Saturday, July 24, 2010

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Chapter 3: Rode with Fresno Friends on the East Side

What's summer without lots of bike riding?...And with friends, no less.
Last year, Denise came over to ride for a few days with me. Apparently, she liked it, as she came back this year. On her first day, we rode from town up Conway Summit on Hwy 395, and then up to Virginia Lakes from there. That's about 11 miles of solid climbing, and roughly 3000 feet of elevation gain. (Of course, there's also 11 miles of descending on the way back -- at speeds as high as 47 miles per hour on days when I'm not a big chicken-shit.) This is the lowest of three lakes there, and it appears that not everyone arrives by bike. Go figure.

Luckily, they allow spandex in the store at the lake, as we really needed water.

Honestly, Denise can't go ANYWHERE without befriending some four-legged critter. This is Cooper, and thank goodness he already had an owner, or Denise would have strapped him to her bike to take him home. I'm always so embarrassed when she does that...

On Denise's second day, we met up with Mary, another friend from Fresno, and rode the June Lake Loop -- about 36 miles of sheer gorgeous. Mary was staying in Mammoth, so she met us halfway between Bridgeport and Mammoth at the Mobil Station at the foot of Tioga Pass. We rode from there, and this is Denise and Mary just after we turned off Hwy 395 onto the Loop. We were headed to those mountains in the distance.

Just one of the many spectacular views as we made our way around the Loop...and yes, the mountains in the background are nice, too.

Though it's late July, the water is still running high all over the Eastern Sierras. We passed right below Fern Falls...I think.

Finally made it to the town of June Lake -- and here's the proof.

This crazy rock is right at the beginning of the town of June Lake -- right by the Fire/Paramedic station. When I was little and we'd come in the school bus each week to go skiing at June Mountain, I always shut my eyes when we drove past it, as I thought it would surely fall on us.

Almost back to Hwy 395, there's a look-out tower at June Lake -- looking back at where we've ridden from is always cool. Well, and a bit freaky.

Back on Hwy 395, just a few miles south of Lee Vining, there's the Grave of the Unknown Prospector. The Bodie Chapter of E Clampus Vitus (you know...the Clampers...that historical society my dad and brothers belong to that is basically just an excuse to get drunk) dedicated this tombstone there awhile back, and it has the names of all the Bodie Chapter Clampers who've "Gone to the Golden Hills." Wonder if they're gonna put Dad's name on there...He was the Grand Humbug (or whatever the head-dude is called) at one point, so I'd think so. Seriously, the Clampers are cool, and have dedicated a lot of great historical sites around the Eastern Sierras.

After our ride, we ate at the "Whoa Nellie Deli" at the Mobil Station at the bottom of Tioga Pass -- the Carnitas Tacos ROCK! Then, with bikes packed on the cars, we headed to Bodie State Park, as Mary had never been there. Stole these first two pics from Denise -- she's more artsy than me. There are a lot of photography classes taught in Bodie because there are so many picture-worthy subjects...especially when we're visiting.

Really?!! Did you think I could see a bathtub out in the middle of the town, and NOT ask a ranger to take a picture of us in it?.... This is MY idea of artsy.

This is a shot I took through the sun porch of a house that belonged to the Cain family -- one of the wealthiest families in Bodie. I grew up with Jenny Cain whose dad, Walter, was born in Bodie. And her grandma, Ella Cain, wrote some of the most popular books on Bodie -- we have 'em at Ken's, of course. (This was a paid advertisement.)

Mary and me posing at what was the doorway to the bank...I think.

And of course, what's a trip to Bodie without posing at the cross-street of Virgin Alley and Maiden Lane -- the center of the "Red Light District"!

Good times!


Denise said...

Good times for sure. Cooper was the highlight of the trip.....sorry Kathie and Mary!

Mark Brown said...

wow! great trip!

Brandon said...

You had a wonderful family vacation there! And I love that lake. The Alps near the lake reminds me of my vacation in Mammoth. Condos are very affordable and cozy. I really had a good time skiing in Mammoth. People are very approachable too.