September 7, 2012

San Diego to Seattle - Day 10 - Returning

I knew three things about our ride leaving Murphys. The first was our destination, Lone Pine. I had no idea where Lone Pine was, nor had I ever been through this part of California. The second thing I knew was that we would go through Yosemite National Park. I've never been anywhere near Yosemite, so I had no idea what was ahead. Nor did I care. I didn't need to look at a map, because I assumed Highway knew where we were headed. Having heard of Yosemite, I had a few ideas about the park; beautiful, bears, Half Dome, trees. . . that's really about it. Third, I knew it was about 320 miles. At this point, that sounded excellent to me!

I was open. My mind, my heart, my expectations were all as open as the road.

The roads were pretty open and we jumped on Hwy 4 to Angel's Camp, then Hwy 49 to Hwy 120, near the Don Pedro Reservoir. The 120 is usually pretty crowded with cars, but going through right after school has started minimized the tourists significantly.
Iron Horse Saloon
We stopped in Groveland for lunch at Iron Door Saloon, the oldest saloon in California. Such a cool place, with dollar bills and mining implements hanging from the ceiling, stuffed coyotes, a huge bison head mounted on the wall and the best split pea soup I've ever had. It seems everything is better when I'm riding.

Another 20 miles and we reached the entrance to Yosemite. We pulled into the rest area for a quick photo, meeting fellow riders Jim and Barb at the stop. We talked bikes and rides and adventures like old friends. One of the beautiful things about the biking community is that most riders treat other riders like this. Old friends, kinsmen, in a way, as we all see the world through special bug-splattered glasses. The road is clogged with cars, but it is truly owned by the riders, who appreciate all that it has to offer.

Yosemite National Park
Saying our goodbyes, we rolled into Yosemite and I started Bear Patrol. I was so enthused about the chances of seeing a bear and being on a vehicle that would get me away from danger at the same time!

I announced to Highway that I would be on Bear Patrol and if I yelled "BEAR" he was to gun it. He simply laughed at me, finding my humor intoxicating. We giggled through the park making jokes about pranks we could play wearing a bear suit around these parts.

Reaching the stony area of the park, I began to see landscape I've never been privy to. So stark and beautiful, so cold, yet so intriguing one must gasp with awe. We found a turnout crowded with folks, all donning high-end SLR cameras with tripods, so we turned in.

Removing my helmet, the rush of cold wind blew past me and I felt on top of the world. Being nearly 10,000 feet in elevation, and being such a different terrain, this area of the park had a certain unearthly feeling.

Half Dome Yosemite Highway Sash
We saw Half Dome in the distance and a rush came over me instantly. Highway had brought me to another place that was on my "To See" list, this time without even knowing. I've shared with him some destinations I'd like to go to, but this is one I've kept inside. Yet, he seems to know my heart and take me all of the places I've ever dreamed of seeing. Traveling with Highway, I don't need to plan. I just need to sit back and enjoy, because the world is such an amazing place, one only needs to get out and see it.

As we rolled out of the park toward Mono Lake, I thought of all of the roads I still have to travel. As we started down the 395 to Lone Pine, I took in the sights of today's road, and dreamed of the many roads still to come for Highway and me.
Half Dome Yosemite
Yosemite National Park, Half Dome in the distance


  1. One of these days I have to get out that way before I croak. Yosemite is on my bucket list.


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