Day 1: San Francisco to Yosemite National Park

Pete was in Las Vegas last night and the plan was for him to get in early and grab us a spot in Crane Creek Campground and for me to call him when I arrived. If there was no cell signal, I was to drive around until I spotted his bike. How could anything go wrong with a great plan like that?

I managed to shut down the computer and get out of the office by 4 PM and it was getting close to dusk when I arrived at Crane Creek. My first miscalculation was how many campsites there were at Crane Creek. Turns out there are around 600.

The big sign out front said “Campsite Full.” Unworried, I circled through the campground in first gear. Lots of motorcycles, but no Pete. And every site was full. As I circled back out of the last site area, I carload of kids drove off and left a site empty.

I, being one who likes my sleep, pulled in immediately. I pitched my tent to save the spot and went off in search of a cell signal and some supper. I assumed Pete was arriving late and figured that I could at least leave him a voice mail with our campsite number.

About 10 miles down the road from Crane Creek toward Yosemite is a pull out that has cell service. I left Pete a message and then spent about an hour round trip to find a sandwich and a six-pack. Pete works up a serious thirst when he’s riding. Not that I don’t.

I stopped at my little “You almost nearly have an AT&T signal” spot on the way back. No message from Pete. I left another, and headed back to camp.

It’s now pitch dark, and I’m easing back to camp at around 25 miles per hour so as not to hit any four-legged creatures crossing the road to find water or a place to bed down for the night. About half way back, I pass another motorcycle headed the opposite way and I think “Could that Pete?”

I stopped at the next pull out just in case and thought about turning around and chasing the bike down to see, but decided that if it was Pete he’d either turn around and come back, get my message later and come back, or it wasn’t Pete and he was already back at camp. I waited five minutes and then found my way back to the tent.

No Pete.

With no fire to stare at, I ate dinner, drank my half of the six-pack, watched the stars and played with the camera. Here are a couple of the only shots that came out at all:

The view was beautiful, but I clearly need to work on my low-light photography skills.

Eventually, hoping that Pete wasn’t in jail or a ditch somewhere, I drank one of his beers, slung the hammock and crashed.

Today’s Route: 171 Miles

FAIR WARNING: Bill & Pete ride again!

Yes, it’s that time of year again: My 3rd annual motorcycle run with Pete Puccio. This time it’s my privilege to join him on his epic “after the layoff trip.” Pete’s been out on the road since June 20th which means he’ll probably surpass my 35-day trip in 2007 in days and possibly in miles. His trip so far is chronicled here:

After work today, I’ll head over to Yosemite and meet Pete at one of the campgrounds. If I’m remembering correctly, Pete hasn’t been to Yosemite, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be blown away. Past a half day in Yosemite on Saturday and a quick side trip to Mono Lake, we are on our usual “we’ll know where we are going when we get there” approach to the ride.

We may head north or we may head south — anywhere we can get to and get me back by Tuesday night. I’d love to stay out longer of course, but duty calls and I can only take two days off.

I won’t be taking the laptop, so the full posts will have to wait until I get back. However, I will post a few cell phone shots from the road, so stay tuned and watch for our updates on the blogs, twitter (@technacea & @TheDonPuccio), and Facebook…see you on the road!