My boots felt like anchors and my legs like lead. I was blowing like an ox when I got back to the bike and still had to take her over the mile long ice floe
I managed to get out of the parking lot without further embarrassment and gingerly rolled my way back to the road. A few cars had passed by since I had previously done so and the ice was now slowly starting to break up. It would make loud cracking noises under my tires as it broke and for the first time on this trip I've been grateful to the aggressive off road capable tread I have on my tires, I'm sure the added pressure of the blocks helped drive the rubber through the ice to find some measure of purchase on the still frozen road.
Some other Sequoia's (the full grown pine tree next to it looks positively minute in comparison)
When I reached the main road I started to wind my way back down the mountain and out of the snow line. I could feel the air getting warmer with each corner I took. The trees began to thin and for the first time since entering the park I had a view of exactly how high up I was.
The scenery was FANTASTIC!! It's very difficult to describe. The panorama views go on for miles and I'm sure that with binoculars you could probably see next Friday. The road twists and turns with such rapidity your head spins around like a top trying to find the next corner. With each turn and twist in the road another view you've never seen before reveals itself before you and you find yourself "oooooing and aaaaahing" inside your helmet with enthusiasm.
The road that runs through the Sequoia National Forest was designed by the biker gods themselves. I'm convinced there wasn't a hand laid on it by man. It's billiard table smooth, and if like me, you'd rather wear out the sides of your tires than the middle, it's about as much fun as you can have with pants on.
(that's the only picture I took of it, I was having too much fun to stop)
I was riding along when suddenly I felt uncomfortable on the bike and couldn't figure out what was the matter. I was irritable as though I had a stone in my shoe or something, but that wasn't it. And then it struck me!! I was getting HOT!!! It's the first time I've gotten hot on the bike since I left Arizona more than a week ago I pulled over at a natural bridge, tore off some layers as quickly as I could and went to go have a climb on the rocks.
I left the Sequoia National park a little after 13:00 and put my head down. Only stopping for gas and to stretch my legs when I had to. It was a straight rip down the interstate. I wanted to get as much miles under my belt before the sun went down so that I don't have too far to go tomorrow to get home.
I did take a few pictures on the way though, but there's nothing much to write about, so I'll just explain the pictures I post and why I took them.
A pretty vista I rode by that I thought was "photo worthy"
It's hard to see on this photo, but the mountain is covered in wind powered generators. I loved the ingenuity of it and thought they couldn't have picked a better place cause the wind was pushing so hard I felt like I was rolling down the road at a lean angle of at least 20 degrees.
One of my favourite sights on the trip that I hadn't gotten a picture of yet. It's meeeeeee
This is something I'll forever associate with this trip. My gloves warming in the sun to try and get the chill out of the leather.
I pulled into a motel in Barstow for the night knowing that I'll be able to reach home tomorrow evening. As I pulled up to the office I heard a familiar "tink, tink, tink" as my wheel turned and I knew I'd broken a spoke. I parked the bike and rented a room for the night. My last night on the road. When all the formalities were taken care of I went to inspect my wheel. The broken spoke had been putting in it's best effort to try tear through my swing-arm. I was shocked at the amount of damage it caused. I never even heard it before I stopped, not once, and judging by the carnage it must have happened a long way down the road from where I now stood.
I quickly set about tearing off my back wheel and patching the damage with some steel putty. This stuff is great and it sets very quickly so I'm glad I had it with me.
I'm in Barstow now and I'm glad I had the long freeway stretch to do today because it gave me a little time to reflect on my trip and how lucky I was to be able to do it. I don't think the timing could have been any better if I'd planned it cause it was cold enough to keep the biggest tour groups away but the things I wanted to see were still open.
I'm looking forward to getting home because I have to go make preparations to receive my furry friend from Iraq. I worked with Cross for almost two years and he gets home on Tuesday where he'll be retired from service and officially be my pet (I'll post a picture of him when he's home)
Ha Ha Ha ... It was actually pretty good, it got me laughing
I'll be home tomorrow night, we can maybe hook up for a beer in the week if you like..... or I'll cook diner ha ha ha ha
Thanks guys, I appreciate that. Thanks for reading it too. It's nice to know that the effort of writing it all up isn't wasted.