Sequoia and King’s Canyon NP
June 8, 2012
I got a fairly early start on another warm and clear day. I headed south on Hwy 395 skirting the eastern side of the Sierras. The high desert early in the morning is quite an experience with the early sun lighting up the mountains. The landscape is dry and desolate on the eastern side of the mountains as it does not get much precipitation
I was making for the southern end of the mountain range where the elevations were low enough that I could get across. I turned West on hwy 178 towards Lake Isabella and the town of Kernville. I was climbing in altitude on a twisty deserted road which made for great fun in riding.
When I got to Kernville I stopped at the Cracked Egg Café for a much needed breakfast. Once I parked the three legged scooter there seemed to be a lot of people that wanted to talk about it. Then a guy parked next to me in a lime green Fiat 500 and we got to talking about that too. It seems there were a lot of people with a lot of time to talk in Kernville. Nice town. Nice people. And I got a really nice breakfast inside of me.
I headed out of town on highway 155 to Glenville and Porterville. Another great road with a ton of curves and no traffic. This hwy 155 is now on my list of ‘favorite roads’ which gets longer and longer every day.
I got on hwy 65 heading north when I noticed the oddest thing. The wheels of my bike looked like they were in a tan snow storm. It took me a second or two to figure out what was happening-I was driving through a flock/herd/swarm or whatever of locusts. Apparently they had decided to land on the roadway and as I drove through them they would fly up and the wheels and the front end of the bike would smash them. I smashed a lot of them. This went on for about ½ mile. When I stopped to look I found that the inside of my wheels were caked with dead locusts the radiator screen was almost completely shut off with the dead bodies. I cleaned the radiator screen and left a pile of small bodies on the road. The rest of the lower part of the bike was a mess but there was little I could do about that.
Note: When I got home my neighbor Nick, who steals from me, told me that the flock/herd/swarm of locust had made the news. I guess I am not the only one that found this odd.
I got on hwy 198 and entered into Sequoia NP using my $10 lifetime national park pass for the second time. I had never been to Sequoia NP as it is over shadowed by its large and popular cousin to the north-Yosemite. But I was so glad that I finally got to it. First it was pretty much deserted. Second, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour and the road is so twisted it is hard to even maintain that. The views are exceptional.
As is often the case there was a stoppage for road work. And as is so often the case I was the first guy to get stopped for what was a one half hour delay. So I sat on the side of the road and chatted with Richard who explained to me what they were doing to the roads. It was nice to get a break from all of the twisty roads.
Back in the saddle I entered Kings Canyon NP which is also another national park that seems to get few visitors because everyone is in Yosemite. Now that is three parks on one $10 lifetime pass. I felt like I was taking advantage of the government instead of the other way around.
After winding my way through most of Kings Canyon NP I headed back into the valley, losing altitude and picking up heat. I ended up in Visalia where I made the decision to hop on hwy 99 and head back to Casa Bob for the night. The bike was so dirty and I was so tired I wanted to get both of us cleaned up and rested.
After riding on some of the best roads in the US, I got on Hwy 99 which could very well be the worse road in the US. Along with its poor condition, it is a poorly designed highway with short on ramps that finds cars entering at a much lower speed than the moving traffic. And I was in the Friday afternoon rush hour and it was hot and I was tired. I did the only thing I could at this point and cranked up to 70 plus mph and traveled the 110 miles home in less than 1-1/2 hours. It would have been hair raising if I had any hair to raise. But I got home safely with both me and the bike breathing hard.
Yes it could be anyone but it is me.