Saturday, August 17, 2013

Things are moving faster (In a car)!

Hi! Remember us? We are alive and well and staying the night in Visalia, CA. We are going northwest to the bay area today, and I'm going to get caught up. So we are at ...

8-8-2013 Meyers, CA to Markleeville, CA (Grover Hot Springs State Park)

Today we took two more alternate routes, and they both worked really well. The first was to go to the end of Upper Truckee Road South, which brings us to within 4 miles of the Luther Pass summit. It was very nice but really steep at the end.

South Upper Truckee Road near Luther Pass

The climb to the summit was fine, light traffic and a shoulder. The second alternate was to take the old pass road down to the intersection of route 89 and 88.
Luther Pass end of the old highway (See it?)

This road is no longer maintained and is not open to cars. It is hardly more than a mountain biking trail that is paved, but the scenery was amazing. I took many pictures as we slowly descended. Along with washouts, the trees growing up through the roadbed were a challenge.
The View from the Old Highway

The Old Highway
We then descended down Rt. 89 to Woodfords, over to Markleeville, and finally up to Grover Hot Springs State Park.
Afternoon in Markleeville

The Park is really scenic. It also is in bear country, and had a bear incident the day we arrived. Some one left some trash in a camp site when they left (see a pattern?), and as the ranger was cleaning it up, a 400 lb black bear came up to him to help. No worries, the ranger and the bear were not hurt. This camp was bear vaults, and we were not bothered by any visitors.
Campsite in Grover Hot Springs State Park

As a side note, there are many other varmints here, and posters warning of chipmunks having the plague (Really).

8-9-2013 Markleeville, CA to Topaz Lake, NV

Today was a hard one, with Monitor Pass being the main objective. This is a shorter day by design, because the pass climb is steep.

Road To Ebbett's Pass (Don't go here!)

Some Color along the Road to Monitor Pass
We climbed 2600’ in nine miles. Ouch! We took our time and stopped many times to rest. We both think the altitude is winding us a little more than normal. Rather than intervals of distance, we did them by altitude in the steep sections.
Looking back at the road before Monitor Pass

Our normal interval was about 200’ of elevation. We did get up to the top, and then descended the really steep south side.
Monitor Pass

Yikes. We had wind gusts just to give us a little more fun, and descended over 3000’ in about eight or nine miles. We stopped twice to rest our hands and cool off our rims. At the bottom we rested and celebrated the end of Rt. 89. Good!
The view Down from Monitor Pass (Parachutes Ready!)

From there we cycled five miles north on US Rt. 395 to Topaz Lake.

White Pelicans in Topaz Lake

Topaz Lake from Nevada

We are staying at a Casino Motel in a room. The Casino is right on the Nevada border, and will give us a good start on tomorrow. We are taking an alternate route to avoid a dangerous section of US Rt. 395. It is a little longer, but has very little traffic. I just hope the coyotes and snakes are slower than us (Smile). We are just a couple of days away from Yosemite now, and getting near the end.

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