Oh gosh, where to even start with this post?! It's been a week since I've blogged, but in my defense, it was one helluva week. I left off last time in the Redwoods, which was a cool climate when we got up and made our way through more of Northern California to meet our Bunk-a-Biker hosts in Clearlake Oaks. It was a beautiful drive, I will say, and at first not much heat to make us miserable, but oh that changed pretty quickly!
Throughout the day it warmed up and we were once again in 100 degree heat. By the time we got to Clearlake Oaks we were melting, but we made it! And I couldn't have been more thrilled to see anyone in my life! LOL
Our BaB hosts for the night were Ann and her wife Becky and they opened not just their little cottage to us, but also stole our hearts. After getting settled into their beautiful little cottage and getting a good hot shower, we sat on their patio with them and talked and talked into the night. These ladies were full of wonderful stories and I felt like we had known them our whole lives. They were also getting ready for their own touring adventure to Ladies in Leather in Arkansas and would be gone three weeks. Wednesday morning was hard to leave, not only because I knew we'd be riding extreme heat, but I honestly didn't want to tell the ladies goodbye! But, goodbye had to be done so that we could continue our journey and so that they could also begin theirs. But I know I will see Ann and Becky again and will follow their new adventure, too.
So Wednesday's plans were to make our way into Yosemite National Park, another dream of mine to capture pictures like Ansel Adams. We had to reserve a campsite in advance (which we did, nabbing the last available one for a two-night stay) so we made our way to the Hogdon Meadow Campground just inside the Yosemite entrance. It was going to be a trip of over 200 miles in extreme heat in one day to make it, but we didn't have a choice. We had to make it or be out a place to sleep!
Somehow, we made it. I don't know, I think just the Ansel Adams excitement and wanting to just get there took over and we were able to brave the heat to just keep going. We made it to camp about 6pm Pacific Time and there was plenty of shade to be had to allow us to cool off. We had also stopped at the store on the way in and picked up a sirloin and root beer to treat ourselves to a nice camp dinner. After setting up camp, Yozef fried up the steak and we feasted, then retreated to the tent for a good night sleep before Thursday's adventure through the park.
Thursday morning was a nice fresh morning, a bit on the cool side which was a nice change. We geared up and left camp to head into Yosemite Valley. How disappointing as we were coming over the mountains into the valley, though. The entire valley was filled with smoke from nearby wildfires. Visibility was horrible, but worse, the smoke irritated our noses and throats. We did the best we could through the morning and I was able to kind of, sort of, take pictures of the Three Brothers, the Half Dome and some of the other scenery of Yosemite, but then the heat and smoke through the day began to take it's toll.
By mid-afternoon it was more than we could handle and I was beginning to feel pretty damn sick so we headed back to camp. We once again cooked up some dinner (polish sausage this time) and it was all I could do to roll into the tent and go to sleep. Somewhere abouts 3am Friday morning, I woke up sick as a dog. I had a fever, my throat was so raw I could barely swallow and my head throbbed. I tossed and turned until the sun came up and let Yozef know I was pretty sick when he got up. We didn't have a choice but to leave since we only had the campsite the two nights and there was nothing available the rest of the weekend. Plus, we had already reserved a room in Hawthorne, Nevada for the weekend which we had intended to use to rest, catch up on work and laundry. But, with how sick I was, I wasn't sure we'd get there.
We headed out early Friday morning to try and ride most of the way through the cooler morning hours before heat set in too hard. Several times through the mountains I thought for sure I was going to fall off the bike. I was so fatigued, weak and dizzy and my fever made the heat absolutely unbearable at times. Our original plan had been to stop in Bodie, California on the way to Hawthorne, but I couldn't do it. The highway got hotter and hotter so we went straight to Hawthorne, getting there about 1pm when check-in at the hotel wasn't until 3. Luckily, the manager allowed us to check in early so we were able to call it a day and recover from the heat. I knew I needed to just rest and let my body do what it needed to do to fight off this cold that was trying to set in. For two days we stayed in Hawthorne, with me sleeping most of the time. Finally my fever broke and I was able to feel quite a bit stronger by Sunday morning so that we were able to continue on through Nevada.
