Mammoth-Yosemite - Day 3
Mammoth to Fresno with one tank?
(Long time no see...)
Total miles: 252
Estimated travel time: 5:24 hours
[ Sunday - August
24, 2008 ]
It came fast, and it's leaving just as quick. Our
time in Mammoth is too short. We have to make a concerted effort
prolong our stay in Mammoth next year. Yesterday was a really
good day. I hope today will be the same. The plan today is
to pack up, check out of the motel, fuel up, go get breakfast, and bid
Mammoth Lakes farewell in exchange for Fresno. Somewhere in
between all these things, we're going to stop at the Schat's Bakery
again and get some more pastry for food on the road.
The day, once again, starts with us checking the bikes over to make
sure everything is OK. Once again Nu checks the oil level and so
do I. Will you look at that. Not a drop of oil burnt.
Well, at least not enough for me to notice the difference.
Nonetheless, because I've taken the 12R off road, and I'm going to
oil anyway I might as well use up some of Nu's oil. Remembering
what my friends at the Brown BMW in
Pomona said, "It's better to have oil rather than no oil at all.", in
goes the 10W40 SG oil to be mixed up with the 15W50 SH oil.
Yeah! Fun! It's not the best but at least I don't have to
worry about oil levels for the rest of the trip.
The panniers go back on and everything is loaded back up. We
check out of the motel and head over to Schat's once more.
It's not so crowded today. Perhaps everybody is busy getting out
Dodge and heading back to LA and/or SF. Today we grab 4 cinnamon
the trip to Fresno. Next we fuel up and head over to the Rite-Aid
additional water and beverages for today's ride. The Good Life
restaurant. I haven't been here in at least 7 years. Oh you
should have seen the
received as we pulled up to the restaurant. It's like they've
seen motorcyclist before.
Man! I forgot how big the breakfast portions are at The Good Life.
We got in and are seated on the patio with little wait. Nu had
the gigantic French toast plate, and I had the eggs and pancakes.
When we received our dishes it was, "WOW! I forgot how big the
plates are here." Nu managed to finish two of the four French
toast. I finished the eggs, a little hash brown, and one of the
three pancakes. We probably could have ordered one plate, fed
both of us, and hand the plate over to someone else to finish. As
for the quality of the food? It's excellent as
usual. Substance abuse? But of course. What would we
do if Columbia, Hawaii, and other bitter product producing nations
aren't able to make coffee any more? We would probably fall
asleep half way through our ride. Or we would have to reduce our
distance and resort to bar hopping only.
We pay our dues and leave Mammoth Lakes until next year.
The life saving green cooler. It's so packed that it's going to
explode any minute
Here we go, Hwy 120 Tioga Pass. This is pretty cool. Within
30+ miles of Mammoth, the terrain changes. Simply breath taking
Delerium - A Poem for Byzantium
After 10 miles, we're at the east Yosemite National Park gate.
I'm out of cash from last night's Domino's Pizza ordeal, and the park
doesn't do plastic so Nu has to do the deed.
Nu's coming back from
paying the entrance fees at the gate.
As expected, Yosemite is crowded. There is forever traffic
here. Speeds are at best 50 MPH, but those zone are hard to
find. Populated areas slow everything down to 25 MPH.
When I originally plotted to go from Mammoth to Fresno, the nav system
had me going around Yosemite. It know it is slow going through
Yosemite. However, going through Yosemite is not for the sake of
speed. It is for the sake of beauty.
Something interesting is happening to me as we ride through the
park. My fuel range estimate keeps on climbing. Oh the
reasons why I love the R12R. What was originally estimated to be
miles left, after 50 miles have been covered, is slowly climbing to
295+ miles range.
From past experiences the fuel range can reach staggering
numbers. Let's see what we end up with
at the end of today. Nu is in extreme astonishment when I radio
him about the climbing fuel range. What he doesn't realize yet is
that his 650gs is doing even better than my R12R.
are everywhere. Traffic is also dense
and intense. Do you see any picture of Nu and I in the middle of
road? Nope. It's not possible here.
Nu's trying to cope with hot spots on the ears.
... not done yet.
You can kind of spot where Yosemite Valley would be in the distance.
Once again I skip a section of road because the Captain is not with
us (e.g the ridge route that would take us down to Yosemite
Valley). It would be another spectacular view, but Nu and I have
it plenty of times. Perhaps next year. Then again maybe I
should have taken the route. It would
have prevent me from driving behind an idiot driver that just jumping
out in front of me and slowed us down. For some
reason, the people around here can't seem to understand their
mortality. Oh well, karma will catch up to them one of these days
and it won't be pretty.
