Mammoth-Yosemite - Day 1
Balls and thighs.
Total miles: 318
Estimated travel time: 5 hours
[ Friday -
August 22, 2008 ]
It's 8:30AM and I'm finally on my way. Unfortunately, the Captain
won't be joining us as he still recovering from a recent cold.
I'll miss having him on the trip, but the show must go on. As I'm
leaving my place to get to the ATM to grab some cash, I can't help but
think I've forgotten to pack something. I have to follow a
written check list next time so I don't have this sinking
feeling. $100 in the wallet and I'm off to Nu's place. It's
a regular work day so traffic is dense on the west bound 210. I'm
fortunate enough to be heading east so traffic is relatively
light. According to Russ, he saw me heading east on the 210, but
I didn't see him. I must have been preoccupied trying to get to
Nu's place and didn't check the opposing freeway traffic very
often. As I pull up to Nu's warehouse, his bike is parked outside
ready to leave this crazy city.
Unlike previous trips, both Nu and I managed to get some decent rest
before the trip. However, it doesn't hurt to have some coffee to
kick things off. A tribute to the Captain because he's not
here. We pull into a Starbucks in Glendora to fill our tank and
to wake ourselves up. Funny thing, as we park our bikes, a older
guy in an SUV pulled up and strikes a conversation. He's
definitely admiring the bikes and made several comments to the effect
that BMWs are the more reliable bikes and that we would have no
problems going on a long tour. Hm... if the Captain was here,
he'd be having a yelling match with the guy screaming something to the
effect that the final drive is flawed. Since he's not here, this
little conversation must be causing his ears to burn.
It's amazing the amount of respect I get when I walk around in the
Rally 2 Pro suit. One of the guys behind the Starbucks counter
said, "Here you go sir." when he handed me the blueberry muffin.
I don't normally get that level of verbal service when I'm in my plain
We finish our muffin and coffee and head out. The 210 Fwy is
light. There are cars but it's minimal. Regardless of the
fast flowing traffic, there are plenty of idiots on the road. For
some odd reason, people can't seem to be able to grasp the concept of
using the fast lane to pass. The keep passing on the left
side. Whatever. Cars that pass us on the 210 get dusted on
the 15 Fwy as we make the big climb towards Hisperia. As
expected, Hisperia, Victorville, and Adelanto are all slow moving areas
along the 395. We have monster trucks trying to race us, and we
have trucks towing camper trailers trying to do 70 MPH. Man they
must be burning fuel like there is no tomorrow. The two of us are
just hanging back and watching these people make a spectacle of
When we reach the Kramer junction (e.g. 395 and 58 Hwy), we've already
been in the saddle over 1 1/2 hour. So it's time for a
break. The usual place we go to around here is the Astro
Burger. They make some really good food. We have to stop
for a break and also for me to dial down my pre-load.
A gyro, friend zucchini, and two shakes. I wasn't planning on
having lunch yet, but it looks like we're going to have lunch
anyway. The original idea was to stop here for some shakes.
Yes! I'm reminded why I like stopping at the Astro Burger.
The food here is not only big portioned, it's also excellent! Of
course this also explains why this new species of bird is knocking on
our door step. Sorry dude. Not today.
New fowl species... the begging bird.
Diggin' into the gyro and fried zucchini.
While we're sitting here munching on food, and when I'm reseting my
pre-load, we can't help but notice a number of 1150GS and 12GS passing
us by. Those GSes are all over the freakin' place.
Can you see it? Balls and thighs. That's what Nu sees when
he looks at my bike.
Not done yet, but ... Hey! There's a 12GS.
It still hasn't hit me that I'm on vacation yet. We've been to
part of the world so often that it feels like we're here for another
off road session in my Subaru Forester. Nothing to get excited
Once I'm done with reseting the pre-load, it's time to keep
it wasn't for the fact that Nu and I are both connected via 2-way
radio, I would have been riding a good part of the trip with a loose
rope that could have caused me harm. As we pull back out on the
get a call from Nu, "You have a loose rope dangling on your
must have forgotten to tighten up one of the cooler ropes. I
immediately pulled over and fixed the problem. Yup, there it
tied it off, and we're back on the road.
Once we drive pass our normal turn off to head towards Fremont peak,
we're in new territory and the vacation feeling slowly sinks in.
Impatient driver passing over a double yellow only to be held up by
another car, a car doing a head on pass on a two lane Hwy trying to
pull over at the
last minute, and a big rig almost crossing the double yellow
threatening to take us both out. Such are the things we have to
with this day. Fortunately it's worse to read it then to have
lived through it. They were all nowhere near close calls.
If anything it's just an annoyance.
Wind? Yeah there are some, but it's nothing worth
mentioning. The heat, on the other hand, is definitely worth
mentioning. Through out the entire section of the 395 from
Ridgecrest all the way to Bishop, it's hot. The temps fluctuates
between 90F to 100F. Sure enough, when we get to our first gas
stop, we soak the Coolvest and feel immediate relief. However,
due to the high desert's hot bleached bone dry conditions, the vest
could only last around 25-30 minutes. Still, it is better to have
it on even for a short time rather than not having in on at all.
