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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lake View Lodge: http://www.bwlakeviewlodge.com/
Mono Lake: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=514