Yosemite '09 - Day 2
[ Saturday - May
23, 2009 ]
The parents were graceful enough to give us one car spot in the
garage. They originally thought that we needed the entire garage,
but we decline. One car spot should be plenty good. The
proof is in the images below. Yes! Six bikes in one car
spot. Quite a mix bag at that.
6 bikes into half a garage. Priceless...
The original plan was to start the day at 7:30am. Yeah
right. As if everybody can get up, get fed, and get off and
running by then. It was a valiant thought and ever so mild of an
effort. It's easy how it rolls off the tongue the night
before. In the end we all just settled for, "We leave whenever we
leave.". Plus it was pleasant to spend some time with the folks.
Prep work time...
Eating and texting. At least it's better than riding and texting.
Out the door around
10:00am. What can you say? It is what it is. It's a
beautiful day. All the reason to mill around and enjoy the easy
life. Still it's a fair start. Not too much traffic and the
roads are flowing
nicely. However, since this is Memorial Day weekend, I'm
anticipating it's going to suck in Yosemite.
We're moving alright. That is until we reach about two miles
before Coarsegold. It's jammed up. "Oh man! This is
gonna suck." I open the comm, "I hope it's
not going to be like this from here all the way to the Yosemite south
gate. That would be bad." Two lanes and there's no place to
split. This stinks. That is until Mr. Speedy decides he
can't stay in the heat. He'll cook from the four bangers
underneath him. Off he goes on the right shoulder. I'm
thinking, what the hell, let's do it. We'll all cook if we stay
here. I got on the horn and laid into the gang, "Follow
him!!" We receive some nasty stares, but most people were
tolerant and some even moved to give us a little room. Thanks
goes to the people that were nice enough to let us slip by. I can
just picture it in my head. Just sitting there in the sun like a
bunch of dried out
prunes on the side of the road. The minute we finish squirting
into Coarsegold, we pull into
the first parking lot and start to give up hope of going to
Thinking that traffic is nasty as a rabid dog
waiting to chew on some poor fools that passes by, we contemplate
making a U-turn to
double back to good old Fresburg. Since we're
here and there is a Memorial Day festival going on, we might as well
take the opportunity and enjoy the festivities before turning
south. Fortunately for us, Nu decided to ventured to the
road to have a look. To his surprise, "look at that! it
opens up and there is no traffic beyond this spot. It's just
Coarsegold causing the traffic jam." Oh sweet! If we waited
just a couple more seconds, we would have just turned back and the day
would have been lost. Good
While we're in the process of gearing back up to head north, a woman
looking at us dawning all this equipment and comments, "Wow! You
sure put on a lot of stuff. All I do is put my helmet, and a coat
on and we're all done." I replied, "Yeah, we wear a lot of safety
gear." It might look like a lot of equipment, but it's going to
literally save my hide if I come off. I rather be safe and ride
again instead of paying doctors and hospitals so they can tell
me I can't ride again. It's unfortunate that she thinks this is
too much gear. There is never enough gear when you're riding a
motorcycle. From the way she is talking, the time when she finds
out is when it's too late. Even ATGATT sometimes doesn't feel
enough. Oh well, to each their own.
Getting in the parking lot was relatively hard. Getting out of
the lot is near impossible. The cars are refusing to get us break
traffic. I attempt to get Nu to block for the group, but the
attempt is foobar because he is doing it too early. Not being
able to hold back traffic for
even a couple seconds, he head up the road and ride slowly. In
the end an SUV or truck was gracious enough to
let me force our way through.
The minute we're out of Coarsegold, it's beautiful. No
There is an occasional car but that's it. Of course you can
always spot a local on the road. You can lean, hang off the seat,
but they're still on your hide in an SUV because they know the road all
too well. The only saving grace is we're going up hill and they
can't pull their weight.
I'm a bird, I'm a plane, I'm Mr. Speedy!
Don't try this at home kids.
Oakhurst. We pull in to fuel up one last time before
heading into Yosemite. The south gate is not much further.
I finish the fueling, pull over to one side, and go into the convenient
store to purchase ice and some drinks. It's time to stock up the
cooler. I forgot the camera is still going. That is until
one of the two clerks ask about the camera. Just then I remember,
"Yeah! it's still rolling." The clerk started breaking out
in laughter. A shy giggling laughter that is. I said, "Oh
big deal. Just wave and say hi to the camera." She said hi,
laughed some more and I finish the check out. When I turn around
to head out, I can't help but notice several people are staring at the
camera smiling. It's good to bring smiles to faces regardless of
how silly they think I am.
