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.