Half Way Around

Half Way Around

Friday, September 21, 2007

Shivering Down Sierra Nevada to a Golden End

Wednesday, September-19

I've also heard a lot of good things about Yosemite National Park, in the Sierra Nevada mountain range - pronounced with four syllables: Yo·seh·mi·tee - Certainly the 32-mile [51½ km] ride from nearby Mariposa (stopover town) to the Park's entrance was spectacular in itself.

With the entrance fee at USD $20, I'm again glad to show my Annual Pass to the Ranger and get into the park for free .. :o)

I look at the weather forecasts, for the ensuing two days, with some apprehension.

Riding through Arch Rock Entrance, and then along Portal Road, is an absolute delight. Onwards until we spot a sign indicating ...

.. 'Bridelveil Fall'. Gotta take a look. And walk the short distance, through the woods, of 1,000 ft [305 m] to ...

.. the spectacle, which is in a delicate free-fall. Not too much water flowing over the 620-foot drop [190 m] at the moment, which is not surprising, considering that we're virtually at the end of a very dry summer

'El Capitan' - the largest granite monolith in the world.

Towards lunchtime and we head towards the Visitors Centre for a bite. There's a lot of smoke around, which we later find out ...

.. is a controlled, or "prescribed burn". Apparently, staffers here at the Park routinely burn parcels of the forest deliberately - in part to reduce the risk of uncontrollable future fires, and in part to encourage a more natural mix of forest vegetations.

But right here, around this vicinity, is not a good place to eat egg sandwiches .. believe me!

Gotta move on. So the decision is made to ride over the Tioga Pass towards the eastern entrance of the Park. Here's the view as we make the climb up to Hwy 120, which will take us over the near 10,000-feet [3,000 m] high Pass.

As I discover, it can get bloody cold at these heights this time of year.

With most of our luggage back at the Mariposa-based motel, I nevertheless pull-on and wear every layer of clothing available to me.

6ºC [42ºF]. Certainly this is THE coldest temperature that I've experienced over the last three months.

By 5.00pm the sun is starting to sink lower in the south-western sky. The decision is made to get back to the motel ASAP. This involves a second trip - westwards - back over the Tioga Pass. Brrrrrrr! I now wish I had retained my warmer Rev'it jacket, and sent the cooler JoeRocket mesh one back home!

Maybe we'll come back to the Park again tomorrow. But the weather forecast is not good .. :o(

Thursday, September-20

With today's weather looking decidedly 'dodgy', especially towards the north (Yosemite NP region), we decide to head back to the coast a day early. San Francisco here we come!

I guess we didn't see Yosemite NP at its glorious best. So here's a DVD 'postcard' that we bought yesterday at the Visitors Centre, which will be a reminder of what 'could have been' - if only we had arrived at the Park a couple of days earlier ...
Ho-hum? .. C'est la vie!
(NB: The commercial producers of this video have reserved all rights)

The 200-mile [322 km] journey westwards to San Francisco - the final destination - is ridden-out in weather that just keeps on getting better and better. Glad now that I retained my cooler JoeRocket mesh jacket, and sent the warmer Rev'it one back home .. :o)

Three and a half hours after leaving our base in the Sierras, we're riding up ...

.. and over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge towards the northern shore of San Francisco

Fifteen minutes later and something really special comes into view ...

.. I was here 5½ months ago, at this very place, the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

The last few miles.

SUMMARY: Back in early April my post-operative left wrist and fore arm was heavily bandaged and living within a New Zealand plaster-cast & hung in a Kiwi-gifted sling. My left collarbone was broken in three places; my LH-side rib cage cracked badly; one rib and a few fingers were completely broken. I was in some considerable discomfort back then, coupled with more than a little pain.

BUT, WHAT a difference today! .. :o)

Since that desperate, 2-day fleeting visit to this Pacific-based city during the early Springtime, I made just sufficient enough recovery over the following two months to allow me to ride my trusty Silver-Pan-Machine, with just under 13,000 miles on the clock at that time, up from North Cornwall - accompanied by my good mate, North Vancouver-based Stan, on his UK Suzuki GSX 1400 - to Southampton docks on the south coast of England.

Ten days later we (the Pan & I) both arrive in Nova Scotia, on the Atlantic seaboard of Canada.

Thereafter my dependable silver travelling companion has carried me, and my luggage - plus Ellen with hers from time-to-time - 14,000 miles [22,500 km] across this great continent of North America to a familiar spot - The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. And I can tell y'all, I have a real smile on my face .. :o)

So there, we did it - after all!


.. to be continued