On our way pass Oakhurst we run into yet another halt in the
road. This time it's a different cause. Instead of a town
police imposing a traffic jam because of a festival, it's an ad hoc
director. She waves us to go. As we inch across, I happened
to glance at several people trying to pull a
motorcycle up and out of the shoulder. Another biker is sitting
on the opposite side of the Hwy with another motorcycle helmet near
by. It looks like somebody went a little too
fast and ended up doing some off road down the shoulder. Yup, yet
another reminder to take it easy today.
The camera is focused on the shoulder, but it makes a cool blur effect.
Waiting at the Yosemite south gate. The Sgt is making gestures
about pinching something.
Once again we sit... and sit... and sit... and sit. It's getting
hot and the fan on my radiator is kicking on. Time to power down
the bikes until we start moving again. It saves fuel too.
As we're sitting here on
this extremely slanted road, if any one of us drops our bike, we're all
done for. Why, because none of the other folks would be able to
put the bike on the kickstand to help the one person pickup his
level ground is 0 degrees, then a bike would fall over and land at -10
to -20 degrees. In other words, the wheels will be up in the
air. That's not right for a motorcycle. Fuel spillage is
guaranteed. Fortunately, everybody managed and no spillage was
encountered. 10 to 15
minutes later we're at the south gate. $60 out of my wallet and
The website says we have to make reservations to eat at the Wawona
hotel and restaurant but we'll chance it anyway. We're
hungry. Let's hope they take walk ins. It's late and we're
It goes to show that no matter where you go, there is
always rude people everywhere. Myself and a woman is waiting to
put our name on the waiting list. A guy barges in and cuts in
front of both of us. I look at her, she looks at me. The
same thought is going through our heads. When the receptionist
got back to his post, we both commented that the rude guy had cut in
of both of us. He kindly put both of our names down first.
15 minutes is what we're given. Cool. No reservations was
necessary. Yes, common sense and etiquette is quite lacking these
The happy, but tired look...
...followed by the hungry look. Still texting, or at least
There is generally no cell phone signal in National Parks.
Hey Russ, did you know your armpits are kind of wet?
At long last, it's our turn to stuff our faces. It didn't take
long for the waiter to pop the question, "So you're all motorcyclist
huh?" "Yes sir, we are," I said. From there is was a simple
matter of what bikes, where from, where to, etc. My apologies to
our wonderful waiter, I can't remember his name. I'm getting a
bit old an senile you see. The short terms memory isn't so hot
any more. After taking our order, he disappeared for a
while. I'm almost sure it was related with some 800GS
thing. He rides a BMW R1150R himself.
In the end we all
ended up with the same plate. How did that happen? BBQ
chicken sandwich. There
are one or two exceptions. MM, MM, MM... it's an excellent
sandwich. We even went for dessert. Hot fudge brownie with
vanilla ice cream on top. Mr Speedy attempted to resist, but even
his will collapse under the strain of the chocolate mountain. Two
scoops is all he can muster. The rest of us, on the other hand,
charged in head first. Watch out! I'm going in boys!
After a satisfying meal and dessert.
At the recommendation of our waiters, we attempted to reach Glacier
Point. No such luck. Without plotting it in the GPS, we
miss the turn off. In the end we simply headed straight for
Valley. Oh my god! It's a zoo!
"Keep looking..." ... again.
The angry couple.
This is all the reason not to come to Yosemite during prime
season. Just trying to get out of this parking lot was a
We did it but not without a bit of frustration. Riding the
Yosemite Valley floor was scary also. Hikers are looming
in the bushes just ready to jump the street to cross to the other
side like chickens. Luckily they don't have chicken brains.
Otherwise they might have done it. What's worse? Car
drivers are in a
hurry to get somewhere. Par for the course I guess. It's
Yosemite Valley after all. Being
late in the day, we skipped the west side of the 120 Hwy, and the
longest covered bridge in California. This is the second time we
skipped the Covered Bridge. I wonder if we'll ever get
there. One of these days I guess.
We miss the sheer wall route (e.g. 120 Hwy), but the 140 Hwy along the
river is in itself simply brilliant. It's a welcome detour and a
definite welcome change of scenery.
This is a first. I've never been on a single lane bridge with a
light to control bidirectional traffic. This is so cool!
The end of the day was simple enough. We got back to Fresno and
crashed at the parent's place again. It's so nice to have a base
Written on: July 13, 2009
Last modified: August 17, 2009