Finally we're at the west gate. These rangers
are pretty thorough in their job. They require me to show our
receipt before we are allowed to exit. If we don't have a
receipt, we have to pay again. I understand the reasoning so out
comes our receipt. Once we pass through the gate, we
pull over for a short break, and to chew on a Mammoth cinnamon roll.
At last, we're on the west end of Yosemite.
Bright beautiful day.
They sure stack up really fast. At $20 per vehicle, Yosemite is
making some good money.
While we're sitting here taking a breather, a guy on a R1150GSA drives
up to the west gate, then makes a U-turn and come over
in our direction. We say "Hi" and he asks us how long it would
take to get to Yosemite Valley. I estimated it would take about
20 minutes, but the amount of traffic we're seeing today will easily
push that to about 30-40 minutes. With that he thanks us and
reverse is course. We linger for about another 10-15 minutes and
then depart the west gate.
I was hoping for minimal traffic on our way out of Yosemite, but such
hopes can't be accommodated. There is one 4Runner ahead of us and
the driver doesn't seem to understand the concept of a turnoff.
Such is the way here. People are self absorbed and don't seem to
mind holding everybody else back. This is especially the case
posted speed limits are 55 MPH and the driver can at best manage 40-45
MPH in the turns. Eventually we had to do things the hard way
(e.g. passing using the opposing traffic's lane, when legal).
Once clear, he held up all the traffic that was behind us, and we're in
the wide open expanse.
For some reason, heading west on the 120 seems a lot shorted than when
I rode this section in 2006. Next thing I knew we're at the Old
Priest Grade turn off. Here too, I was hoping to have the road
all to myself, but there's a mini-van ahead of us. Eventually the
driver was nice enough to let us pass. However, it has more to do
with the van not being able to accommodate the motorcycle
speeds/agility than me trying to pressure them.
This is the first time I'm riding Old Priest Grade and I'm
scared. The slope is so steep that the highest gear I can go in
is 3rd. Anything higher than that and I will go flying off of a
cliff. For that reason, the speed limit is set to 25 MPH. I
can see why. The engine is screaming from all of the engine
breaking, and the breaks are applied the majority of the time.
Every time I clutch to down shift, the bike would lurch forward and
speed. If I had known how steep this grade is, I wouldn't have
attempted it. I guess there's a first for everything. It's
an experience. The one thing I have to say about
taking this route, it gets you down to the bottom really fast.
Once we got to the 49, we pull over for a soaking of the
Coolvest. The bike is showing 98F down here.
"Hey! Long time no see!" The R1150GSA that pulled up to us
time information to Yosemite Valley magically appeared behind us.
did that happen? Once again he stopped next to us. We all
acknowledge the comedic value of this scene. We
more friendly words and he takes off for his destination.
We both smell like we've been pickled. Apparently the lunch that
we packed for yesterday's ride tossed a pickle (e.g. it fell out of the
bag and went into the cooler) and cause the cooler to have residual
pickle essence. Today's accumulated ice water released the pickle
essence. Soaking our Coolvest in this icy water makes the
really nice and cool, but also makes us both smell like pickles.
Now that's an interesting aroma. I guess I now know how I smell
if I am pickled.
The 49 Hwy is hot, and it keeps on getting hotter and hotter. The
between 94-99F. At 60 MPH, the Coolvests doesn't last any longer
than 20 minutes. Again we encounter cars that don't understand
their mortality. There is a VW bus in front of us that refuses to
pull off. Instead he puts himself in several dangerous turns by
cutting corners with two wheels going off the road. He repeats
this several times until I backed off from fear of him causing all of
us to crash. I'm sure he was delighted when we pulled off the
road before heading into the mouth of the Little Dragon. It could
also be the tail depending on your perspective.
WOW! This is bad. There use to be a lake here two years
ago. Now it's just a little stream. We're really sucking
down the water. I wonder if this will ever be a lake again.
Into the mouth of the Little Dragon.
Once we got back on the road, I can't help but notice a sports car
tailing Nu. He's close, but not tailgating. He tries to
keep up with us but we eventually ditched him. On the other hand,
every time I go to take a corner, Nu is up my tail pipe. I
separate from him once there is a straight, but the minute a turn comes
up, he on my arshe again. He's definitely getting the hang of
this leaning bit. Right about the time when the Little Dragon is
at an end, we run up behind a car. I'm not pressuring the car but
the driver knows he can't keep up with us. It was considerate
enough to pull off. Instead of waving with my clutch hand, I
waved with my throttle hand. That also means I'm slowing down
quite a bit. Poor Nu hadn't anticipated this and nearly ran into
me. Lucky for him and for me he has ABS. He eventually got
on the 2-way and asked me what happened. I said I waved at the
driver because he was nice enough to let us pass. I'll remember
not to wave with my throttle hand in the future. It was another
fun little ride, and it too ends so quickly. Hey, there's that
sports car again. He was just having fun trying to hang with
us. Eventually he turned off and we keep on going.
