Friday, September 3, 2021
Distance: 173.5 miles
Duration: 7 hours, 0 minutes, and 53 seconds
Average Speed: 24.7 mph
Minimum Elevation: 5643 feet
Maximum Elevation: 8391 feet
Today we set out on a group ride led by Tyler. We are riding what she described as a "Lake Loop" which will take us around the local area to several scenic lakes.
We head back south through Lee Vining again where we stop to top off our tanks and I get the biggest sticker shock of the trip.
We turn onto 120 headed toward Benton. I've been warned by Doug (Bugnatr on FJRiders) that this road is mostly straight but has some fun roller coaster hill sections. I take some time on straight flat bits with a good view of the road ahead to pull up next to the various riders in our group and film them riding with the GoPro. Just as I do this with Tyler leading the group we hit the first roller coaster sections. I zip ahead and wick up the speed a little and am yelling "Wheeee" inside my helmet.
I let some other riders come by and slip back behind Tyler just as we hit a big one with a steep drop on the other side of the crest. We come over the top fast enough that the drop causes my stomach to drop and spin. Crazy feeling to do that on a motorcycle but lots of fun.
We stop just outside of Benton and while stopped Tyler pulls me aside and lets me know that one of the riders, Robert, will be headed back out and I should follow him if I want to ride a little "Zippy."
We head back out 120 the way we came in and Robert leads on his Super Tenere through the fun curves just outside of Benton and we are having some fun. Then he turns south on Benton Crossing Rd and we are zipping along.
At one point I look far ahead and see one of the largest and most well formed dust devils spinning along the left side of the road. I've seen a lot of these in Texas but this one is easily 3X the largest one I've ever seen. We are zipping along toward it and it's got a lot of dirt in it that it looks pretty amazing. At the last second it moves right into the road ahead of Robert. I watch as Robert punches through it and it's about to be my turn. Because of the spinning wind it's like getting slapped from one side and then immediately slapped from the other side as I go through it. It was a pretty crazy surreal experience and I had the GoPro running for the whole thing!
Robert pulls off at an intersection up ahead so we can wait on the other riders and we are talking about the dust devil. I take off the GoPro and something is wrong. It's locked up on me. I pull the battery out and put it back in and it powers up. There's zero media from the entire morning. No video of the other riders, no video of the roller coaster and especially no video of riding through the dust devil. I'm crushed over this, but at least the GoPro is functioning again.
Here's me and Robert waiting on the other riders to show up.
After the riders show up, we reform back into one group and head out.
Tyler takes us around some barricades to Convict Lake. The smoke is blowing our way today and has made a lot of the scenic views today either obscured or very hazy. This lake is supposed to be a beautiful clear view but the haze makes it look kind of gloomy.
We sit and chat for a bit and then we are back on the road, which you can see here how the smoke obscures the views of the distant mountains.
We ran up the road and into Mammoth Lakes where we stopped at Roberto's Cafe and had lunch out on the patio. I had Chicken Taquitos and some pink lemonade.
After lunch we ran up and hit 158 to pass June Lake, Silver Lake and Grant Lake.
We stopped by this boat rental area to view the lake and enjoy the wildlife. There were some friendly ducks there and about 6 deer came walking through the parking lot while we were there.
More tall tales being told in the parking lot.
After that we headed back to Virginia Creek Settlement for a relaxing evening before dinner. We ate at the on site restaurant where I had this crazy huge incredible meatball sandwich. I had to use a fork and knife to eat it, the thing was so huge and messy it was impossible to eat as a sandwich.
Then it was off to bed to get ready for the last day of YFO riding and the banquet tomorrow.