We got up at 5:30 this morning and ate a quick breakfast at the hotel and loaded up to hit the road towards Sequoia and Kings Canyon. It was 74 degrees when we left a little before 7am.
The road from Bakersfield to Sequoia was lined with vineyards, citrus groves, olive groves, and oil refineries, which was kind of neat to see. We decided to fuel up in Exeter before heading up 198 to the parks. In California the gas pumps have a vapor recovery collar on the nozzle, which we had to hold back in order to fuel the bikes because our bikes have a metal rod at the top of the tank opening to protect the fuel gauge float, which wouldn’t allow us to put the nozzle in far enough for it to kick on. What a pain in the butt! Anyways, the first station we stopped at the pumps wouldn’t pump, so we had to go down the road to a different gas station. This ended up being a good thing because it was fifty cents cheaper at the second station than it was at the first! We noticed that this is common in a lot of the towns we have been in, there is a large difference in gas prices throughout.
When we pulled into the second gas station, we had to pull up next to a trailer full of cattle and horses. There were two calves in the front of the trailer, two large cows in the middle section, and two horses in the rear section. The calves were adorable and kept trying to look at us through the railing on the trailer, the horses didn’t seem to notice us at all, and then there were the cows in the middle, which were the closest to us. One was a chocolate brown color, and the other was a darker brown, almost black color. The chocolate colored cow did NOT like us, and it was getting pretty aggressive with the darker cow because of it. I’m fairly certain it was trying to get its backside around to us, but the other cow was in its way, so it kept ramming its head into the other cow trying to get it to move out of its way. I’ve never seen Dwayne fuel the bikes so fast! We hurriedly jumped back on the bikes and got out of there before things had a chance to get extremely nasty for us, if you know what I mean!
Once we finally got into the park, we started the climb up the mountains toward the Giant Forest. The road was full of switchback’s and tight curves and was an absolute blast to ride. Luckily every time we got behind someone going slow, they were quick to pull off and let us pass, so we really enjoyed the ride up. We did stop a couple of times to take pictures, it was extremely beautiful on the way up, but when we got to the Giant Forest, we were in absolute awe, so we stopped to take a lot of pictures and we turned on our GoPro camera to video our ride through until we got to General Sherman Tree.
When we got to the parking area, we were getting our gear all situated when a nice lady from Australia stopped and talked to us about our bikes a bit. She had started riding later in life and had owned a Harley up until a couple of years ago when she had a close call and decided it was time to sell the bike and quit riding. She said that she really misses riding, though, which made me sad for her.
It was a mile hike round-trip to General Sherman Tree, downhill to the tree, and uphill to get back out. This was a bit of a workout in our motorcycle boots, but it was well worth it to see the largest tree in the world. Pictures just do not do these trees justice, you just can’t understand how absolutely enormous they actually are until you are standing beside one. They are truly impressive.
On our way back up the hill to the parking lot, we were joined again by the lady from Australia, and we had a nice conversation with her about riding and then about what would be a good time of year to take a trip to Australia to ride. It never ceases to amaze me how riding a motorcycle opens us up to meeting all sorts of people we otherwise would never meet.
After General Sherman Tree, we moved on towards Kings Canyon. I have no idea how we got so lucky, but we had the road completely to ourselves about 80% of the way, and it was an absolute blast. The road was nothing but switchbacks and sweepers, but not as tight of curves as there were on the other side of the park, so we were able to really enjoy the ride.
When we got to the road that goes over to Kings Canyon, we had a couple of people in front of us, and a Fiat behind us. The people in front of us eventually pulled out of our way because they were going very slow, so we were able to speed up a little and enjoy the curves a bit more, but the Fiat was staying right on my tail, so we decided to pull off and let them go around. As soon as we did they were gone! I don’t know if it was a local who was very familiar with the road, or just a crazy person with a death wish, but I can shamefully say that I got left in a Fiat’s dust today, hahaha.
We rode until we got to an overlook where you could see the bottom of the canyon and took some pictures, but we decided not to ride down into the Canyon because of the heat, and we instead headed back toward the General Grant Tree. We stopped here and had a quick snack and rested for a while and took in the beauty of our surroundings. Right before we were going to leave a doe walked up close by to us and we watched her for a few minutes before saddling up and starting our journey down the mountain towards Clovis.
By the time we got into town in Clovis, it was 101 degrees, and we were more than ready to get out of our gear. After pulling up to our original hotel destination and deciding that we didn’t like what we saw, we cancelled that room and booked a room at a different hotel.
Total mileage for today was 230 miles. Tomorrow we are off to Yosemite and then to Lake Tahoe for the night!