We left Yosemite yesterday afternoon and drove all the way down to Bakersfield (200+ miles) to set ourselves up for CA-2, the Angeles Crest Scenic Highway. We left Bakersfield and drove to La Canada Flintridge, where we got gas for the trip. We then started up the most beautifully paved road I have ever been on. It’s flawless pavement, light traffic, and lots of twisties with great scenery.
Angeles Crest Highway
We had lunch at Newcombs Ranch Restaurant and Bar, a hangout for bikers and sports car enthusiasts.
Newcombs Ranch Restaurant and Bar
There were a couple areas with rocks on the road, so caution should be exercised. When you emerge from the tunnel, more beautiful vistas await. My sports camera does not do it justice.
View from East of the tunnel
We spent so much time enjoying Highway 2 it was now time to get some miles on. Our goal was to make Blythe (about 200 miles) so we would have a short run home. We got there about 9pm, then decided to just push for home to get across I-10 before the sun came up. This made for a 540 mile last day ending at 1:30am. The next day we met at our favorite restaurant to celebrate a great ride.
Adjectives fail me… I think Yosemite is one of the most amazing places on earth.
We rode 2 hours from Fresno to catch this first glimpse of Yosemite Valley just before we went through the tunnel.
First Glimpse of Yosemite Valley
Everywhere you look, it’s AMAZING! This video is from the meadow at the entrance. There was a crowd of people watching El Capitan climbers through telescopes and binoculars.
My nephew joined us for the ride into Yosemite, here we are standing in front of Bridal Veil Falls. Not much water this time of year, but still a beautiful place!
The Crew In Front Of Bridal Veil Falls
After checking into our cabin tent and a meal, we decided to go up to Glacier Point to watch the sunset and full moon rise.
Half Dome from Glacier Point
Sunset is spectacular, bathing the stone with first a yellow light, then a pink light. You can just barely see the moon rising in the notch to the right of Half Dome in the second picture.
First comes the yellow light on Half Dome
Then the pink light.
It gets very cold at 7200ft elevation when the sun goes down, so we hustled down to the valley floor to get warm. The granite cliffs are very reflective, so the bright moonlight makes you feel like you are in a black & white movie. We visited the Ansel Adams gallery and the meadow before bidding adieu to Yosemite.
We changed the route a little while we were underway, but we drove 1650 miles in 5 days. We spent Wednesday night in Yosemite as planned, but when we got to Blythe at 9pm on Friday night, we decided to make the 3.5 hour run for home in the cool of the night rather than wait for the following day to drive into the rising sun.
The first day was pretty brutal, we drove almost 600 miles, the first 6 hours in temperatures up to 110F. The LD Comfort cool gear we used was fine when it was wet, but it dries out more often than we wanted to stop. We made it to San Bernadino, where we were able to escape the heat by taking a scenic route up into the mountains past Silverwood Lake.
CA-18 – Twisties
Twisties and cooler temps… we needed that! We finished up the day by driving to Bakersfield.
After our last big ride, we decided that we were up for a bigger adventure: a week-long ride through Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks in California. About a 2000 mile ride in 6 days, so some big ride days (> 350 miles/day) and some easy ride days.
We are trying to apply some of the lessons we learned from our Grand Canyon trip. We are “camping” for 1 night in Yosemite, but it is a tent cabin that is essentially like a hotel room, including beds and linens. This gives us the ability to stay in Yosemite Valley for 2 days, but to travel light. The rest of the time we will just stay in motels.
We have planned a route that gives us some twisties every day except the last day, which is just a fast run across the desert, hopefully before it gets too hot.
We have used Google Maps to find roads that look interesting wherever possible. This also allows us to calculate mileage ranges and times. We have a spreadsheet that summarizes the route, mileage, start & stop times, weather.