2008 Western Adventure


Day 33 - July 22, 2008

I tried to get an early start today because I wanted to get through Yosemite before dark, but the late night with my friends Dave and Joanne left me a little sluggish this morning.  When I finally got everything packed on the bike I headed across the street to say my goodbye's.  Another day with Dave and Joanne would have been real nice, but I was already a week behind my original schedule, but who's counting anyway.

I set my GPS for Yosemite, and also tucked the directions that Dave gave me in my map case and away I went.  It wasn't long before I was in the country again and thinking about the adventure ahead.  I had visited Yosemite when I was 15, and my most of my memories were a little cloudy, but I do remember the fantastic rock formations and beautiful forests.  As I approached the foothills my adrenalin started pumping through my body and I could hardly wait. The route took me up a very steep and curvy road and I was in my element.  Mountain roads are so much fun to ride on a motorcycle.  You feel like your floating in mid air, but it's important to take a reality check once in a while to make sure you stay of the road and don't end up falling off the mountain.  It could be a long way down if you made one twitchy move.  I've lost my bike on mountain roads before and it's no fun.

After the exciting initial climb into the mountains, it became much greener.  I'm now entering the forest and I can smell the trees and fresh mountain air.  Now it's really getting nice and I'm excited to actually get to the entrance of the park. Before I know it, there's the Yosemite National Park sign.  I get my picture of the sign and dig for my lifetime pass to the National Parks.  As I go through the gate, the lady ranger comments on my traveling all the way from Florida on a motorcycle to visit their park.  She was very pleasant and helpful and pointed out some must see places on the map that she gave me.  A very nice way to start the tour.  There was another motorcycle that headed into the at the same time that I did, so I followed him for quit a few miles before I stopped to take some pictures.  Both of us were looking around like a couple of kids in an amusement park.  It's a wonder that we stayed on the road.  Come to think of it, there were a couple time that both of us almost didn't stay on the road.  Thank goodness for some wide shoulders in those areas.

I did remember from my visit many years ago that several of the parks features required some hiking in order to enjoy them up close and personal.  Unfortunately, I didn't want to get stuck in the park at night since all of the campgrounds were full, so I decided that only very short hikes were in order.  I first passed Hodgdon Meadow, which was nice, but nothing like what laid ahead.  Instead of following the road to the Yosemite Valley loop, I decided to take Tioga Road to Tioga pass and then backtrack to the Yosemite Valley loop.  That way I would see everything from the road that Yosemite has to offer.  On this route I passed over the South Fork of the Tuolumne River.  It's not a real large river, but beautiful fast moving mountain river.  I really wanted to get off the bike and romp around in its cool water, but time was passing fast.  There were some interesting places that I would like to have explored had I planned for two days in Yosemite, like Tenaya Lake.  What and inviting lake, and there where a lot of people enjoying its inviting waters.  Have you noticed a trend here......water attracts me.  I guess when you're all bundled up in motorcycle gear, you think about the things that might make you nice and cool.

As I got closer to Tioga Pass, I was beginning to wonder if there were any gas stations inside Yosemite.  I generally ask about those things, but I was overwhelmed by the directions I was getting from the Lady Ranger to ask the all important question.  I knew there was a gas station at the base of the mountain because I used during my 2006 trip, but I didn't want to go to the bottom of the mountain.  I checked the GPS and it did show a gas station, which ended up not being there.  However, a little further down there was a gas station that had $5 a gallon regular....yikes.  I turned around and headed back at the gas station.  Of course, almost everything looked different, even though I had just been on the same road.  I stopped and enjoyed the beauty of Tuolumne Meadows, which was also being enjoyed by dozens of other people.  Many actually walk out into the meadows and some even appeared to be having a picnic.

Yosemite is noted for some of its rock formations and domed rocks, like Fairview Dome and Mendlicott Dome, which can be seen from Tioga Road,  but the most famous Half Dome and El Capitan, which can be seen from the valley road. Actually, you can see Half Dome from both road, but it's closer from the valley road.   I followed the Little Yosemite River on the first part of the valley ride, and picked up the Merced River farther on down the valley.  There's nothing like following a mountain river or creek.  What a view.  The valley road was curvier than the Tioga Road, which I loved, but it also required a little more attention.  I finally reached Mariposa, where I had planned to stay for the night, but the town was jam packed full of tourists like me, so I headed for Merced, which I think was at least 50 miles away. 

Before I reached Merced it had turned dark, but at least I was dodging deer on some mountain road.  I found a motel that looked clean, and checked in for the evening.  I unpacked and then headed out for a quick bit to eat.  I returned to the hotel about 10pm, did a little work, and then called it an evening.





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