Battle of the High Sierra's

Trip Start Oct 28, 2008
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Trip End Nov 17, 2008


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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, November 8, 2008

Today started early .. the alarm went off at 5am .. the aim was to be in death valley at dawn, avid photographer that I am I know that the best light for desert photo's is early and late in the day, otherwise the strong sunlight just makes everything flat.  It was a bit cool starting out but we got some awesome photo's round the entrance to Death Valley.  Mostly while Jade played with the park entry machine .. it gave her a lovely car wash token as change .. then wouldn't accept it back.  But she did get some neat $1 coins out of it.
We rode right across the valley, stopping for lots of photo's long the way.  Breakfast was at (umm forgot the name of the place, and it's not on our map) cute little motel/restaurant on the way out of the west side of the park.  Had a chat to a couple of other bikers, from up Sacramento way they were heading to the "49ers convention" in the park.
Just after this was about where everything fell apart.  We had seen in the internet that the Sonora pass was open, but now saw signs that it was closed, by this stage we were well up towards mammoth lakes on the 395 so to late to turn round and go the long south route to Yosemite. So the plan turned out to be heading for the Monitor pass, which was still open ... it was an amazing steep road and lots of turns but some amazing views.  Decided to use the 4 highway to get back towards Yosemite, only to run into a closed, snow covered road 7 miles in .. so about turn and head further north to the 89 ... it was open but we were now only 17miles from the south end of Tahoe and it was 2 o'clock .. somewhere around 200 miles from Yosemite, doable in good weather on good roads.
Little did we know... the 89 crosses the Kit Carson Pass .. 70 odd miles at 8000-9000 feet, snow up to a couple of feet deep on the roadsides, wet and icey patches on the road .. and worst of all the grit in loose piles in the corners, and the stetting sun directly in my eyes.  Here's a hint for any bikers reading this ... don't ride highway 89 West late in the afternoon .. I lost the road at least 1/2 dozen times .. and just hoped my last glimpse of where it went was ok ...a just gold flash in the eyes through a dirty windscreen and visor is really bad for riding confidence.
so after almost 12 hours of riding to cover about 400 miles we arrived in Jackson, CA ... with more than 70miles to Yosemite I decides that it wasn't going to happen, sod the deposit, it wasn't worth dieing for as my fatigue was at unmanageable proportions.
Across the road from where we were checking the map was "Best Western"  the Harley Owner's Group tell me that members get a discount, so this is a sign!   So across the road we went .. the receptionist had never heard of HOG .. but after we said we were on honeymoon she offered us a Manager's special .....  we have now had a spa (which actually returned feeling to regions I considered dead and gone!)  and are in a room with an open fire, a kingsize bed and is only costing us $100 bucks .... as deals go it's sweet, pity the pain we had to go through to get here.
We've now revides some plans .. Yosemite won't happen, we're going to head up to the "Mercer Caverns" in the morning, which acording to the brochure looks amazing ... then cruise out to SF ... Yosemite will not be that flash right now anyway as all the lakes and waterfalls will be dry (we'll come back another time in spring).  Also we saw some absolutely amazing mountains and views today that really make Yosemite a bit superfluous.
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