We left Hawthorne pretty early Sunday morning to again try to ride our miles in the cooler temperatures of the morning. It was quite an amazingly beautiful ride in the desert with the mountains all around us. We even came up on an old deserted truck stop that was creepy as hell. After that, we made our way through the Extraterrestrial Highway with the destination of Alamo, Nevada for the night.
Along the Extraterrestrial Highway we stopped at the Ale-inn for a burger and cold drink, found a little UFO gift shop for goodies and selfies and went right by the Black Mailbox. The only thing we didn't see were UFO's or Aliens sadly - and we weren't abducted either much to Yozef's disappointment.
We did make it to Alamo to a little roadside motel called the Sunset Inn which had themed rooms that were pretty neat. We stayed in their "Under the Sea" room. We both slept really good though so by Monday morning we were super charged and refreshed. So, again, we left early in the morning to try and ride in the cooler temps with a goal of getting out of Nevada and into Utah.
Yozef had arranged a Bunk-a-Biker host for Monday night in Cedar City, Utah, so that was the destination. We figured we could make it by noonish (forgetting about the timezone change) but I wanted to stop and do our laundry before checking in with our host. So we did get into Cedar City about 1ish Mountain Time just as the heat was becoming pretty brutal. By then, I was just over the damn heat!! We were able to find a laundromat not far from or BaB host and washed a load of clothes, burning up about another hour of time before we finally headed out to meet our host.
I have to tell you, I don't get to meet a lot of people as humble and as generous as Bill and Lynn, our BaB hosts in Cedar City. They are wonderful people in every aspect. They warmly welcomed us into their home, made us comfortable, had a wonderful dinner with us and Bill even gave us a guided motorcycle tour Tuesday morning before we parted ways. I will remember Bill & Lynn and hope to keep in touch with them. They are a rare gem as far as the biker community goes!
After bidding our farewells with Bill, we made our way through the rest of the mountains and Bryce Canyon to find or way to a campground in Fish Lake. Bill's wonderful friend, Dave, had given us a lot of information as far as where the heat WOULD NOT be in Utah and we took his advice. Fish Lake was only going to be in the 80's, twenty degrees cooler than the rest of Utah, so we thought that would be a great break from the extreme temperatures. It was a beautiful ride all the way there and our campground was in a HUGE grove of Aspen trees with the lake right in front of us.
We settled into camp and made cheesy noodles for dinner before crawling in for bed just as it was getting dark. Wednesday morning was a very cool morning indeed! We were pretty cold to be honest, a complete opposite of the previous several days under extreme temps! Our initial plan was again to head out early so that we could ride through the cooler morning hours before getting back into the 100+ temps mid-day. That, however didn't happen. By the time we were able to get warmed up and packed up it was almost 10am. That made me nervous for sure. I knew I didn't want to be on the roads in the full heat of the day. Even though the weather reports said it would only be in the 90's, I knew it was going to be hotter than that once we got into the canyons.
Let me tell you. It got hot. And it got hot quick. We left the Fish Lake area and went on towards Torrey, getting there about 11ish am. We stopped in at a Subway for food and to grab their wifi to get some work done. By the time we were back on the road the heat of the day was setting in AND we ran into one-lane road constructions causing us to sit there in the sun a good 20 minutes - twice! And it just kept getting hotter. By the time we made it through Capital Reef, I was heat exhausted, and Yozef wasn't far behind. 90 degree temps my butt!!
Somehow, we were able to make it to a little town in the middle of nowhere, Hanksville, Utah. They have one little motel, which the manager kindly let us get into before the technical open hours and just in time, too. Both Yozef and I were getting right into that danger area of heat exhaustion. And just fyi, it was 103 when we got here!
So, that's where we are today - a HOT little area of Utah, surrounded by mountains and canyons and nothing else. I was able to get some pictures here and there, but these extreme heat temps make it really hard to work! We plan on heading out SUPER early in the morning to try and get into Colorado tomorrow - about a 200 mile trek that "should" be a cooler ride since we'll be riding early AND riding east AWAY from the desert temps.
We are now in our 6th week on the road. We've gone about 6,000 miles through Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah. My image count is up to 18,677 - well over my 10k record from last year - and we still have two weeks to go!
Keep your fingers crossed because I am SO over these desert temps!!