Friday, 24 August 2012

CHAPTER 22



DAY 52. LAS VEGAS TO BISHOP. 541 km


Today was " D Day " - Death Valley day. There was a certain amount of trepidation in the camp as recent temperature recordings in the valley were 51 Deg C , 50 Deg C, 51 Deg C etc etc. in other words bloody hot consistently day after day.

So the cunning plan hatched over a few beers in Las Vegas was to hit the road by 6 am at the very latest and get thru Death Valley before to much of the afternoon heat. And I was a little worried as to how the air cooled BMW engines would cope with the 4,000 ft climb out of the valley in those conditions. Such conditions of course do not exist near the Munich testing grounds in the Bavarian hills.




Somewhere up on that hill is a sign that says sea level -



Minus 268 ft !



Well would you believe dear reader , and I kid you not, but it rained on us in Death Valley and we got cold. They get about one inch of rain a year in Death Valley. Just before we got there there was one and a half inches of rain. There was flooding on the roads ! We was robbed of the traditional Death Valley greeting. Or is the talk of high temperatures just an over hyped marketing myth ? We will never know.

So we pop out of Death Valley to the town of Bishop glad to get some real Californian heat and some sun.

Yes, Death Valley is quite an experience and some of the colors were just superlative.


DAY 53. BISHOP TO MARIPOSA VIA YOSEMITE. 367 km

Wow, what a day as they say. I think Yosemite is the pick of the Parks and it was all aided by a brilliantly clear day. There was none of the heat and smoke haze we had had with most of the other parks. And I like dramatic rocks so for me seeing El Capitaine was like being in paradise it is a 4,000 something vertical rock wall that is the holy grail for rock climbers .





El Capitain itself



Vista after vista after vista after vista...........









Look Mum - No hands!



I would have loved to have had a go climbing to the top of El Capitaine. However I realized that the one meter Katmandu stretchy clothesline that we had in the panniers would not really be up to the task as a climbing rope. Sigh! Another time perhaps!

My heart was singing as we rode into Mariposa at 6pm as the sun started to drop into the west.
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DAY 54. MARIPOSA TO MONTEREY             250 km

Today the Hubbards crossed California! It was a cross country sort of day as we went virtually right across California to Monterey on the Pacific coast. As all the budding Vice Presidential candidates from round here would say - they can see New Zealand from their house! Apologies to Sarah Palin!

Si it was lovely rural scenes with lots of fields of all sorts of sundry crops from Pistachios to Dates to Tomatoes. We passed thru the town of Chowchilla. What a delightful name and it sounds a little like a brand name for a chutney !

And Monterey is the place of Cannery Row as immortalized by Steinbeck and reimmortalized by the local Chamber of Commerce. Actually I think we are in Carmel County where Clint Eastwood is still mayor. And I can tell you from personal experience that acting ability is a handy per requisite for being a mayor!

We are now tantalizing close to Los Angeles and within the range of the Angelino weekend warriors. Two more days and we hang up our riding boots as we leave our steads in the care of BMW motorcycles of West Hollywood .




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