King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
August 23, 2012
It has been a while since I have been out on a Spyder adventure. It has been hot. That is my excuse. When I bought new-to-me Spyder #104 I made myself a promise that I would never go to the Southeast in July, never ride when it was too hot, and not go to any more whore houses.
But I had also promised my BMW riding Mario that I would go ride the nearby National Parks with him. So on a cool 70 degree morning we left Manteca and headed down hwy 99 with Mario leading the way. Now I avoid hwy 99 like a plague because half the people on this road or illegals and the other half don’t have driver’s licenses. None of them have insurance. I actually don’t know that any of that is true. I should say that half of them should be deported, the other half drive like they don’t have licenses and all of them need way more insurance. But we motored on down hwy 99 and defied death so it was not all that bad.
At Fresno we pulled off to get gas and to turn east towards the National Parks. We pulled into a multilane mega station. There were people begging for spare change there. They had apparently given up on the hope part of the equation and were just going for the change. But there has been progress. Each line of pumps had its own beggar-no waiting! Who says this country has not made progress in the last four years.
We did not like the looks of any of it so we decided to scrap the fuel idea and get something to eat. We stopped at a nearby fast food place and guess what-more beggars. Some of them were smoking things that I don’t want to think about too much. That Mario! He just takes me to the finest places. We actually had a good breakfast and got some fuel and then headed into the parks.
King’s Canyon Park’s centerpiece is the King’s river which apparently has cut this big canyon through it. It is not a well used park as it is overshadowed by its big brother Yosemite just to the north. But the scenery there is remarkable, the river is just awesome even at a low water level and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was nice and cool at a 7,000 foot elevation.
We then headed south to enter Sequoia NP. I don’t know if there is any where else where you have two national parks that are adjacent to each other. As its name implies it has a lot of Sequoia trees some of which are over a couple of thousand years old. The ride through here was slow and really pretty. We had to stop a couple of times for road construction but it was nice to have a little picnic on the side of the road and visit with our fellow travelers.
We left the park about 4:30 and Mario wanted to make it to Hanford to spend the night. Those of you who know Hanford are probably asking why. I am still asking why. If you made up a list of top 10,000 places to visit, I don’t think Hanford would be on it.
When we got to Hanford we went looking for gas. Our first stop had no electricity so we went to another station by the Hanford Mall. Station # 2 had no electricity either. The traffic lights all went to dark and traffic around the mall came to a standstill. We inched our way along trying to get back to the highway to get the heck out of there. All the things we wanted, gas, an air conditioned room and cold beer, all required what they did not have-electricity.
Did I mention it was 107 degrees? Yes folks, 107, sitting on a 75KW heater called a Spyder in stopped traffic. That will put the F. U. right back in FUN. Then to add to the excitement my motorbike’s temp went up to 7-bars.(it only has 8). I did not know it would run at that temp because it tries to save itself if it gets too hot. Maybe it realized there was no salvation in Hanford and it allowed me to inch it out of there.
We made it to Lemoore which had all the things we wanted. We got gas, a room and then cleaned up before heading to the bar that was next door to the motel. The place was swamped with people who were escaping from the chaos in Hanford. The bar in this place had 5 seats. Mario and I each took one and then had delightful visits with whoever else managed to snag one of the other seats. We also got some beer. And then some food. It was ten PM when we got done so we called it a night.
Hwy 198 and Hwy 25
August 24, 2012
We saddled up and got underway. Mario had this route he wanted to take me on that is one of his favorites. We started out on hwy 198 going west and were soon in undulating hills with lots of curves and very little traffic. We then turned north on hwy 25 heading to Hollister and this was even better. In 150 miles I don’t think we saw 20 cars. The riding was just perfect.
By the time we got to Hollister it was late morning and the temperature was 62 degrees. I was cold but dared not say anything after the previous evening. We stopped at Casa De Fruita for some late breakfast. When I walked out, there was another silver and black Spyder in the lot, so I went over and chatted with the owner. These Spyder things are becoming so commonplace that I am going to have to switch rides.
Back on the road we crested the coastal range back into the valley and the temp jumped up to 87 degrees in just a few miles. We got on I-5 north and did 80 plus MPH back into Manteca beating the worse of the heat. It was a good trip and I discovered some new favorite places to ride. Riding in the heat made me realize that there is a limit to what I want to do with this type of transportation. But fall is just around the corner. What could possibly go wrong with fall?
Ducky Makes a New Friend