We rode across California’s central valley past Fresno to Yosemite National Park. (We were lucky to be visiting Yosemite when we did, between fires and US government closedown!) We were riding on long straight roads through dry arid countryside, then through large farms – some arable, some cattle and some grapes grown for raisins. We thought we were in the movies!
Then, right in the middle of nowhere, we came across a gas station and this shop! We had a welcome stop and cup of coffee here.
As we approached Yosemite the land got greener and hillier, and prettier! We stayed in a beautiful B&B in the little town of Fish Camp just south of the entrance to Yosemite. After dropping off our gear, we decided to go for a walk in the Mariposa grove of ancient sequoia trees. These photos show the ‘Grizzly Giant’, supposed to be up to 2,400 years old, and the ‘Batchelor and his three Graces’. The third photo shows the ‘Fallen Monarch’. There is a photo taken in 1907 of cavalry soldiers on horseback all lined up on this fallen tree, showing that sequoia trees do not decompose quickly, due to the tannins in the wood.
The next day we rode back into Yosemite Park, along windy twisty roads. First stop was Glacier Point, with it’s wonderful, majestic views across to Half Dome and over the valley. Photographs just cannot so this awesome sight justice. It is just so enormous! And being up so high, it is a tiny bit scary. I am sure the word AWESOME was invented just for this magnificent view.
We also did one of the short hikes, up to Sentinel Dome. We struggled a bit as we were nearly 8,000 feet up, and to be honest I found it a bit scary. It was so high and such a majestic 360 degree view, it was rather overpowering. But wonderful! We ended our day with a drink on the terrace at the beautiful Ahwanhee Hotel in Yosemite Valley. I can understand why everyone loves Yosemite National Park.
The next day we rode along the northern edge of Yosemite, the Tioga Pass. We did expect to see some evidence of the recent devastating fires, but there was very little evidence of the burning to seen.
We reached the end of the pass, and stopped for lunch at a gas station near Lee Vining and realised we’d stopped right by Mono Lake. We were fascinated with the white salty outcrops.
We arrived at our inn for the night in South Lake Tahoe in the late afternoon. First stop was the swimming pool and hot tub! A great relaxer after a long day in the saddle! Then a walk by the lake to find a restaurant for dinner.
The next day we rode up the west side of Lake Tahoe, stopping for a hike down to the lake at Emerald Bay. Back in the 1920s a Mrs Knight had ‘Vikingsholm’, a wonderful holiday home built here. She had it built in the Scandinavian style, and furnished it with replicas of precious Scandinavian antiques. She had a little tea house built on this island, where she would entertain guests. What a wonderful place for a holiday!
We left Lake Tahoe and rode on further north to the northern Californian town of Chico, where we stayed the night.