Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Weekend To Remember.

A weekend to remember. A Memorial day weekend spent enjoying some of the freedoms we are so accustomed to, the freedom to travel and to explore and make memories out on the open road. Some of our freedoms for which some gave all.

There are many ways to remember and thank those who sacrificed their lives, so we may continue to enjoy our liberties. My way was to go out and explore and enjoy the sights, the sounds and the beauty of the countryside and the love and company of my family and friends. Maybe those who gave their lives for us, would want us to honor their memories by living our lives doing what we love to do.

I had a very late start on Saturday morning, but for a very good reason. I had spent over a couple of hours on skype with my parents and my sister. We hadn't had a chance to sit down for a virtual visit for a few weeks, so it was great to 'see' them and catch up! After our talk I geared up and headed south towards Mokelumne Hill, where I was meeting my friend Tyler and her motorcycle group for lunch. 

On the way I stopped to take a picture of this barn next to the gnarly old Oak tree..

Sunday, May 19, 2013

In Good Company in Creston.

This is probably my shortest blog post .. yet, of a long day in the saddle. It wasn't a stop to smell the flowers (almost none left here inland, just dried up golden stalks) type of ride. I had a lot of ground to cover this day approx. 500 miles a lot of it back road country. The only stop was in Creston to see my buddy Don and his better half for lunch. I had a great time visiting with both and it was good to see them both after what has been quite a long time. Both very good people!

The Loading Chute. Not the only game in town for a bar and a grill, well just one of the only two - but definitely the best ;-)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Scouting the Guardians of the Valley - Yosemite.

So, I bought an annual National Parks Pass. Good for entry to all National Parks for an entire year for up to two motorcycles! I want this to be a year of the National Parks - starting with this weekend trip to scout the 'Guardians of the Valley' in Yosemite. I have rode across Hwy 120 (Tioga Pass) a few times before, but I never ventured into the Valley floor. Something about madding crowds always puts me off and keeps me as far away as I can muster, but the desire to see the grandeur up close was too strong and I finally relented. 

The trick was to pick the right time of the year to visit - late enough in the Spring to have enough snow melt to give life to the waterfalls, and early enough in the Spring to avoid the stampede which ensues, especially when the kids get out of school.

This April has been warmer than any I remember in the recent past, dryer too - lots of melting snow and clear roads! All signs were pointing to the last weekend in April as the time to strike.

The goal as I hinted earlier, being to scout the various vista points and points of interests and best time of day to view and capture, for repeated forays into the park over the next year, except maybe the summer "it's a zoo" months.

On an early Saturday morning, I met my friend Mike, who had also expressed an interest in a stop to take pictures and let the view sink in kind of a riding weekend. We decided on an IHOP in Folsom (This one) for a quick and simple breakfast before we set off. The day was warm, bright and clear, the scouting incursion was a go ... little did we know as we rode south ... the guardians knew we were coming ... and we had been poisoned ... :(

We stayed off the heavily patrolled Hwy 49 and stuck to back roads, not that it did us much good. We counted 1 CHP, and about 4 Sherriff's vehicles along our route. Only CHP had his radar on. Luckily no one stopped us to sell tickets to the patrolman's ball.

It was already over an hour past noon. Ticket seller presence and lunch in Groveland had slowed us down. When we finally reached the valley floor, we headed straight for Bridal Veil Falls.

An easy, relatively flat hike led us towards the base of the falls. I stopped at a couple of points along the way to photograph the "Pohono" effect. When the wind picks up, it lifts up the falling water at the top of the falls and swirls it around in the air..