Marathon Riding

Total miles: 324 miles
Estimated travel: 5:15 hours

[Friday - August 21, 2009 ]

At long last, it's all setup and ready to roll.  Baby's a little heavy on the rear side, but once I'm moving, I really don't notice the weight much.  The acceleration is a bit held back but what do you expect with so much stuff pilled on top.

I get out of Dodge and have to come right back.  I forgot my Camelbak, but I thought it is important enough to make Nu wait another couple of minutes as I run back into the house.  We're starting off a little late this morning.  When we finished the breakfast at Denny's, it's 10:00am.  That's alright, as with last year, we should be able to plow through the miles.

It's a Friday people!  Take it easy.  You don't have to run us over as you're rushing to work.  Wait a minute... are you really in that much of a hurry to get to work?  Despite the desires of a small set of people to turn us into peanut butter, most cars and trucks are leaving us alone.  Most people simply signal and move on by when they get a glimpse of our load.  Some folks can't help but slow down just a tad to have another gander before they speed on by.

I don't think it's just me as Nu makes the same comments.  You tend to think that traveling at 60 MPH that it would take a long time to get anywhere.  On the contrary, it seems like we arrive at our destinations and way points much faster than expected.  Is it because we're less buffeted?  Is it because we're relaxing and not paying attention second by second as to where we're going?  I don't know, but the ride is pleasant, enjoyable, and moving right along.  From Azusa to Kramer junction, there is no stopping in between.  That's a good 96 miles.  The only reason why we stop is so we can fill up with the Astro Burger shakes and grab a little something to eat.  I order their yummy Gyro and Nu had a chili no cheese dog.  Without describing more than what is necessary, it appears that drink milk shakes helps us with acclimating to Mammoth's high altitude.  As a result, we make it a tradition to stop at the Astro Burger every time we head to Mammoth Lakes.

Our favorite food stop at Kramer junction.
Family owned and has been around for at least 20 years.

Once again we're off.  Man it's hot.  Again we're riding in desert temperatures.  The bike is showing temps up to 107F.  The lowest we get is 102F.  It's a hair drier folks.  Johannesburg, and Ridgecrest passes on by.  Our next stop is Pearsonville to fuel up the bikes and to activate the cool vests.  Most likely the temps aren't going to drop any lower until we reach the high altitudes of Mammoth Lakes.  158 miles and 2.6 gallons.  Nu only puts in 2.3 gallons.  That equates to 60 MPG for the 8GS, and 69 MPG for Nu's 650GS.  Insane.  I can't complain.  It makes for a really cheap trip in terms of fuel.

Once more we're off.  This time around the 104F temps doesn't seem to be so bad.  In fact, it's a little on the cold side.  The cool vest is doing too good of a job cooling me off.  I actually started worrying about hypothermia, but the coldness reduces the further we go.

All in one shot from Pearsonville: Olancha, Lone Pine, Independence, Big Pine, Bishop.  Not bad, 116 miles in one sitting.  Of course we have to stop at Bishop for some beef jerky.  If it hadn't been of Mahogany Smokes Meats, we would have kept going.  A woman got out of a van and asked us, "Where are you guys going?"  We passed them or they passed us.  I don't which is it, but what ultimately came out of all this is, "I can see all that stuff you have strapped to your bikes."  We informed her that our ultimate destination is Mammoth and Mono lake.

No more cowboy jerky?!  What?  No way!  You got it folks, our wonderful FDA has mandated that all jerky meats are to be smoked at a much much longer duration.  As a result the clerk at MSM told me that they don't produce cowboy jerky any more.  If they did, the jerky would be better used to break rocks instead of being eaten.  Oh man!  Why can't things be left alone.  Why should the big government get involved and ruin our beef jerky?  That's messed up.  Can't a man have his beef jerky in peace?  Oh well, spicy beef jerky and teriyaki jerky it is.  Good news?  The habanero jerky is still there.  Bad news?  My body no longer accept chili acids.  Arg!  What has this world come to.  I can't even eat habanero jerky without my own body rejecting me.  Ugh.  Mild jerky it is.  Such is the price to pay for age/wisdom.

Once again illegally parked at Mahogany Smoked Meats.
Funny thing is everybody else followed suit.

Up towards Mammoth Lakes we go.  I only hope it's cooler than down here.  If it's 101 at Bishop, perhaps it's in the mid to high 80's in Mammoth.

What a wind.  We're being knocked back a forth like rag dolls.  Fortunately, we're weighed down enough that it's still manageable.  An RV passes us.  We'll see him soon enough up the grade to Mammoth.  Most cars can't manage anything more than 55-60 up this stretch.  There he is and there he goes.  What's this?  It looks like the 395 is being repaved.  I don't remember this stretch of the Hwy being that bad off, but I guess the state thinks it's due.  Unfortunately this also means the road is narrowed down to two lanes.   We get stuck behind a big rig hauling cars, but it all clears up soon enough.

It's starting to get dark.  The mountains are cause a premature sunset.  Where are we going to stay for the night?  We tried the campsite near Inyo Crater, but it's already occupied by a big RV.  Oh well, there are two other choices.  We can go to Lake Mary or head towards the Mammoth Resort.  I don't care much for the resort so we try our luck at Lake Mary.  As we near the lake, a bear cub dashes across the street.  I guess I can't say that I don't see wild animals in Mammoth any more.  This is a first more me after so many years visiting Mammoth.  If there is a bear cub running around, that means the mother is not too far behind.  Thank god I have a motorcycle and can out run an adult bear (e.g. bears are known to be able to sprint at 33 MPH).  This is all the signs that we should be really careful with our food.  Regardless of whether the food is vacuum sealed or otherwise, it needs to be locked up.  Unfortunately, I don't have a bear proof container.  I question the validity of using our panniers as bear proof containers.  I know the panniers are air tight but I don't think it can withstand the forces of a bear.  We ride around a bit and find the camping area entrance.  Luck for us there is an open spot.  After polling the campers that are already here, we find the right person to pay the camping fees.  $21 later spot 47 is ours for the night.  This site is a pretty nice facility.  This is my first time camping at Mammoth.  Most of the times we stay at a hotel or a condo in town.  As expected the campsite manager tells us to put all of our food into the food locker.  Good there are lockers at the campsites.  We don't have to supply our own.  All trash have to be dispensed of in the bear proof dumpster.  No trash should go into the food locker.  The good news is the bears are interested in the food only.  They don't care much for us.  I was advised to also put away toothpaste and lotion.  Especially the lotion that have fruit smells.  I don't have lotion that smells like fruit.  For that fact, I don't have lotion period.  For the sake of our safety, we locked up everything that we think the bears might be interested in.

By about 10:00pm, we've finished with the tents and are finishing up the last bit of lasagna.  Pretty good for rehydrated camp food.  It's been a while since I've had this stuff and I'm reminded how good camp food can taste.  It's actually better than MREs.  It's sad but good at the same time.  I'm able to get cell phone signal at this campsite and report home.  All is well and we're ready crash for the night.

Day 2 - Gasoline and Pumice (Respect the Pumice!  Respect it!)
Day 3 - All that is needed to get back home.

Written on: August 24, 2009
Last modified: August 25, 2009