Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bill's Birthday Ride September 14, 2014

Hard to believe I have turned 64. Every year for close to twenty years I have celebrated by going for a ride over Tioga Pass and back over Sonora Pass. This year we came back over Ebbetts Pass adding about 28 miles to the ride.

7:00 AM as the sun comes up. Long ride and we stop for food and good conversation.

Food is a part of the ride. Breakfast at the 50's roadhouse in Knight Ferry. Next stop is the north gate into Yosemite National Park.

Fred pulling into the parking lot.

Ken followed by Bob arrive.

Gene bringing up the rear as we stop for a break before heading up and over Tioga Pass. We have traveled just about 100 miles 1/4 of the ride for the day.  Tioga Pass is the highest pass in California at 9,943 feet.

Olmsted Point is our next stop. It  is named after landscape Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr..  Great view looking over Yosemite Valley and Half Dome. NPS had a spotting scope set up and you could see the people going up the cable to the top of half dome. There were more people stopped here today than I have ever seen. People were looking for a place to park. Just about perfect weather with large puffy clouds.  

I think Bob's gut may be getting bigger.

We find parking, and get ready to enjoy the view.

The crew solving the problems of the world.

Good friends, good weather. Great ride in the High Sierras, it does not get much better.

Down the hill we drop over 3,000 feet in a short ride to lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli. The best food you will find at any gas station.

Digesting after lunch.  The view may be one of the best of any restaurant in the sierras. High on the hill over looking Mono Lake.

Saw this trike in the parking lot. NOT my style but really good work putting it together.

Largest spring I have seen on the front of a motorcycle.

It was really long. 

All the way from New Mexico.

Almost half way for the ride, we now head north on Hwy 395 to the turn to Monitor Pass. Monitor is one of the great motorcycle roads, with a step climb and great views of the Carson Valley. Turning west you cross through groves of aspen trees just starting to get their fall colors. Long wide sweeping turns across the top. The road then drops to through what is referred to as a technical section until you reach Hwy 4.  Ebbetts Pass on Hwy 4 is another great motorcycle road. Much narrower than Monitor Pass, Ebbetts is full of tight switch back and blind corners. Our next stop is Lake Alpine.

I "twiked the throttle" a little coming over Ebbetts Pass, waited 5 minutes for the crew to arrive.

Fred, Ken and Bob arrives. Gene turned off at the bottom of Monitor Pass and headed to a camping spot at Silver Lake.

We enjoyed the cool air and views of Lake Alpine. The temperature has been in the 70's to low 80's after we hit Yosemite Park. We saw low temps of 60 degrees on the top of the passes. From Alpine we start the drop into the Valley and the heat. It was 95 degrees when we went through Murphys. Actually cooled to 90 at Farmington with the trees being watered. Arrived home just about 7:00 PM. Just about the best way to spend a birthday.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tioga Pass opening day May 2, 2014.

Yosemite National Park announced that Tioga Pass would open at noon on Friday May 2, 2014. A perfect day for an old retired guy to take a ride. Sent out an email to a bunch of other old retired guys, four said let go!.  We left Stockton at 9:30 and headed for Tioga Pass.  We stopped for gas in Groveland and meet a rider from Petaluma who is also going over the pass. He excepts our invitation to ride up with us and save $10.00 by riding through the gate with us. Love that life time senior pass.

Our new friend from Petaluma at the Yosemite gate.

The Old Farts enjoying a break at the Yosemite gate, 104 miles from home. Our next stop is Olmsted Point and a view of Half Dome over the valley.  Olmsted Point is named for Fredrick Law Olmsted, Jr. who did the survey to start Yosemite Park and also did the survey to purchase land for all the California State Parks. His father was the architect of Central Park in NYC.

The road over the pass could not have been cleaner. No sand anywhere as this road is closed all winter and only opens when the snow is cleared.

My K1600, Bill Wollner's RT1200 and Jean Thayer's Moto Guzzi at Olmsted point.

Half Dome from Olmsted Point.

Not a lot of snow for 8,300 feet.

Mike "The Farmer" Sanguinetti taking a selfie.

Bill Wollner enjoying the view from Olmsted Point.

The temperature at the Yosemite gate was 80 degrees at 5,000 feet. By the time we got to Olmsted Point it had dropped to the 60's.  Our next stop was the western gate and the top of Tioga Pass just short of 10,000 feet elevation.

Everyone asks where is the summit of Tioga Pass, they never see the sign. The sigh is on each side of the gate. Temperature is now below 60 degrees. Bright sun and just about as good as it can get.

Bill and Gene enjoying the snow.

Mike and his cousin looking for wifi at the summit.

Off we go down the mountain. Highway 120 drops from 9,945 feet to 6,700 feet in 12 miles, what a fun ride down the hill. All turns can be taken well above the speed limit. But we alway drive 55 :-)

Whoa Nellie Deli is at the bottom of the hill. If you have not been you need to stop and eat there. Not cheap but the food is top shelf. I had the Cesar Salad with Strip Steak.

The wind was blowing at lunch but it was a warm wind, strange at this time of the year. Temperature had also got up to the high 70's.  The deli has a great view of Mono Lake as you sit and eat outside. This was only the second weekend that the deli has been open for the year. After lunch we decided to head back as we came, back over Tioga Pass. As we climbed toward the 9,945 foot summit the temperature dropped to 54 degrees colder than when we came over.  50 miles later when we got to the west gate the temperature was back up to over 80 degrees.  We knew the valley would be in the 90's by the time we got there. Easy decision to stop in Copperopolis at the Cruisers Ice Cream, always great, but not this time. Cruisers has went out of business :-( .  But there was a gas station and an It's It's Bar hit the spot.   Everyone headed to home after Copperopolis, another fun ride.