June 7, 2012
So after my last wet and cold trip north on the top of the Sierras, I decided to do it again but head south this time. It turned out to be a good choice. But to go south I first have to go east and the thing that stands in the way is Yosemite National Park. I had not been all the way through the park for years because the 10,000 foot Tioga pass is often closed because of snow. Since the road through Yosemite is not a main thoroughfare, not a lot of importance is placed on keeping this particular pass open.
So off I went on my three legged pony, east on hwy 120. It was a 70 degree day with not a cloud in the sky, just the way we like it here in California. As I made my way up the mountains into Yosemite, the scenery just got more beautiful and the roads got twistier. After a couple of hours I reached the entrance to Yosemite and got what is perhaps the best deal left in America. If one is over 62 years old, sadly I am, one may purchase a lifetime pass to ALL the national parks that is good for life. Ten Bucks! I think I spent more than $10 to mail in my last tax return. What a deal.
This view is worth $10 don’t ya think?
Once into the park I was once again impressed that Yosemite may be the most beautiful place on the face of the earth. I have been a lot of places and I have found none that are nicer. I wandered around on the valley floor for a while taking in the vistas of the rivers and the waterfalls. Then I headed up to Tuolumne Meadows which pretty much sits on the top of the world. It had been years sine I had been up to this part and the big view full of giant monoliths was pretty amazing.
I came out of the Eastern side of Yosemite and had lunch at the Mobil restaurant. Well I had a bag of trail mix and a coke while talking to other bikers in the parking lot. They were all doing pretty much the same thing I was doing –riding back and forth across the top of the Sierras.
Once I joined Hwy 395 south I started losing altitude and things began to warm up a bit. I took a detour through Mammoth Mountain ski resorts and was impressed with this ski resort that is pretty isolated on the eastern side of the Sierras. There seemed to be a lot of activity and one of the trams was running up to the top of the mountains and a lot of mountain biking going on.
I headed further south on Hwy 395 and things got warmer and the towns got further apart. And they got a lot smaller. The day’s travels were beginning to take a toll on me and I was pretty much ready to stop any where. I ended up in Lone Pine at The Portal motel. I have stayed in many a motel in my travels but this is one for the books. I am parked about 34 inches from the door to my room. The guy at the desk speaks English but just barely. He has WiFI but he does not know the security code. But the room is cool and I have beer I bought at the local gas station so I am all set. Life is good in Lone Pine.
We like to be close at night but it won’t fit through the door
I settled in and then walked around town. That did not take very long. There was a saloon that had an active card game going on inside. I opted for the Seasons restaurant which did not look like much but the food was really good. I thought that was a bit odd to have such a nice place in such a small town. I found out that Lone Pine is/was where a lot of western movies and TV shows get made so there have been some pretty big names that have stayed in this town over the years. I guess they like to eat well. I know I do.