California Dreaming 2005

by Mick Ayriss

Monday 30th May

Up again at 6am, no, not for the toilet again, we had to be on the road by 8am, there was flooding and projected heavy traffic in the Yosemite National Park.

I think Irene was still feeling the effects of her cold, so more pills were required which we picked up quite easily, from the drug store with an early opening time, and just a quarter of a mile away.

Entrance payment is required, to the National Parks, and this one was to be no different. Once through the gates there is mile after mile of roads with great views either side, and before long we turned left towards Glacier Point, some 16 miles away with its 'Rock falls' and 'Icy roads' Warning Signs. From this high Vista Point we could see mountain after mountain and boy it was cold up there, especially when you stepped into a shaded spot. Riding down again we lunch stopped in front of the highest single piece of rock in the world called El Capitan and, I have to say, it doesn't look that big, as everything else is big all around it, but they tell me it takes you four days to climb the three, 593 feet and there's no public toilets for the climbers on the way up or down.

It was time to move on once again and over the Sonora Pass, the Snow line came at 7,200 ft and we kept climbing to the top at 9,625 ft.

Fuelling up we spoke to a group of Harley riders who came in with 400 miles under their belts, and still had a lot more to do before stopping for the night. They were not the only ones having a heavy day, as we had spent eleven hours, to this point, and still had another 70 miles to go.

Coming over the pass on the 108 followed by the 395 these roads took us down to the valley bottom. Red-winged blackbirds stood watching like sentries along the fence posts of the final mile into town, and the black and white cows? They never even looked up.

Arrival at the Best Western Ruby Inn Bridgeport was easy, just a right turn off the main street on the edge of town and into the Hotel Car Park. Reception gave Roger strict instructions on opening the door to our rooms, followed by bike cleaning instructions, and finally he reminded us of the Hotel 'no smoking rules'. Roger relayed this to us almost word for word whilst trying to keep a straight face, and if I remember it went something like this. 'Enter the key and pull door slightly towards you, turn key and if it fails start all over again, or the key may break in the lock'. Please clean your bikes with the cloths provided behind Reception and definitely no smoking. How I could have done with those door instructions in San Francisco!!

We had a fun night in the local restaurant just a short walk from our Hotel. I always say if you want good food go to a fish and chip shop, with a long queue, so when we walked in and found just Roger, Chris and Colin seated my 'good food indicator' lights started flashing 'danger', but what a great night we had. Being almost empty the waiter, whose mum was English (so I forgave him) had plenty of time to spend with us and he spent most of it taking the Mickey out of each of our accents in turn and was great fun really. Food wasn't bad at all but then again can you get spag. bol. wrong? Colin ordered a T-bone which looked good to me, "How would you like it Sir?" "Rip its horns off, wipe its arse, and slap it on the plate please", as I say a fun evening. Total mileage to date was 1389 and Monday was over for us at about 9pm.

Tuesday 31st May - Bridgeport to Lake Tahoe