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A Bike Trip to Death Valley
Sunday, 18 June 2006
Thursday 15 June. Wawona to Groveland

After a substantial buffet breakfast at the Hotels old style dining room we set off on our 3rd climb in 4 days of the 6000ft Wawona pass. We learned that traffic was heavier than usual on this road due to the closure of the main route into Yosemite, Highway 140.

We had a drama on the way down when one of the bolts securing Peters rack to the frame broke and the rack and panniers tilted backward onto the tyre. Peter managed to stop in time and the problem was fixed with the ever useful Zip Ties

The scenery was very different to the first time we climbed the pass at night. We exited the Wawona tunnel to a great view of the Valley and the Bridalveil Falls set against unbroken clear blue skies.

The view was only spoiled by a coachload of Chinese Tourists. Martin was crouched down taking a picture when one of them came and sat on his back to take a picture!!

We continued on down to the valley and stopped for lunch at the meadows near the base of the 3000ft shear rock face of El Capitain.

A support man for some mountaineers came and spoke to us and was very impressed by our exploits. He impressed us even more by pointing out 4 mountaineers, tiny specks on the face of the giant El Capitain. He also told us that mountaineers took between 4 days and a week to climb the Rock Face.

We continued to ride out of the Valley on Highway 120 West. We had great views but with the penalty of a hard climb to 6320ft. As we rode up we saw a lot of Park Ranger vehicles pass us. Near the top we saw the reason, a "Bear Jam" of traffic. In a meadow near the road was a female Brown Bear. The animal was crouched down in long grass and difficult to make out clearly.

The descent proved almost as hard as the climb with frequent descents followed by long climbs.By about 7 we reached the town of Groveland. We were due to go on another 25 miles but rather than have another night ride we cancelled the original booking and booked into a basic but detached Motel Cabin. Goveland was a small mountain town with a Saloon and a few Hotels.

67.6 miles for the day. 6036ft of climbing and 7139ft of descending.


remote Posted by Edwin at 3:36 PM BST

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