blogging kp!

some of my travels with random musings & silliness mixed in

Pappy and Harriets, Pioneertown, CA October 26, 2009

So this past weekend, my favorite band ~ The Farmers ~ were playing in Pioneertown, CA.

I called some friends of mine and we rode out ther for the gig. The band played at Pappy & Harriet’s … which … quite frankly is one of the coolest bars I have had the pleasure of hanging out in!

Pappy’s is indoor/outdoor, bike, horse, car and whatever else brung ya friendly. The staff are super fun and the drinks strong. I highly suggest a visit if you are out there.

THE FOOD IS INSANE!

There is a hotel 500 yards from the bar… it is reportedly haunted… my friend got a picture! She stayed in room 3… or you can stay a few miles down the road at Rimrock Ranch … see my previous posts.

You can park your RV for the night.

You can even rent a corral for your horses for the duration of the your stay.  A late nite or early morning ride would be awesome!

 

 

 

Some Links:

Pappy & Harriets:  http://www.pappyandharriets.com/index2.html

Pioneertown Inn:  http://www.pitowninn.com/

Rimrock Ranch:  http://www.rimrockranchcabins.com/

 

Lee Vining, Mono Lake & HAULIN ASS May 25, 2009

  

Despite the cold, I got down Tioga Pass. Part of me wishes I had come down in a car. I really wanted to look around and take it all in but being on the bike I couldn’t. The drop off was long and steep and there was no guardrail.

WOW! Check out the cloud!

WOW! Check out the cloud!

I pulled over once I got into town so I could Google map my hotel, the Lake View Lodge & Cabins. A weird thing happened, Google maps told me to ride 15 miles north and make a u-turn back four miles. This struck me as odd. Why not just go 11 miles and turn left?? So, as I was standing there perplexed and looking around, I saw a sign for the Lake View Lodge… guess what??? It was right across the street!!

Technology is great but it is certainly not foolproof! Good thing I keep maps or guidebooks with me.

Needless to say I crossed the street and checked in. The Lake View is a cool place. It is part hotel, part RV park and it has cottages & cabins to rent. I checked into a cabin. It was super nice! A few steps above a KOA cabin in that There was a kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker and a few burners. There was a small flatscreen tv with satellite, a nice bathroom and a front porch. I cranked the wall heater cause I still had a chill from my ride.

After unpacking the bike and a quick wash up, I headed out for dinner.

Mono Market

Mono Market

My first stop was the market. What a great market! If I had had the energy, I would have just bought the stuff to cook in my cabin. One block away was Bodie Mike’s BBQ. The girl at the hotel’s front desk said it was pretty good. I had to wait about 10 minutes before I was seated. I quickly ordered the salad bar and a bowl of chili. The menu had plenty of traditional BBQ but the chili caught my eye and it sounded warm. There was a decent selection of veggies on the salad bar and the chili turned out to be pretty good… though I would have preferred it spicier.

On my way out of the restaurant, I ended up chatting with two guys who just pulled up on their bikes. Wow. The amount of stuff on their bikes was amazing! Turns out they’ve been riding the US for awhile and began in Michigan/Missouri. They had just come down the pass….Brrrr.  Trevor and Jim were wondering where to go around the area, so I gave them some ideas… Bodie, Mono Lake or the June Lake Loop.

I started walking back to my cabin. I stopped in one of the stores next to the laundromat. (This is the same laundromat that I stuffed my little brother into a dryer in back when we were kids. LOL & RIP little bro.) The store was filled with country western shirts, Indian rugs and jewelry, boots, cards, etc. There were some paintings by the artist Tom Schultz. The expressions and details of the faces in his paintings was wonderful.

Looking toward the June Lake Loop

Looking toward the June Lake Loop

Monday Morning… I got up and futzed around for awhile, showered and packed the bike. I decided to take 395 South and stop at Mono Lake. I stopped for a picture of the mountains on the June Lake Loop. I really wanted to ride the loop but time was short and the 10,000 ft elevation, a projected high of 42 degrees and 30% chance of rain convinced me to come back this summer. While I was pulled over taking my pictures, Trevor & Jim stopped to say hi. They were on their way to Mono Lake as well. We talked about our plans for the day and decided to go to Mono Lake together.

Mono Lake… What a strange place! From Lee Vining head south on 395 about five miles. Turn left at the turnoff and go about another five miles…. Left at the entrance… Go slow it’s gravel! The fee is $3 unless you have one of the park passes. Mono Lake is like something from the moon. Weird eerie strange… But super cool! Mono Lake is one of the oldest lakes in North America and is three times saltier than the ocean!! Talk about being buoyant… if you swam in it. The lake has two islands and “spires” called tufas. Tufas are created when underwater springs that have calcium come up from the lake’s bottom and mix with the saline water from the lake. For you treehuggers…There is a very interesting story about the lake and conservation efforts to keep it’s water levels up since a few of the streams that feed the lake were diverted to the California aqueduct…you should check it out. Anyway, we walked around took some pictures and then headed off in our different directions. The guys went back to Yosemite and I headed home.

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Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well… I checked my watch… Noon… I wondered how long it would take me to get home.

Bishop… Not much to say about Bishop mainly because I didn’t explore it. Grabbed a salad at Jack in the Box and kept going. Now that I knew I was done sightseeing I was on a mission to get home.

Independence, Lone Pine & Big Pine… They looked like great places for pictures of old signs and run down buildings. I will have to check them out next time.

At the Junction @ 190 to Death Valley… There was a very busy jerky store and gas stop. I stopped for gas and some Gatorade. On my way into the gas station, I almost got pulled over. I was doin 90 in a 65 (oops)… but someone was on side of road with the hood of their car up obviously having car troubles. The CHP definately eyeballed me but stopped to help the people that needed it instead. Phew!!

