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Better late than never: Tioga Pass!(21 posts)

Better late than never: Tioga Pass!PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 6:57 PM
The weekend of Sept. 27 - 28 I decided I was going to try two things: Camping, for the first time since I was about 9 and under the tutelage of teen-aged counselors, and riding through Yosmeite Park. I wasn't that worried about the riding, as I do a lot of that, but the camping thing had me a little perplexed. I was hoping to get the hang of it so that I could expand the areas in which I could ride, and also to save some dough. As a result of a scuttled camping attempt in July, 2000 (Headed to the Sierra, made it as far as El Sobrante) I had most of the gear. I'd just never used it. So one Friday a week and a half ago (just about the time a Podium Girl thread was getting wayyyy outta hand) I headed for the park.

I stayed at Hodgdon Meadow, the first campsite within the park's western boundary. It was fine, if somewhat unremarkable. I was able to set up camp in about 15 minutes. (I credit several years of rigging windsurfing equipment for my ability to pitch a nylon tent without incident.)

1 North Face Cirrus tent, purchased at the outlet
1 nylon ground cover
1 Thermarest full-sized groundpad
1 North Face Cat Walk 3D sleeping bag, WSD. (Also outlet bought)
1 Markill Dragon camp stove, purchased at Sports Basement
1 Princeton 3 led headlamp (love that thing -- got it at Lombardis)
Flashlight (purchased at Kaplan's on Market.)
Pot (cooking, not 420) from Goodwill
More food than I needed.

Started from Crane Flat, elev. 6192PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:13 PM
It's about 8 miles from my capmsite, and about 1500 feet up. Left at around 10 a.m. Saturday (yeah, got a late start)and the predicted high for the day, in the valley, was 95 degrees.

Crane Flat was kinda flat for about few hundred yards. Then the climbing started. Nothing steep, just long, and annoying steep enough to make it seem as though you're never going to get where you're going. It was very warm and very still, and there were a number of prescribed fires burning, so not only was the air quality bad, I couldn't see much. After riding about 13 miles, including one nice east-bound descent, I bailed. Just wasn't feeling the love. So I headed back to the car and thought I'd scope out the park a little, then try again Sunday.

Here's one of the fires: (This is my first time posting an illustrated report, so if I don't get the pix right, bear with me.)
OK, the pix are sorta big. I'll figure it out later..Meanwhile..PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:19 PM
After my aborted attempt on Saturday, I set out again on Sunday morning. The weather was much much better, cooler, clear, and just a little bit of a breeze. Just enough to blow some of the smoke out. I felt much better so on I went.

The climb starts in a fairly wooded section of the park, and climbs until you get into the granite areas that are more characteristic of Yosemite.
There are a lot of intermediate descentsPseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:25 PM
...between Crane Flat and Tioga Pass. While this means that I have to climb them all on the way back, it also provides a welcome break from the climbing. Again, it's not steep, just long. And as I got a little higher up, the air naturally got a little thinner. The roads were't super curvey, just some gentle sweeps. For the most part they were in good condition. The only thing that I had to watch out for were "boulder scars," or irregularities in the pavement where big slabs of granite abut the road. They're a little like frost heaves, and once I felt close to getting pitched. (OK, not that close, but I started paying a lot more attention after that.) Here's something a little ways down from Olmsted (sp?) point.
Picture of Tenaya Lake, sponsored by Ziploc.PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:30 PM
This one is cropped becuase the dang ziploc bag I keep my camera in kept getting in my shots. The LCD is useless in bright sunlight. And of course I only took one shot.

(Note to self: Put baggie in jersey pocket.)
Pic approaching the pass. Oh Look! Mr. Ziploc again!PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:36 PM
This was taken a few miles east of Tuolumne Meadow. The weekend I was there (9/27 - 9/28) was the last weekend the Tuolumne Grill and the grocery store were open. They starting to run out of stuff, most notably soft drinks. Nothing quenches an Indian Summer thirst like a cool combination of iced tea and Mr. Pibb!
Definitely starting to see an Eastern Sierra look and feelPseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:39 PM
Getting a little closer now...
Getting closer. Did I already post this? Well, here it is again.PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:41 PM
Here's a pic from the pass, looking toward Lee Vining.PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:44 PM
I think the real e-ticket ride would be to head down to Lee Vining. I didn't do that this trip, but may try it next time.
20 years ago I skied up from Lee Vining toBrooks
Oct 9, 2003 10:42 AM
Toulomne Meadows and spent several days there on Spring Break. Beautiful in the winter but really cold. Ate lunch on top of the gate house in last picture. We (four of us) left in a snow storm that just kept getting worse. Narrow twisting road, fairly steep descent and very limited visibility makes for a tough x-country ski down to car. Never done it on a bike but it would be a scream!
A pond.PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:49 PM
I stopped here for a gel. A piece of wrapper started to blow away, and I became *convinced* that if I didn't go running after it to pick it up I would crash on the way back. Mother Nature sez, "Leave No Trace Or Else I Will Kill You."
OK, time to turn around.PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:53 PM
I posted the obligatory "bike by the sign" shot yesterday. I'll spare you today.

