Monday, June 20, 2011

Out of Yosemite, Into the Heat and...a Little Yogi!

I was on the road by 7:30 this morning. My plan was to get a far as I could then find a place to camp. I was having to detour around Tioga Pass. The road over the pass is open, but none of the campgrounds along the way are. They are all still under snow. Since I don't have a "4 season" tent, I must go around and over Sonora Pass.

As I was riding out of Yosemite along Northshore Dr., I saw a bunch of people taking photos along the side of the road. I stopped and saw that there was a bear in the woods. I, of course, took a few photos myself! Finally, I saw a bear! There had been so much talk about all the bears, but I had yet to see one! Woo Hoo, check "bear" off the list!

As I started the climb out of the valley, I had to go through three tunnels. These were, unfortunately, all uphill! I put on my rear flashers and was thankful for the generator headlight. I made it through all the tunnels with no problems.

I had a 10.4 mile climb to where the road flattened out a bit and I reached the turn to start my detour. I stopped at the gas station and had some orange juice and an Almond Snickers (there was no Gatorade or regular Snickers). As I turned onto 120 West, I had long downhills interspersed with medium uphills. In very little time I had doubled the miles I had done climbing.

After going through the Stanislaw National Forest, I came into a town called Groveland. When I was looking at the map (just a CA State map), I thought maybe I would stay in Groveland. But, I was making good time, so I kept going. After Groveland was a 5 mile, very steep and winding road down to the Toulomne River. As I came down I could feel the heat ramp up several degrees. Of course, what goes down, must go up and I was soon climbing the searing heat...with very little shade. I was sweating like mad and drinking water as fast as it was pouring out of me (Oh yeah, I had stopped in Buck Meadow for some lunch at a 50's style diner. The waitress had filled all my water bottles with ice and water!). When I finally reached Chinese Camp (strange names for towns), I stopped at a tavern/market and had a 32 oz. bottle of Gatorade and TWO Snickers bars! I also bought an additional bottle of water and filled my water bottles again.

By this time I had gone about 67 miles. I inquired about possible campgrounds between Chinese Camp and the town of Sonora. There weren't any. I headed down the road and when I got to the town of Jamestown, I decided to find a hotel. I was at 73 miles and I was done, tired, ready to call it a day (it was about 5:30). I found this place called The Carriage Inn. It is a old- fashioned hotel with the shower and bathroom down the hall. I have a sink and a queen-size bed in my room. There is just enough room for Stella on the side of the bed. There is Wi-Fi here (although somewhat sporadic) and this town even has a Subway (which I had for dinner)!

Tomorrow, I will head for Sonora Pass. I will just have to see how far I get. I'm at about 1700 ft. elevation here and Sonora is at 9600 ft. Ummmm...that's a lot of climbing!

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