Friday, May 22, 2009

day eleven: out of Utah, through Nevada and into California

Well hello sports fans!  I think that’s the way the Great Santini addresses his family in the Pat Conroy book by that name.  Robert Duval plays a great character in the movie . . . but that’s not the subject of this post.  Some how I have gotten off my day count so I am correcting it.  This is for day eleven but written on day twelve.  Michael and I were so tired last night from the distance covered he didn’t even do his crunches and push-ups.  He had me doing them but not as consistently and not as many.  I keep telling him that I’m an old man and staying on the bike is enough exercise for me on any given day!  And yesterday was a humdinger.  We woke early having traveled late to Caliente, UT.  If you have any Spanish at all you know how to say this town’s name.  However, if you are from this thriving metropolis you pronounce it Cali-any.  Anyway, we left Cali-any headed across the rest of Neveda.  We went through towns with names like Hiko, Modena, Warm Springs and numerous others.  The highlight of the day in Nevada was coming into Tonopah to eat some health food at McDonalds.  As we were eating, kids from the local high school started coming in.  Mike and I noticed that their school mascot name was the “Muckers!”  I kid you not!  It evidently has something to do with mining but Mike and I decided that the name was subject to some serious abuse and went on to abuse it some ourselves.  We had to take it to the parking lot we were laughing so hard.  We were afraid some local Mucker might overhear our crass humor and choose to “muck us up!”  Anyway we left Tonaopah, home of the Mighty Muckers and rode through Coaldale and Basalt before coming into California and our 13th state.  I forgot to mention Neveda as our 12th one the day before.  Somewhere over the last two days we have also logged our 3000th mile on this trip- pretty cool!  As we rode in CA we came to a road which we add to our list as one of the prettiest in America, hwy 120 toward the town of Lee-Vining and Yosemite.  It passed through Inyo State Park which was beautiful and also subject to some seriously bad jokes- “So, what’s in-yo state park?”- things like that.  Hey, when you’re talking on headsets all day you have to do something to lighten the day!  Highway 120 led into Yosemite and I’ll apologize to all the Yosemite fans.  We took this one on the run due to the time of day.  We still got some beautiful pictures but Michael said that he could easily spend two weeks there, which, in itself is an understatement.  Snow was still on the peaks and some of the valleys.  Run-off made the streams fast and roaring.  These places truly defy description and my supply of superlatives is running low as a result.  After the park I made the stupid decision to make it to Merced, CA.  This ended up being about 80 miles too far for me.  I was worn out and mean by the time I got here to the Comfort Inn (Mike and I had camped out for the last three days and figured it was time for some soft beds, warm showers and good rest).  Our total ride today was 516 miles.  We didn’t think yesterday’s haul was as big as some of our initial ground-eating rides but it turned-out to be right close—which was too much!  Today we’ll hopefully be able to spend a little time at the San Jose BMW Motorcycle shop getting oil changed and a few things looked at before riding on to Monterey.  We’ll let you know how that works out.


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  1. Well, in case there's any uncertainty, Caliente, Nevada is the answer to the '?' in the title of our last post...we got in pretty late, but gained an hour moving into Pacific time!

    Daily Highlights:

    1) All-you-can-eat-pancakes at the Caliente Diner for $2.69. This one was a no-brainer...any time I can absolutely stuff my stomach for under $3, I readily jump on the opportunity! Haha, I ate like 2 1/2 of the first 4 that she brought me...I was ashamed. I think the waitress was trying to console me when she said 'I tried to make them small' but the comment only poured salt on the wound because it suggested that she could tell (before I even ordered) that I would be a lightweight, and it confirmed that I couldn't even handle 3 of the SMALL ones!! Pobre Miguelito..

    2) "Open Range"--Me and dad were introduced to the wonder of free-ranging animals a few days ago. If ya don't know what that is, it's just like regular livestock raising, except it completely omits the use of fences. Dodging cattle and sheep on the roads adds a new bit of entertainment, and trying to guess when the ones who are close to the road will decide to saunter into the road keeps your wits sharp!! Oh, and I forgot the include horses...there are apparently still tons of wild horses or "brumbies" (as Jim in The Man from Snowy River calls them) in the west! We were bummed that we didn't get to see any.

    3) 'Extraterrestrial Highway'--Ok, this was not really a highlight at all...but it's the highway that traverses Nevada, and I just thought it very interesting that they named it so. Perhaps my favorite part about it was passing the sign that said 'No Gas 150 miles' when we were a solid 60 miles past our previous gas stop! Haha, we ended up back-tracking a bit, taking a different road and finding some gas that was only a few miles away. This was necessary to ensure that we could make it through those 150 miles of nothingness. While driving on E.T. highway, we would amuse ourselves by picking a point in the horizon and trying to guess the mileage to that point. I think the longest one we did ended up being just over 15 miles!! I don't think I would like to live in Nevada...home of Aliens and desert and Vegas--although tempting, I think I'll pass.

    4) The Sierra Nevada mountains--Yesterday was my first time seeing them. I'm still blown-away.

    5) Yosemite Ntl. Park--Like dad said, we took it on the run. But 'on the run' only means that we drove the 70 mile scenic highway that runs right through the middle (it just opened a few days ago...still lots of snow on the ground). This was easily my favorite thing we've seen so far. The only adjective I can think of that would describe this place is 'enchanting.' If you've never been, I'd be happy to take you back soon! I think I'll just go get lost in the wilderness for a few month's. I believe it would take you years and years of returning to hike even half of the trails, see even half of the sights, etc. God's so creative.

    That's all for now. Hopefully we'll get today's post up this evening and be back on schedule!


  2. Yes, I would like to respond to "highlight item #1"...Michael, all I will say is "TU SALSA ES FLOJA!!" hahaha :)

  3. Your salsa is weak?? Anyway, Hi Dr. Martin from me and the other girls at All Creatures. You'll be happy to know that we are still very busy here. Dr. Martin you have a great writing style that is easy and enjoyable to read. Maybe this should be the begining of a writing career for you. I know your having to blink your eyes and re-read because you can't believe I just offered you a compliment:)JK Continue having a great time and go easy on the birds out there!

  4. y'all are punks, just so you know! (I think that's where I'm going to move to - the beautiful SNOW covered mountains with the ICED over lakes at the bottom...) that place has my name all over it! (:

  5. Ya know Bennie, just this time I'll agree with sauce has grown quite weak...