After that there really isn’t much to report. I just hauled ass home and pulled into my garage at 8:15pm.

 

Some Links:

Lake View Lodge:  http://www.bwlakeviewlodge.com/

Mono Lake:  http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=514

 

Inspiration & Glacier Points…and Butterflies May 24, 2009

 

It’s Sunday morning. I got up at about 6:30am thinking I’d get the jump on the showers… no such luck… there was already a line!! Anyway, I got through the shower, broke camp and repacked my bike. The KOA office opened… I grabbed a coffee and then headed off to Yosemite.

The road to the park was nice and curvy. It also started to run alongside the Merced River. The river was flowing pretty quickly and high. I am going to guess it was from the snow melt. Periodically, some rafters would float by. At one point there is a bridge that is one lane only. On each end of the bridge is a stop light… I happened to catch it while it was red. So, I got off the bike and watched the rafters paddle by until it was my side of the bridge’s turn to cross.

Mariposa aka butterfly

Mariposa aka butterfly

As I drove through El Portal, I started noticing that there were a lot of butterflies. The further up the road the more the butterflies. Wow! It must have been hatching season. What was weird about it was they were hanging out on the pavement. Maybe it was the heat coming off the pavement? Anyway, there were people on the side of the road holding up signs “Slow down butterflies ahead” and “Speed kills”. I couldn’t help but giggle to myself that there were adults on the side of the road with signs trying to save the butterflies. I am not callous and I love wildlife but there were so many butterflies no matter how fast you were driving you were going to run into them. I had to duck down behind my windshield to avoid being hit in the face! My faring looked like a butterfly massacre occurred and my black jeans had yellow butterfly goo all over them. Finally, I got through the butterflies and headed up to the Arch Rock entrance.

I have been to Yosemite many times. So, I decided to avoid the Village because holidays get really packed with tourists and sometimes the village is closed due to too many people. As a general rule, I tend to avoid large crowds whenever possible. I headed straight toward Glacier Point via the Wawona Tunnel.

I stopped at the aptly named Inspiration Point which is just before the Wawona Tunnel. Despite the amount of people there, I was able to sit on the wall and look over Yosemite Valley. The view of Half Dome and El Capitan towering over the Valley and Bridalveil Falls going fast and strong all 620ft down the canyon wall from the heavy snowmelt was just breathtaking. I have stopped here many times and I am never anything less than amazed. There has to be an Ansel Adams photo or ten of this so beautiful it’s sublime vista!

Inside the tunnel.

Inside the tunnel.

Just beyond the parking lot of Inspiration Point is the Wawona Tunnel. The tunnel is super cool. There is a very small sidewalk on the right side. I discovered the sidewalk on my last visit, so, camera in hand I walked down into the depths of the tunnel and started taking pictures. One thing I like about the tunnel is the smell. It’s heavy and dank. You can feel the moisture in the air and you can see the water slowly dripping down the rock walls. I stayed in the tunnel for about ten minutes taking pictures.

From Inspiration Point to Glacier Point is roughly 30 miles…plan on almost an hour to get there. The road is narrow, curvy and on holiday weekends filled with slow driving tourists. The turn off to Glacier is at Chinquapin 15 miles of driving through trees and yep… Some snow!

The drive to Glacier from Chinquapin is high country driving at it’s best! I stopped at Washburn Point…named after the brothers who originally owned the Wawona Hotel. The view is SPECTACULAR! Half Dome and the Sierras! There is also a great view of Vernal and Nevada Falls. I had never drove to or visited Glacier Point. I was beginning to get excited about what was to come. I walked around for awhile and just took in the view, the cold crisp air and took some pictures.

I also marvelled at people’s complete lack of respect for signage. There was a sign that said “stay off we’re trying to grow grass here” or something like that and nobody paid attention. The treehugger in me was very annoyed by lack of respect.

Washburn Point

Washburn Point

The last half mile or so to Glacier Point’s parking lot was brutal. Downhill switchbacks, tourists trying to park anywhere along the side of the road and a very tired brake hand. I have to admit I did not follow my advice below. I watched down the switchbacks and when a car wasn’t leaving the lot and coming up the hill…. I passed a long line of cars. I was lucky I did not get caught. I rationalized that my hurting brake hand, stopped traffic and being pointed downhill was worth the risk but the reality is that it would not have been worth $400 if I had gotten caught.

I parked the bike, grabbed the camera and walked over to Glacier Point. I just really have no words… cliches… Amazing, beautiful, breathtaking, etc etc etc… But they just wouldn’t do it justice.

Glacier Point has a small snack stand and gift shop. I grabbed a turkey pesto pita sandwich and an iced coffee. I went back out and sat on the wall. I put my iPod on and listened to Robbie Robertson’s Music for the Native Americans. This cd is a great compilation of Robbie’s original music as well as some great Native American singers. I pretended no one was around, ate my lunch and enjoyed looking at Mother Nature’s handywork.

Slow Down, Save a Bear

Slow Down, Save a Bear

Unfortunately, it was getting late and I still had to drive the hour back to the Tioga Pass turnoff, through Tuolomne Meadows and then over the pass to Lee Vining.

NOTE: When you are in the park you are on federal property. If you get a ticket…it is expensive and you have to take care of it in the park or by mail. Resist the urge. Don’t speed or pass! Not only will you save money…you might save a bear!

 

Some Links:

Yosemite: www.nps.gov/yose

 

Eat Beef…. May 23, 2009

Filed under: Random Silliness — photographingkp @ 7:00 pm
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Eat Beef