We rolled into Minden at about midnight, so pictures weren’t high on the priority list. Cute town, though.
Good start to the trip, although the start to that start (so to speak) left something to be desired. Paul ultimately came through with the bike, as mentioned. Kickstands up at the Norco Chik-fil-A at 3:15pm…straight into SoCal stop-and-go traffic on the 15 freeway. Since Paul had literally purchased his bike an hour before, he was understandably reluctant to jump straight in to splitting lanes. It was as slow as being in a car and as hot as the surface of the sun. At least I think it was that hot but I couldn’t feel it much at all. I was wearing a miraculous gel “cooling vest.” You soak it in water to charge it up, then the evaporation of the water from the vest keeps you cool. Cool and moist. That is, damp. Okay. It’s really fucking wet. But it never felt unpleasant and I never, ever, got hot.
Anyway, we slogged up the Cajon Pass and turned out of the traffic onto the 395, which ultimately leads straight to Minden. The BMW told me it topped out at 105 degrees around Mojave, and the winds were blowing straight across the highway at about the same time. Since my bike is about as aerodynamic as a small condo at the moment that got old pretty quick.
We passed into the shadow of the Sierras and the winds died as we motored through Lone Pine and on to points north. We had a late dinner at a Chinese joint in Bishop (let’s just say that I’m not surprised that Bishop does not label itself as “the China of the Eastern Slope”) and got back on the road at about 9:30. The heat had finally eased a bit, dipping into the 80s.
It wasn’t long before we were climbing up towards the Mammoth area and temperatures continued to drop quickly. We flirted with 45 degrees for awhile before settling in between 55 and 65. It was now full dark with the highway winding through the forests and canyons of the Sierra foothills. Every shadow on the side of the road reminded me that the gas station attendant had gleefully told us about a motorcyclist dying last week after hitting a deer. “The deer are migrating right now, by the way,” she said. The migration path was across the 395. Hooray.
But no deer materialized. Due to the late hour and the long day we decided to call it a night about an hour short of Reno. One night at the Carson Valley Motor Lodge, garçon…
Starting Odometer: 32563
Ending Odometer: 32983
Daily Total: 420
Running Total: 420