Yosemite by Motorcycle

Last weekend, I went to Yosemite on my motorcycle with a crew of folks from SFSI. We had 5 people, all on our own bikes (no passengers) and all of our bikes were fairly similar, as well as our riding styles and speeds.

We started at Anton’s house in SF and headed out on I-80 toward Livermore. We followed Google Maps’ directions, which included “Old Priest Grade”, an amazingly cool, winding road that goes way up one side and way down the other. Here’s a video I found on YouTube of someone riding it. We then stayed at the Yosemite Riverside Inn, right at the Western gate to Yosemite Park.

The next morning we all woke up early and rode into Yosemite Park. Within a couple hundred feet of the entrance, we saw a bear in a field, but there were too many people parked by the side of the road for us to stop and take photos. We went on to a beautiful waterfall (here’s Phoenix doing his best impression of a bear, raaaar!):

We continued through Yosemite and up through Tioga Pass (the highest mountain pass in the Sierras), where there was snow on the ground (plowed to the sides of the road) and waterfalls gushing from the sides of the roads. We stopped at more amazing vistas…

And saw marmots!

And took our group photo:

We got through Yosemite and out the other side where we went to a little biker restaurant and bar to fuel ourselves up before the next 50 miles to a hot springs we had heard about named Travertine.

We got there and quickly decided that Paul’s and my bikes wouldn’t do so well on the rutted, unpaved road to the springs so I hopped on Phoenix’s bike and Paul hitched a ride in a car. The springs were perfect…3 pools: 104, 102, and 100 degrees. When we got there, some folks were looking at it but not going in and by the time we left there were about 4 other people in the pools. Check out the view from the tubs:

After soaking and general relaxing, we got back on the bikes to head back through Yosemite and to our hotel at the Western entrance to spend the night. On the way back through Yosemite, we saw another bear!! This time we stopped for a photo.

Needless to say, we all slept very well after yet another amazing day riding.

The next morning we got up a little later and headed to Carson City, Nevada by way of Cherry Lake Road through Stanislaus National Forest. Cherry Lake Road (and then Big Oak Flat Rd) was by far, the most amazing road I have ever seen. Perfectly paved with no center line, twisty and turny with big sections of curves that you could see all the way through and almost no other cars. It was like we had our own private race track.

Once we got to near the end, the road got old and crumbly with “tar snakes” running through it. We had to slow way down because a tar snake in the middle of a curve could easily knock you off the road. When we came out, we were in Groveland and stopped at a little park to relax. A few minutes later, a big group of riders came out and stopped in the park too. We all started chatting and they are from SF too and were doing an almost identical ride to us but theirs was Friday – Monday and ours was Thursday – Sunday! I, of course, marketed that we were from SFSI and gave them all postcards. ๐Ÿ™‚

Unfortunately, while they were waiting for their friends to come out, a car came over and said there was a motorcycle crash near the end of the road. They sent one of their folks out to look and they came back and said 2 of their riders crashed on the tar snakes. They were fine, but their bikes were too messed up to ride.

We finished our ride to Carson City with Sonora Pass (the 2nd highest pass in the Sierras at 9624 feet!) on Hwy 108. It was one of the scariest roads I’ve ever been on – absolutely no guard rails and a cliff on one side and a mountain on the other. And snow on the ground, so it was freezing cold. And waterfalls leaking out onto the roads. And cold mountain gusts to throw you off. FUN!

We got to Carson City by 7PM at which point I had to get horizontal for a while. We all rested a little and then went out to get food and drinks and absolutely NOT ride our motorcycles ๐Ÿ™‚

On our way out to dinner we ran into our motorcycling friends from SF!

That night, we slept really really well and headed out Sunday at about 10. We rode back through 50, stopped in the adorable town of Fair Oaks, CA for lunch. Apparently it’s well known for having free range chickens in the streets. We were visited by some very pretty roosters at the lunch place. We then finished the ride up on Hwy 160 which rides along the top of the dike above the Sacramento Delta. We raced motorboats and got giant white puffs like snow in our visors.

After Sacramento, it was all highways and then the Bay Bridge and then home.

Can’t wait to do it again!!

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