As we near Mariposa, we have already traveled 165 miles. My bike
claims that we have a range of 190 miles left. The question
becomes... do I trust my bike computer's fuel range estimate?
Yes? No? Yes! I do. The way BMW does the fuel
estimates are extremely remarkable. It's been very
accurate. I'll give it an error of about +- 5 miles. Even
so, it's hasn't failed me yet. I have come to rely quite heavily
on the fuel estimate. Regardless, Nu is concerned that he's
burning more fuel than me. I don't think so, but he request that
we stop and fuel up anyway. Semi reluctantly, I pull into a
Texaco in Mariposa. My guess is, I'll put in at best 3
gallons. 2.3 gallons was my real number. As for Nu, he put
in a whopping 1.7 gallons. Do the math... that means he is easily
doing 97 miles to the gallon. I'm not too bad myself. That
puts my mileage at approximately 71 miles to the gallon. Not too
for a 1200cc motorcycle. If we had skipped this fueling session,
we would still make it to Fresno with fuel to spare. Fresno is
only about another 70 miles away. Astonished with the mileage
estimates my bike is capable of, Nu no longer questions the R12R's fuel
You're better than you think...
Checking in with the girlfriend.
Once again, we recharge the Coolvest. The temperature is still
lingering between 96F and 98.6F. That's hot. Of course we
feel immediate relief once we put the vest on. Now let's finish
off that remaining 70 or so miles. Easier said than done.
As we reach the outskirts of Oakhurst, a mountain driver nearly takes
the car behind Nu out. These mountain people are crazy. If
Nu was there, she might have taken him out. We have to stay
alert. We make it to Oakhurst and transition to the 41 Hwy.
Traffic is decent in the beginning but then quickly backs up.
There's no use in fighting it so we take it easy until a passing lane
appear. Hot! Hot! Hot! The temperature doesn't
let up at all. In fact, as we got out of the mountains, it gets
hotter. At one section of the 41 the bike shows 104F.
Wow! That's the hottest I've ever been on a bike. Before
this 102 was the tops (e.g. Lake Mead). Then again it's
Fresno. The land where 114-120F is not unusual during
summer. The bike might be air cooled, but baby is not
overheating. The temperature gauge shows it's running a bit warm
but it's not going to go by way of Chernobyl.
Finally, Fresno. The temperature goes back down into the mid 90s
and the sun is starting to go down. We remain on the the 41
freeway as long as we can stand it, which is not for long. We
take the Friant/Blackstone exit and head towards Herndon Ave. The
old homestead has changed quite a bit since we've been here last.
What makes it even more odd is the fact we're here on
motorcycles. Riding motorcycles in Fresno is an impossibility
when we were younger because the parents wouldn't hear any of
that. Of course maturity can change things quite a bit. I'm
struck by the change of this city. The north end of town is now
fully developed and we don't recognize it at all. At one point I
had to look at the GPS to make sure we're going in the right
direction. How embarrassing. Eventually we turn south on
Palm. Slowly, this place looks more and more familiar.
Still, it's an odd sensation to ride through here. I know where
I'm suppose to go but I almost don't recognize the scenery.
Eventually we reach the parent's place and stop for the day. Wow,
we made pretty good time. It's about 5:30pm. Nobody is home
so we lingered in the front yard until pop got home and opened the door
He had anticipated 3 of us, but we are only two in number. The
Captain had requested the pork ribs below, but unfortunately he
couldn't make it this time to enjoy it. That's alright
Captain. There's always next year. What more can I say,
this meal really hits the spot. We couldn't finish it all so
we're taking it home with us tomorrow. Now we lounge around a bit
while I uploaded images to the forum because I finally have wireless
connectivity. What a fitting end for a good day's ride.
Mammoth-Yosemite - Trip planning
Pork ribs! Yum!
Mammoth-Yosemite - Day 1 (Balls and
Mammoth-Yosemite - Day 2 (No
Captain? We're off roadin'! - Paradise lost.)
Mammoth-Yosemite - Day 4 (For once the
I5 is not so bad.)
Written on: September 11,
Last modified: September 15, 2008