posted on Saturday, April 10, 2004

Coarsegold


It was meant to be only a transfer day by Greyhound but I managed to cycle 60 Km to get me for the first time ahead of my schedule. The coach ride through hot, remote and dry lands went well. My bike was packed in a box in about 10 minutes with forks and handlebars hanging out! The driver didn't seem to care much or at least he appreciated my effort and did not hesitate to take it on. I met Sean during the trip. A nice guy that moved from a local town to Crescent City in the north of California near the border with Oregon. He works as a tree surgeon climbing up those huge redwood trees that so much impressed me since the first day. He told me how beautiful nature was up there.
In Fresno, probably the ugliest place on earth I fixed my bike and determined to get out of it quickly I found the right direction to Yosemite. Nobody I asked seem to know an alternative route to busy Hwy 41 a 4 lanes freeway that leaves Fresno heading towards the Park. Out of sheer madness I took it despite the sign forbidding any bikes from entering. It was a real motorway and for 30 minutes it kept my adrenaline going particularly at entry and exit points where I had to be extra careful and find the right gap to quickly sprint across the lane and avoid being flattened in the process! On the positive side I was pushed by the tail wind caused by the busy stream of cars speeding over 130 km per hour by my side and clinging to the emergency lane I was able to ride faster than I ever did on the last few days. Something to tell people when I grow old!
A bit of wisdom made me exit the freeway and veer off to a side road going to Friant. It turned out to be an extremely pleasant alternative. I stopped at a bar full of parked Harley Davidsons and had a drink and chatted with some bikers who would not believe that the next day I would be carrying my bike and bags all the way up to Yosemite National Park. Needing directions I stopped a lonely biker in which company I rode through a beautiful section of road. His name was Dennis and he told me that he found the going pretty tough as he was on the Atkins diet! Strict to his new regime he refused my offer of an energetic bar on the grounds that it contained carbohydrates the greatest enemy to his weight.
He had a nice racing bike but was struggling to keep up with me. We spent an hour riding and talking and even offered me to stay at his place if I wanted but I did not want to disturb him. At the end he took me to a Motel near Coarsegold. Tomorrow I will need to ride Hwy 41 that here is a small 2 lanes road unlike near Fresno, and finally reach the National Park I so much wanted to visit. To avoid a bit of traffic Dennis suggested that I should leave at 06.00. At the Black Hawk Motel the only restaurant is a Pizzeria so I shall indulge in a bit of familiar food. Yosemite I am coming!