Thursday, June 10, 1999 - Day 5

(Just under 50 miles; other stats unavailable)

June 9 stats: 70.2 miles, 14.4 mph average, max speed 35.1 mph.

So anyway, last night I had about 8 miles to go to reach Mariposa. It was getting dark fast. It was all uphill. But there was no place to stay between here and there, so turn on the taillight and stay far right.
A car stops in a driveway in front of me. A woman sticks her head out, "Need a lift?" As I reflect on it, it was more of a command than a question. I said "No, thanks, I'll be fine." She said, "You're going to get killed on this road. I'll give you a lift to our ranch about 20 miles from here and you can stay with us for the night."
Okay, gang. What do you do?
I weighed the options of being struck by a passing car in the night (would that then count as roadkill?) or being ritually murdered and disappearing off the face of the earth. I chose the ritual murder option.

And met Sue Aldridge and her husband Dennis and their 21-year-old son Eric (who gave me his bed for the night and even changed the sheets). The Aldridges just opened their home up to a stranger. I slept in a warm bed. I feel badly that I missed Sue in the morning. I heard her car pulling away before 7:00. Dennis made me huevos rancheros and we had a nice talk, solving all of America's problems. He then drove me back up to Mariposa so I could continue the trip. When I left, he wrote his email address on an envelope and said there was something in the envelope for the trip. I opened the envelope later; there were two fifty dollar bills. Words fail. Suffice it to say that finances have been a concern and that sure helped. Thanks, Sue and Dennis Aldridge of Mariposa, California.

Dennis Aldridge
Dennis Aldridge in front of the home he built

It's the end of a fatiguing day. Just under 50 miles from Mariposa to my campsite in Yosemite.
About 25 of them were an uphill grind in the lowest possible gear at about 4 mph. It was warm and I sweat bullets; just kept pouring water into me. I made it, but not without a lot of thought about what's waiting on Tioga Pass.

Road to Yosemite
Road to Yosemite along the Merced River

Approach to Yosemite
The approach to Yosemite Valley

El Capitan
First view of the Valley. This is El Capitan, a 3000 ft. sheer granite face. For you Chicagoans, double the Sears Tower and you get some sense of the height, but not the grandeur

Yosemite is beyond words and pictures. The Merced River glides through this magical valley filled with redwoods, pine and ferns. Beautiful in its own right, but now surround this valley on all sides with sheer granite walls rising 3000 feet straight up out of the valley. But wait; add at least eight waterfalls cascading over these precipices, falling all the way to the valley below. Iowa, I've got news for you. You ain't even CLOSE to "almost Heaven".

Monarch Butterfly
This is a great thing about Yosemite. These two pictures are taken from the exact same spot, one pointed down at this beautiful monarch butterfly (mariposa in Spanish, by the way)

Half Dome
and the other pointed up at the spectacular Half Dome.

Camp Site
My campsite in Yosemite

So, I've got the candle lantern and the computer on. My handlebar bag is my "desk". I'm going to try to get this day's journal done, even though I won't be able to get it online until who knows when.

Computer Set
Computer journaling inside the tent next to drying socks

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