Day 8, June 13, 1999 Ň Tioga Rd. over Tioga Pass to Lee Vining, Calif.

37.4 miles, 12.2 mph average, 373 total miles, top speed 54.5 mph

The day started with 2 cups of hot chocolate and one cup-o-soup for breakfast at Porcupine Flats while waiting for gear to dry. Everything had frost on it this morning. We're guessing temps in the 20Ěs, but I stayed warm all night.

Today the pictures will speak. It's after 1:00 a.m. on the 14th now and I've got to get some sleep. Tomorrow I venture out into that desert and cross into Nevada. Forecast is for temps in the low 100's. This will be a serious day.

But... today! One huge hurdle crossed; Tioga Pass at 9900 feet. And I met two transcontinental cyclists; we went over the pass together and are sharing the cost of a motel room tonight in Lee Vining.

To the pictures!

View From Tioga Rd
Tioga Rd. goes around the north side of Yosemite Valley, about 4-5000 feet above the valley floor. This picture is taken from Tioga Rd. looking back into the valley's east end. You can see Half Dome to the right. A "dome" is created when the instense pressures from underneath the Earth's surface shove up under huge slabs of granite, forcing them to buckle upward. As the force increases, slabs of the dome will begin to peel away, leaving things like Half Dome. Get it?

Sierras of California
The beautiful high Sierras of California

Avalanche Hazard Sign
In my years of cycle touring, this is the first time I've seen this sign. I hurried through.

Civilian Conservation Corps
U.S. History students: The Great Depression hit during the 1930's. The CCC was one solution. My question; why don't we have something like this today? I think there would be so many young people who would want to be a part of helping to fix up their country and this type of program would enable them to feel they are a real working part of their society.

Steve and Joe
I ran into Steve, left, and Joe, right, at the Tuolomne Meadows ranger station. They're going across the country, too. From Lee Vining, they will head up to Idaho to see friends, then east to New Jersey by Labor Day.

Steve approaching summit
Steve approaching the summit of Tioga Pass, a major accomplishment.

Tioga Summit
New friends at the Tioga Summit. It's Joe's 29th birthday today. A good way to celebrate.

The trip down the east slope of the Sierras took 20 minutes. ThatĚs right; two days up, 20 minutes down (see "orographic effect"). Much of it at 7% grade. My top speed was 54.5 mph. I was tailgating a pickup truck so closely, it finally pulled over to let me pass, then followed me down the rest of the way. The scenery was beautiful, although a blur. Obviously, no pictures.
And all of a sudden we were in desert heat. Bam, like that.
(Note to my drug-using friends: the incredible high of this downhill experience would not be so great if I did it every day. In fact, I would have to probably increase the slope and the speed in order to get the same rush. This would then be detrimental to my health. What makes this experience stand out is that it is rare. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.)

Whoa Nellie Deli
The Whoa Nellie Deli is at the junction of Rtes. 120 and 395, just where you turn to Lee Vining. It's in a MobilMart. I stopped in for a Coke and found much more. Matt Toomey runs this gourmet deli and invents delicious recipes for fantastic food. I had a wonderful steak sandwich with a sauce garnish that was superb. That's right, a MobilMart. The place was featured in the May 2 issue of New York Times Magazine. But it's the ambience of the place. Matt and his staff create the friendliest, funnest, open atmosphere you'll find anywhere. Well, here's a picture of Matt (in the big chef's hat) and his staff: Sergio Cortez, Paul Cohen and Shayla Hason. And get this: Shayla went to Downers South. Anybody recognize her? She was there in the late 80's. Matt wanted me to tell you that he will make anything for anybody and he will deliver. His phone number is 760-647-1088. Or is that his fax number? I can't remember, but I can tell you he's serious about delivery to ANYwhere. Frankly, I'd recommend trying him. Good luck, Matt.

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