2010 Grand Tour – Day One: Concord to Yosemite

Day One
August 5, 2010
Concord CA to Yosemite National Park : 241 Miles

Back Camera

Need to visit parents +Need for a motorcycle ride = This trip!

Deciding a couple of weeks back that it was time for this trip, I set the date of August 4 for departure. As I was rushing around on the 3rd trying to get everything set up for an extended absence, Annie kindly reminded me that this was a vacation and that there was no need to get tense trying to leave. I promptly quit what I was doing, grabbed a drink, and sit down to visit. Hence the “late” departure. I chose Yosemite for the first night out since I love the place.

I was assigned the last open site in Crane Flats campground. It was only available because it had no picnic table. I tossed up the tent and then headed toward the valley so see if I could catch a few pictures of Half Dome and El Cap before the sun set. Here are a couple:



The moon was coming up too late for me to hang around and try my hand at night photography, so it was back to camp for an early turn in.

A short day and a short ride. It’s nice to have my “back out on the highway” again!

Day 2: Yosemite to Indian Springs, NV

Day Two
August 6, 2010
Yosemite National Park to Indian Springs, NV: 359 Miles

Top of Tiaga Pass

This is a shot of the Tioga Pass Road going east out of Yosemite. This pass is the highest auto pass in CA; the elevation is 9945. It drops 3100 feet to Lee Vining below. I think everyone who rides should enjoy this little stretch of road. It is somewhere short of sweepers, but the road is good and you can practically coast down.

Coming down off the pass was a bit of than adjustment temperature wise. By the time I reached Lee Vining I was ready to shed some layers. It was already warm, so I didn’t dally in taking the closest road east: Hy 120 off across the desert.

warm and windy

Pulling over to get this pic:

Looking west at the Sierras

I hit a very soft shoulder and buried the bike 4 inches deep in dust and gravel. Fortunately I got my feet down and didn’t let the bike tip over. I held it up with one hand and unloaded it with the other. Not particularly a graceful act – but effective. With me and my gear off, I worked it back up onto the pavement with no small amount of dust and gravel thrown. All in all, what should have been a 3 min stop took 45.

soft shoulder

The general plan was to head due east across NV, but coming out of a gas station I missed a turn and ended up continuing on 95 south to Baily. By the time I noticed it, at the next gas stop, I was two hours down the road.

And, since I’m making this trip up as I go, I adjusted and just kept going till I hit Indian Springs.

When you are hot and tired, it’s hard to say no to a Casino/bar/restaurant/motel/gas station/convenience store. For 80 bucks I got a clean room, a hot shower, dinner at the bar ($1 beer & $4 drinks) with Shark Week on the big screen.

Day 3: Indian Springs, NV to Zion National Park, UT to Bryce Canyon, UT

Day 3

August 7, 2010

Indian Springs, NV to Zion National Park, UT to Bryce Canyon, UT: 344 Miles

Most ambitious day yet – up at 5 and on the road by 6. Nice and cool for the first two hours. Then it got hot again!

The scenery really got nice enough to keep your mind off it (mostly) around the border. I stopped for these shots in the pass out of NV through the corner of AZ on Hwy 15.

First stop: Zion National Park

I could see going in that it was going to rain. And it certainly was by time I got to the gate around lunch time. With very little in the park, I turned around and headed back into town for lunch. The rain cleared after about an hour, and I spent the next 2+ hours on the bus tour. Chose the official motorcycle boots instead of the workboots due to rain. Upside? My feet stay dry. Downside? No hiking! So I stuck to the bus stops. I really must come back here to hike.

the wildlife (as it were)

Which brings me to the idea that I require a bigger pack. Function dictates form! The one I have just won’t carry more than computer equipment, photography equipment, and a few clothes. Oh, and a humidor and a flask. Mustn’t forget those.

The rain washed out part of the gravel road and I was advised not to try it on the bike, so I went the long way round and headed to Bryce Canyon.

This is really some beautiful country:

Quick dinner at the local store, and then off to camp to knock out these posts. No interwebs here, but I can upload them when I break for lunch tomorrow.

Day 4: Bryce Canyon, UT to Grand Junction, CO

Day 4
August 8, 2010
Bryce Canyon, UT to Grand Junction, CO: 327 Miles

Lucky to have missed another night of rain, I still got caught in heavy dew. It was 10 AM before my tent was even close to dry enough to pack.  Should have packed it wet. I wasn’t in Bryce Canyon Park more than 20 minutes when it started to rain. I still got a few good shots of  wildlife and several of the vistas…

I got pelted for a whole 3 minutes with rain and hail from this one.

And then a steady diet of the beautiful Hwy 70 to Grand Junction.

Random Rant: The hotel quoted me $15 more for the room than Travelocity and wouldn’t come down. So I booked it with Travelocity. Kind of silly for them to pay someone else a commission to undersell them on their rooms if you ask me. Which of course, you didn’t. But I digress.

Day 5: Grand Junction, CO to Bailey, CO

Day 5
August 9, 2010
Grand Junction, CO to Bailey, CO: 245 Miles

Worked in my hotel room until check out time to get caught up and then it was off to Bailey to see Eric, Rachel and the boys.

My luck held today and I dodged several thunderstorms on my way to Bailey. It was a very pleasant ride with lots of photo opportunities.

And my timing couldn’t have been more perfect: I landed in Bailey just in time for dinner!