Yosemite '09 - Day 2

(Can't see the below map?  Click here)

View Larger Map Total: 199 miles
Estimate time: 4:32 hours

[ 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 Yosemite.  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 call!

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 guys 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 like it's 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 traffic.  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 it's no 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 traffic 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 bike.  If 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 we're in.

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 all hungry.

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 front 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 days.

The happy, but tired look...

...followed by the hungry look.  Still texting, or at least attempting to.
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 completely miss the turn off.  In the end we simply headed straight for Yosemite 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 chore.  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 camp.

Written on: July 13, 2009
Last modified: August 17, 2009