We kinda cheated and took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) as far out of San Francisco as it would take us. It was still a tangle of suburbia and construction zones for a half day until we were back on the open road.
Sometimes open road can mean ghost towns where you expect to find services
After three days we reached our next big destination for the trip, Yosemite National Park. That third day was a real test of strength, taking us up about 6000' into the park to the Crane Flat camping area.
We made it!
The next day we cycled through some very beautiful scenery to reach Tuolumne Meadows at 8800'. The spectacular vistas were indicative of what we would find on our two-day planned hike ("rest days") down in to Yosemite Valley.
Cycling past Tenaya Lake, almost at the Meadows
Due to the limited size and weight of our belongings, our little packs were stuffed like sausages.
Our wilderness campsite (appropriately named "Sunrise") was on the edge of alpine meadow bliss.
That night we had our first big scare of the trip. Our bear locker was visited by just that; a bear. Normally this would not be a big deal, but we were doubtful of it's less than ideal securing mechanism and EVERYTHING was in one pack, including the food, all our money, ID and headlamps. We had to do the only reasonable thing, bumble our way down the trail in the dark, back to the locker, yelling and clapping as we went. The whole time hoping the ranger who told us no one in Yosemite has ever been attacked by a black bear was right. Sure enough we heard some gruff snorting less than 50' off that slowly disappeared into the distance without ever seeing a thing... Phew. I don't know if I would have been more scared if I could see it or not.
Happily back on the trail the next day.
A feather in my cap and a sweet walking stick
Almost in the valley, at Vernal Falls.
After spending a night in the Valley we hitched a ride back to Tuolumne Meadows with the lovely Janelle and Jenn from San Diego and finished our climb to the Tioga Pass Summit and park exit.
The next few days went by slowly but surely riding down Highway 395 against a growing head wind and iffier weather. It took us through the beautiful Eastern Sierras and the towns of Bishop and Lone Pine.
Then it was in to the desert.
Just before this photo we were at our summit of the day going through a cleft in the rock when I literally thought the apocalypse was upon us. The air was being ripped apart, I thought this must be what you hear when you get hit by lightning. I didn't even have time to plug my ears before a fighter jet ripped right overhead at less than 40ft and banked hard left before he disappeared into the mountains. Funny thing is three days before we had watched "Top Gun" in a motel on AMC, hence the inspiration for this post.
The head wind, and a bladder infection I had to go to the hospital for in Lone Pine, had us a day or so behind, so we hitched another ride, through part of Death Valley. We were picked up by a couple of airline pilots. The awesome Eric, Nance and their dog Sammy. They even stopped to let us take pictures!
With their help we're now in Nevada, one day away from climbing (hopefully, see the picture below for the latest current weather) and Las Vegas. We still haven't been rained on yet (fingers crossed), but I don't know if it counts because we did get sprinkler-ed this morning after pitching our tent in a city park.