Highway 50 2017
|I want to beat all of the San Francisco weekend traffic to the Golden Gate Bridge, so I get up before daylight and get away. It will be a quick dash to the coast, then I start heading eastward on my journey back to my beloved Holler.|
|As I exit the premises, I notice an interesting sign I didn't see before. After reading this, I'm not sure I would want to bring my pets in here anyway.|
|As I turn off I80 onto Highway 37, the sun is just beginning to rise over the marshes.|
|And judging by the clouds, I don't really expect to see much at the Golden Gate Bridge when I get to the overlook.|
|Finally I see the sign I've been looking for and I know I'll be there pretty quick.|
|The next one up is the get off to the road that will take me up to the overlook.|
|And as I expected, the fog is thick but at least I can see a little bit of the bridge.|
|At least it is better than it was that day back in 2009!|
|While I wait, I see a container ship making its way out of the passage.|
|But I learned a long time ago that I could wait for hours and still get no clearer a view than what I have now. So I bag it for another day and start my journey eastward.|
|One thing that I did not realize is that it is Race Day at Sonoma Raceway. Fortunately, I came early enough to miss the west bound traffic and am soon past the east bound traffic.|
|As near as I can figure, the traffic is backed up bumper to bumper for 14 miles along the road I just came down a few hours ago.|
|As I draw close to Vallejo, I spot an interesting draw bridge off to my right.|
|I suddenly notice that the skies don't look too kindly but I figure I'll take my chances for a while.|
|Since it's time for a gas stop I pull into the first one I see that is easy access. But it just so happens that this gas station does not take credit cards - only debit cards or cash. So I get to do the 'gas station' stroll twice - once to leave some cash and once to go get my remaining cash back. I make a mental note not to stop at any more Arco stations if I have a choice in the matter.|
|Near the town of Rio Vista I encounter some pretty serious crosswinds. I guess that's why they installed all of these wind turbines that look like dandelions sprouting up everywhere.|
|Once I'm into Rio Vista proper, I look for breakfast opportunities.|
|When I spot this diner, I'm hooked. I'm always a sucker for a diner when I can find them.|
As I place my order, I ask the young lady serving me -
"Is it always this windy around here?"
She say -
"Yes it is. And all of that wind power you saw on the way in goes to Sacramento. This town doesn't get a bit of it."
Soon another lady from behind the counter brings me a lovely cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate swirls on top. I forget about the wind real quick like as I really enjoy it.
|And my omelet and taters are just as good as my chocolate. This place goes down in the memory book for great places to eat for sure. But I've got places to be at so I settle up and head on back out on the road.|
|Just on the outskirts of town is another interesting draw bridge called the Helen Madere Memorial Bridge.|
|As I move along Highway 12, I enter into vineyard country. It appears that in some areas they plant trees to protect the vines from the constant winds I guess.|
|As the winds die down further east, they apparently drop the practice.|
|I turn onto Highway 49 and into the village of San Andreas. But as I discover, the world famous San Andreas Fault is nowhere near here. The fault is about 150 miles southwest of here and is named after the Laguna de San Andreas, a small lake which lies in a linear valley formed by the fault just south of San Francisco.|
|I pass under this interesting railroad bridge as I near Angel Camp.|
|Just outside of town I see this sign which makes me scratch my head a bit.|
|Angels Camp is a typical small California town founded as result of prospecting nearby.|
|As I pass through town, the 'mystery' of the Frogtown reference finally comes together. Back in my reading in my early years I remember Calaveras. Mark Twain based his short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" on a story he claimed he heard at the Angels Hotel in 1865. The event is commemorated with a Jumping Frog Jubilee each May at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds, just east of the city. Because of this, Angels Camp is sometimes referred to as "Frogtown."|
|On down the road I cement the connection when I see this marker for the Mark Twain Cabin. He spent some time here as a miner and it was here that he really got his start as a humorous writer with the 'frog' story.|
I see the Romagi Adobe built in 1852 off to the right still in much need of funds for repairs and restoration. The intent is to restore it and then use it as the Museum Of Gold Country Families.
|Up ahead I see quite an excavation going on. I don't know if it is a quarry or a mine.|
|As it turns out it is/was both. It is the site of Carson Hill, an original gold mine that is now a ghost town. The big dig now is for aggregates and decorative stone.|
|The scenery is quite pretty as I make my way down Highway 49 toward Tuttletown.|
|Tuttletown is another small California settlement that started out from local gold mining.|
|But soon I'm on Highway 108 that will take me over the Sonora Pass that I rode back in 2007. Again I see one of those signs I really dread ...|
|And the sign lives up to its billing as I enjoy getting back into the serious twisties.|
|The scenery along Highway 108 is beautiful as snow cover peaks grace the vistas.|
|As it turns out, the pass has just been opened in the last week or so as the snow has been removed from the main highway.|
|But there is plenty of it along the sides, which is a strange sight for this Tennessee Hillbilly to see in the month of June.|
|At the top it is a bit crazy with traffic, so I don't even make an attempt to stop.|
|The views going down the other side are just as beautiful as the ones coming up.|
|I had forgotten, but this road is also the site of the USMC Mountain Warfare Training Camp.|
|As I make my way down, the slopes become much gentler.|
At Bridgeport I make the connection to Highway 395 which will take me most of the rest of the way. Since I can make it to Bishop if I fill up here, I take a little longer break.
There is another rider that has pulled up on a BMW 1150RT. We talk about riding and he is amazed at the distances I have covered the last 9 days. He has suffered a major heart attack and is very fortunate to be alive. But his motorcycle seat is killing him since he does not have good circulation in his legs. I show him my Russell Daylong Saddle and recommend that he check into it if he plans on keeping the bike. He's got some friends to meet so I wish him well as he goes. Another lady rider pulls up on a FZ09 and is taking a break. I ask her -
"Are you local or just traveling through?"
She lives in California but just out for a shorter holiday. We talk a little bit and I give her my website address. As I usually say -
"It might be some entertainment for you on a rainy day."
I wish her well and figure I'd best get back on the road as it's not getting any cooler.
I do notice and appreciate that this station is flying the flag. And with the snow covered mountains in the backdrop, it makes for a wonderful picture.
|Soon I'm head out toward Lee Vining on the road to Bishop.|
|On the way is beautiful Mono Lake, a shallow saline soda body of water. I wonder what great disappointment the first settlers had when they arrived on the scene and discovered that this vast lake was not suitable for drinking in the least.|
|I don't know what it is, but there's just something that stirs me when I see a snow covered mountain in the distance - regardless of how far I've ridden. I guess because you don't see them much back home in Tennessee.|
|Soon I'm at the outskirts of the city of Bishop, home for tonight.|
|The Super 8 is waiting and I get checked in and get Frost unburdened and put away for the evening. It has been so hot today, that I take nice long, cool shower after I turn the AC as far down as it will go.|
|My original plan was to walk up to Jack's Restaurant, another one of my favorite eatin' places. But I measured the distance on the way in and I'm just not up for a 1/2 mile walk in the heat. There's a Jack In The Box next door, so they win by right of closeness.|
|It's not bad, and it's cool inside so this works very nicely.|
|I've got in early and I've got over 650 miles to cover tomorrow as I start the long grind home. So it's lights out and covers up as I drift off into the blessed land of rest.|