Saturday, September 4, 2021
Distance: 115.1 miles
Duration: 6 hours, 34 minutes, and 23 seconds
Average Speed: 17.5 mph
Minimum Elevation: 6448 feet
Maximum Elevation: 9195 feet
Today would be another day of flexibility. Craig and I had plans to do more walking than riding today. We plan to hit the Bodie State Park and the Bodie Ghost town, then head into Bridgeport and walk around as there's some interesting things to see there. We decide that since the morning temperatures are in the thirties, we'll have a lazy morning and hang out for a bit and let the sun come up and warm things up a bit.
After a light breakfast and coffee I head back to the wagon to get suited up and ready. As I pull back up to the front Craig has a concerned look on his face. He comes over and tells me that he just got a call and he has to leave ASAP as he has a family member critically ill at home. This is a bummer because instead of Craig getting to go riding and hang out with friends at the evening banquet, he'll be making miles for home with a whole lot of worry to deal with on his own.
One of the other folks there invites me to ride with them, they are headed down to Mammoth Spring HD was doing a demo day to allow test rides of the all new HD Pan America. That sounds like fun but I tell them to head on down and don't wait for me, I'll catch up as I'm going to help Craig get going. Craig tells me he needs ice in his cooler and needs to be checked out at the front office. I head up to get this taken care of, which means I actually stood around waiting while our amazing waitress did all the work. I made sure to let the owner know later how after explaining what Craig needed, that she sprung into action and did so much to help Craig get going faster and with less worry.
On getting Craig on the road, I saddled up and pointed south to see if I could catch up with them. I figured an HD demo event would be at a dealership. On arriving in Mammoth Spring I find there's no motorcycle dealerships really, just this oddball motorcycle shop in a warehouse district that sells dirt bikes. I roll in there figuring if there's something big going on with motorcycles in town that they'd know.
I'll say, these folks at Mammoth Cycle Works were so friendly and helpful, even knowing full well I wasn't there to buy anything or have service done. They had no idea where the HD event was and were kind of surprised they hadn't heard about it. They were on the computers doing some searching and we found the event but it just listed the town as the location. They offered to let me stay as long as I wanted using their WIFI, but as it was nearing lunch time I just asked them to point me in the direction of a good local place to eat.
The guy tells me to go to Burgers. I'm like "That's the name? Burgers?" He says "Yes, get the burger and they give you a lot of fries so ask for half fries half salad." Ok, sounds like a plan, so I head into downtown following the GPS and am soon parked at Burgers restaurant. I head to the upstairs dining room as it has a nice view of the main street of downtown and the waitress gets me seated and points out their daily special, the pulled pork sandwich plate for $10. Now, I haven't found inexpensive food since I've been in California and this sounds like a really good deal, especially since it's usually $17. So I ask if I can do the half fries half salad with that and she confirms I can so my order is placed. Man what a good lunch that was.
After lunch I head up the road to the Mammoth Mountain ski resort and keep going on a fun twisty road until I reach a barricade telling me I can go no further so I turn around and head back. I catch the Mammoth scenic loop back to 395 and am intent on re riding yesterday's loop back around June Lake, Silver Lake and Grant Lake.
At June Lake Junction, right at 395 and 158, is what used to be a gas station, but is now a small shop and a grill/ice cream station. The Joey sweet tooth hits me hard when I see their banner for milkshakes. I try to order a Chocolate Malt but they are all out of malt so I settle for a Mint Chocolate Chip shake instead.
Back on the road, it's a good day. The winds have shifted and the haze from yesterday has moved elsewhere. My lungs and eyeballs are happy the smoke has moved on.
The ride around the lakes is beautiful, but the traffic for the holiday weekend has moved into the area and I'm forced to make a couple of double yellow passes around some painfully slow moving RV's.
I get another opportunity to photograph the boat house without all the background haze, what a beautiful little location this is.
Like many of the lakes, Grant Lake is looking a little low.
I finally head back through Lee Vining and top off with that expensive gas to be ready for my departure in the morning. Passing by Mono Lake again.
I get back and have a relaxing afternoon getting the bike packed back up and ready for the morning. This is technically the last night of the adventure before pointing the bike for home. I have a long three days ahead of me but it'll feel good to be moving back toward my family as this is my longest trip away from them and as much fun as I'm having and all the wonderful things I'm seeing, I'm definitely quite a bit homesick.
The evening is a lot of fun hanging out with friends new and old, the banquet is delicious and I once again got too caught up in the conversation to take a photo, but you'll have to trust me on the details. Then it's time for one last sleep under the heat of the electric blanket inside the cold wagon, a blissful way to sleep for sure.