For the most part, people didn't bother us much on the 395. Most
of them are more curious than threatening. We have the occasional
crazy bus driver, but that's only expected. There are a lot of
bikers on the road. Most of them are either the monster tourers
(e.g. Goldwings), or they're Harleys. An occasional squid is
thrown in here and there for good measure. Suffice to say, we're
This is the first trip where I'm making really good travel time.
We're averaging between 90-100+ miles before we stop. As a
result, there are a lot of comments over the intercom such as "Oh my
butt is on fire..." or "...It's a conflagration". At one point
right before Bishop, Nu was hanging off the bike as if he's about to
make a high speed turn, but in reality he's still going straight.
Pretty silly if you as me. However, it does serve a purpose, it
eliminated saddle soreness (e.g. fire butt syndrome) one bun at a
time. Standing up for a short time helps too but it slows you
down too much.
"Hey!" is what he said. "Hey what?" "Hay on the side of the
road." What in the world are they doing with all this hay on the
side of the road? Maybe they're trying to build a cattle farm in
the Hwy center median. Actually, that would be a really bad idea
to smell the royal cowness all a long you travel. It would be a
good traffic deterrent. However, it's still a bad idea. No
really, it looks like some kind of a spill might have happened on the
395 between Big Pine and Bishop. They're probably performing some
type of Hwy cleanup.
Lone Pine, Big Pine, and Bishop. At long last, the second rest
for the trip. From her it's only another 30-40 miles to Mammoth
Lakes. What's amazing is it's only 3:30PM. This means we'll
be in Mammoth around 4:00-4:30PM. Plenty of time of find a food
place to eat. But first, I have to stop at the Meadow Farms
Country Smokehouse (e.g. beef jerky place). Another name for it
is Mahogany Smoked Meats for
those that are interested in getting some gourmet beef jerky from the
net. If you've never had Cowboy jerky before, you've got to try
some. It's one of my favorites. Unfortunately, old age has
caught up to me so I can no longer stomach the Jabanero jerky.
Back when I was still fresh and vibrant, I use to down that
stuff. Man is it good. It's so hot, you can almost start a
camp fire with that jerky (e.g. fire breath).
What more can you ask for? A Sobe Pina Colada and beef jerky.
My turn to stand and chew...
... and chew ... and chew ...
We fuel up for the last time before heading up to Mammoth Lakes.
The last thing to do is to make that climb on the 395 up towards
Crowley lake. This is going to be interesting. I've done
this climb in a car and it has a hard time. let's see how these
bike handle it. I'm sure it will be a snap.
Car after car pass us as we do a steady 70MPH. They're all in a
hurry to get somewhere. No matter, we'll just take our time and
beat the pants off of them on the climb. Sure enough, the climb
up to Mammoth Lakes starts. It's easily a 5 degrees grade.
The bike strains a tad, but if I were to twist the throttle a little
more, I know it will zip up the mountain at 90-100MPH. Nu's
hangin' in there pretty good too. It doesn't seem like he's
having any problems at all even on the 650GS. We were once in the
slow lane, in the valley below, but now we're in the fast lane.
Cars that passed us up are now pulling over to let us pass.
Keeping a steady 70MPH, we're passing trucks, car, campers, and RVs
like they're sitting still. It's as if we have our own road to
It's been too long since I've been to Mammoth. The last time I
went was for a mountain bike trip and that is easily 6 or 7 years
ago. I'm once more reminded how beautiful it is up here. As
we take the long sweeping curve pass Tom's Place and head towards
Crowley Lake, we are presented with a meadow of green to our left
side. Mammoth is unusually green this year. Not only that,
there are flowers everywhere. It's simply gorgeous. This is
the first time I've ever been to Mammoth on a motorcycle of I feel a
bit out of place. However, since I'm out in the open with the
rest of mother nature, the scenery is even more spectacular.
As we pass the Mammoth air field, I'm reminded again how windy it is on
this stretch of the 395. This must be an area where the wind is
channeled. Oh baby! I'm feeling the vibration on the handle
bars now. The good thing is, it's only about a 8-10 miles stretch
that I have to deal with this. Eventually we pull off of the 395
to get onto the 203. Yup, we're in Mammoth. The air is
clean, the sky is blue, the water is soft, and there are yuppies
everywhere. You got it baby! Mammoth has gone the way of
San Francisco. They even have a trolley, on rubbers, running
around town. I guess I'm use to the old Mammoth Lakes where
everything was simple. Oh well, those are the bye gone
days. Still, we're here and we're checked in to the Motel 6 at
about 5:30PM. Now it's a matter of off loading the bikes, go get
something to eat, and then hitting the sack to get ready for
tomorrow. BTW, being lactose intolerant and having drank that
Astro Burger milk shake really helped for the system to get acclimated
to 7000'. I never thought milk shakes could be so wondrous.
Mammoth-Yosemite - Trip planning
Mammoth-Yosemite - Day 2 (No
Captain? We're off roadin'! - Paradise lost.)
Mammoth-Yosemite - Day 3 (Mammoth to
Fresno with one tank?)
Mammoth-Yosemite - Day 4 (For once the
I5 is not so bad.)
Written on: August 30, 2008
Last modified: September 8, 2008