The day began with lunch in Carmel, a quick fix of zip ties to replace a missing bolt, then a ride down Highway 1, via Big Sur.
A 100-mile bicycle ride was taking the same route as we were, ending at Hearst Castle. The athletes were increasingly impressive as we followed them most of the way. There was a fair amount of traffic otherwise, which, combined with the bicycles, made for a pretty crowded road. Still gorgeous views, though. Warm if you stayed still, but a bit chilly at moving speeds.
The seals were having as much fun in the sun as we were - basking, flipping sand, and molting.
We turned inland at Cambria, taking 46 and 58 out to Bakersfield. It got pretty warm, to say the least, but the roads were fun with hills enough to feel like a rollercoaster.
Day 1 total = 400 miles
The next morning, we picked up another rider, and rode up the canyon to Lake Isabella for lunch. We later heard that 178 - the road we were just on - closed due to a fire just an hour or two after we went through. Eek.
We took 395 up the valley. Straight. Hot. Freeway. Not the most exciting road (except for the "really good" fresh jerky), but we did make good time.
We stopped at Mono Lake to get up close to the tufa. Lots of wildlife out there, mostly birds.
We had dinner at the Mobil Restaurant/Gas Station near Tioga Pass. Aaron says it's his favorite gas station ever, and for good reason. I ordered fried duck, and he had the elk chops. Delicious. We ate it out in the back, with live music, and a view of Mono Lake.
Day 2 total = 300 miles
We headed into Yosemite via Tioga Pass, where it got to be 9800ft altitude, and 35 degrees outside. Brr...
I'm telling you - motorcycle is the best way to see Yosemite. With those towering cliffs and expansive landscapes, the frame of a car window just doesn't do it justice. We only rode 80 miles before we checked into our, um, tent.
After changing into normal clothes, we hiked up to the base of Vernal Falls.
We still had time, so we continued up to the top of the falls, and man, my calves are still reminding me of that hike. Protip: watch those squirrels - they have no fear, they really want your food, and will work in teams to use the diversion tactic to distract you.
Day 3 total = 80 miles on the bike, 6 miles by foot
Instead of just heading back home the last day, we took a zig-zag route. First we went over Sonora Pass, then up 395 a bit to the beginning of Highway 4.
They were in the middle of repaving pretty much the entirety of Highway 4 through the mountains, so we had to stop and wait for road crews to let us pass more than a few times. One spot even found us stuck for 30 minutes, but Aaron talked to the pilot car driver about motorcycles while I took pictures of butterflies. ;)
I also passed the 20,000 mile mark on my Triumph's odometer. 10k are mine from the last 6 months. Half commute, half play. :)
Day 4 total = 400 miles
Trip total = 1186 miles