Start: Coleville CA (37574)
End: Sherman Oaks CA (37959)
Total miles for trip: 6597
We are up darn early and out the door, hitting the road before 7 am. Hwy 395 climbs into the Sierra Mountains from here, and the morning is quite chilly as we ascend. The two major passes on this part of the road, Devil's Gate and Conway Summits, are at 7519 and 8138 feet, respectively. Brrr. We stop for gas at the town of Lee Vining CA, and the gas prices are so eye-poppingly jacked up that Jen takes a picture of the sign. $3.19 for regular. Egads! Well, you just gotta pay the prices you find sometimes. We hang out at the station for a little while to warm up, drink a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy the spectacular view. Lee Vining sits up on a plateau with a magnificent vista of Mono Lake.
Continuing on, we pass through more beautiful California mountain country, which is all national forestland until we get to Bishop. (The next two passes, Deadman and Sherwin Summits, are at 8041 and 7000 ft. Still brrr.) After that, it's just a long straight shot down the Owens Valley. We warm up, and click off the miles.
South of Ridgecrest CA, just as we're entering Red Rock Canyon State Park, we pass a guy in a loaded pickup and then move back into the right lane in front of him. He doesn't like this, so he floors it and passes us, pulling in front of me too close. Whadda jerk. I don't like the look of it, so I throttle back to put space between him and us, and seconds later I am glad I did. Sure enough, the load in the back shifts (there can be lots of crosswinds in this area) and I see a large Hefty bag filled with who-knows-what gracefully lift up, then catch the airstream and come flying out of the back of the truck straight as us. It hits the freeway and explodes, and suddenly Jen and I are playing dodge-'em with sneakers and clothing everywhere. Swerving practice does pay off, I'll assure you, and we both negotiate our way safely through the hazard. Just another day on the road, with drivers who don't realise the things they're doing are putting motorcyclist's lives in jeopardy. It's our reality, and we are always on the lookout for it.
That's the last of the adventurous moments, which is a fine thing when you're coming back home after a long trip. I drop Jen off in Acton and head on into the city, pulling into my driveway mid-afternoon. I spend ten minutes looking for my housekeys because I've forgotten which special pocket I stashed them in (saying to myself, 'now don't forget!') three weeks ago. It's good to be home. Ah, THERE are my keys!! LOL.