The descent from Tioga Pass back to Tuolumne Meadow was fun and fast. Then I got back to Tenaya Lake. In an effort to get better shots I dispensed with the Ziploc and got...condensation. If you look closely through the haze you can see the road I descended to get there on the way out, which I woul need to climb to bet back.
Fire still burning.PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 7:57 PM
Not sure how long it'll tkae for this to burn. There were a lot of signs warning of smoke on the roadway (cue 70s bass line now, please) but it wasn't a big deal.
And that's it!PseuZQ
Oct 8, 2003 8:08 PM
94 miles total. Great, great ride. Really glad I did it. Packed up the car at Crane Flat and headed home to SF.

Regarding the motorists, I generally found them to be courteous and relatively attentive. I didn't encounter a whole lot of traffic on the return leg, even for a Sunday afternoon. I did try to make it easier on them, though, by wearing my high-vis orange jersey (the color hunters wear) and slowing to let people pass on descents. (When necessary. On lots of descents I could pretty much keep up.)

Got a lot of thumbs ups, and the only other road bikes I saw were on roof racks. There's no water between Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadow, so a hydration pack was a must for me. Also, I was happy to have my Mr. Pibb and iced tea, but after late Sept., that stuff's closed.

I definitely had some steam left after the ride, but not much daylight. I highly recommend doing this at some point. If you're interested, but don't want to do 94 miles, maybe you could have a buddy or SO drop you at the Eastern Gate and just ride from there to Crane Flat (47 miles.) There's enough climbing and descending to make it interesting, and the scenery is killer.

And if anyone has some pointers on posting pics that are slightly less humongous, let me know!!

Next up: A review of the Mt. Tam Double test ride. (Maybe tomorrow though.)
Nice pics, looks like a good ride. Too bad about all the fires..rwbadley
Oct 8, 2003 8:56 PM
To get the size photos you need, you need to determine the resolution you are using and adjust. I have been posting at 600 to 650 pixel width, but my camera is set to a not very high resolution so it works out. The program you use to download and file your photos will have an 'image' icon. Here you will find 'resize' from there you can experiment with what works...

Looks like a really nice ride. You're right about the road down to Lee Vining, what a hoot.
Sweet shots...biknben
Oct 9, 2003 4:26 AM
With scenery like that, I'd probably forget that I was riding a bike. Looks like a great ride.

Tips for posting pics:
-I use a small free program to resize my images. It's very easy to use. If you go too far over 600 pixels wide the picture doesn't fit on the screen and we have to pan across. The text also word-wraps to the size of the pic so you have to pan to read the text too.
-Crop the photos to show just what you want to show. It reduces file size dramatically. Not a big deal this time because all the pics were scenery.
-Go here for advanced tips for posting multiple pics in the same message.^230088@.ef456fc/2 I prefer to put a couple pics in each message or group them together with text. It cuts down on the thread size but still doesn't take forever to load (for those dial-up people)

I love pictures. It really adds to the story being told. I need visual stimulation. Keep them coming!!!
you forgot your bike!tarwheel
Oct 9, 2003 4:22 AM
Nice photos, but you forgot the obligatory shot of your bike leaning up against a sign post. I'm not a digital photo expert, but I've been told that it's best to edit the size of your shots down to 525 pixels width x 425 pixel height to fit on a typical computer screen.
The bike, with an attempt at re-sizing....PseuZQ
Oct 9, 2003 9:09 AM
Yes, the frame pump is Fredly. So is walking.
Nice Shots: File size tippitt83
Oct 9, 2003 4:35 AM
Try your scanner software. Most scanners have a photo / graphics package included. I've found these best for re-sizing and down resolving full resolution photos to manageable files. Of course, save the original file for printing.
Great photosFr Ted Crilly
Oct 9, 2003 8:10 AM
I was in the park in July and going along that route I couldn't help but think what a great ride it would be. It was just after the 4th July weekend I was there, so there was lots of traffic. Seems like it's a bit quieter now. Anyone have any idea when the road closes for the winter? I'm guessing with the first snow in late November or early December.
Thanks for the photo sizing tips, gang!PseuZQ
Oct 9, 2003 9:18 AM
I think I have it figured out now.

I'll definitely post more reports from now on.