Monterey – Yosemite – San Francisco

The plan was to cross the Central Valley, to visit Yosemite, drive across the Tioga pass to Mono Lake and to enjoy the solar eclipse in the Reno region. But things got a bit changed…

Monterey – Los Banos
In Marina (shortly after Monterey), we visited the local REI store (you get here everything for outdoor activities) in search for a tent for Ines (so that we would have two tents and more space therefor) and a gas bottle for myself. It didn’t work out with the tent but with the gas bottle. And we had the pleasure to see the visit of the local police because a guy drove away with a test bike. Afterwards, we drove along the coast up to Watsonville where we stayed in a motel and could also wash our clothes. They needed it…
On the next day, we continued our journey along strawberry and salad fields. Agriculture is here done almost as an industry with big trucks e.g. for salad which take the salad directly from the field and bring it up to the workers which clean bad things out. It looks like there are almost only latinos working on those fields. Probably because it’s a very hard work and not so good paid as well…
After the campground “Casa de Frutas” the road went steep up the hill, which was very exhausting with those hot temperatures and also a bit dangerous with the heavy traffic. On the other side of the mountain chain, disappeared the green vegetation and it got very dry and brownish. The huge amount of water which is needed for the the agriculture and also the cities in the south has to be transported across whole of California. Part of this huge channel network is the San Luis Reservoir and the San Luis Canal, which we crossed on the way to Los Banos. But before we had a long lunch break just after the San Luis Reservoir because it was so hot.

Los Banos – Merced – Yosemite
Because the temperatures got already very high (35º Celsius), we started to get up early again. But also this way it got very hot during cycling. We reached the city of Merced on the next day and stayed there in a Motel. There are almost no campgrounds in this region. The dinner we got from a local Chinese take away.
On the next morning, I woke up with some stomach pain and I didn’t feel very well but hoped that it would get better again. Therefore, we continued our journey towards Yosemite. However, I was definitely not fit and it got too much when the road started to climb. I had to stop and throw up a few times. I didn’t have any stomach issues this year in South America but now it seemed to be time again. It was so bad, that I did not even could keep water. No way to continue cycling in this condition. Luckily Ines was still fine and together we could take the bus to the Campground in Midpines. We put up the tent there and I went to sleep…
I was very surprised when Ines told me the next morning, that she now is also not doing well anymore. The time was too short that I could have infected here therefore we probably ate both something bad. Maybe from the Chinese take away but we were not sure. We couldn’t continuing to Yosemite in this condition and had first to get healthy again. Pretty frustrating. Luckily the owner of the campground were pretty understandable and we could extend our stay without problem. After three nights, we took the bus further towards Yosemite. We couldn’t cycle yet. On the next day I felt well enough to cycle the last 30km into Yosemite. I enjoyed it a lot. Ines was still a bit weak and she took the bus therefor. That gave us the advantage of her being early at Camp 4 in Yosemite for getting a space for camping. To get a space at a campsite in Yosemite is very difficult. Almost all spaces are booked within minutes or seconds after they are available in the reservation system. However, it’s not possible to reserve sites at Camp 4. “First come, first serve” is the way to do it here. But to get a space, people are already queuing during the night or are sleeping in front of the registration booth…
We spent two days in the park and visited the typical things like the various waterfalls, half dome, el capitan and so on. And we did a hike to the top of the upper Yosemite fall and even a bit further. Our legs remembered that very well on the next day…

Keep going
The time in Yosemite got kind of short. Our health issues were not planned in. And the goal is to get to Alaska! But first, we wanted to cross the 3’000m high Tioga pass. The problem was, that we wouldn’t be able to cross it in one day with all the luggage. Unfortunately, all campgrounds along the way were still closed and wild camping is forbidden. Also the rangers in the park recommended to try hitch hiking, what we did. We stood next to the street cross, where the pass started, holding a sign with “Tioga” written on it and were hoping. Several SUVs and RVs passed us but nobody wanted to give us a lift or did even ask. After more than 5 hours, we gave pretty frustrated up. Because we didn’t have a place to stay over night in the park, we took the bus back to Merced. So nothing with Mono Lake and also nothing with Solar Eclipse. At least we would be a bit earlier in San Francisco…
We reached San Francisco in the mean time and are doing all that what tourists are doing there. And we even saw a bit of the Solar Eclipse. More about all this later.
In the mean time, check also the pictures about Yosemite in the gallery. I have reorganized the gallery a bit but hope it’s understandable. Otherwise let me know by adding a comment.
All the best from California,

About Stefan

I'm a telecommunication engineer by profession and like to discover the world by bike. I think, that it is the perfect speed to move but still be in touch with the world and the people which live there. And I'm very happy, that my wife Susanna is joining me now on those adventures. If you are interested in other journeys we did so far, please also check my website Stefan, Switzerland

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4 thoughts on “Monterey – Yosemite – San Francisco

  • Sandra

    Wau, wau,wau!!!! Du hast tatsächlich the master of stairmaster überwunden um auf dem Upper Yosemite Fall zu gelangen smile
    Wenn auch anstrengend da hoch zu kommen, aber es ist es wert. die Aussicht die man von da oben hat wie auch die Nähe des wuchtigen Wasserfalls ist einfach gewaltig.
    Ja Camp 4 kenne ich, aber zum Glück haben wir letztes Jahr nicht dort übernachtet. Schade hat die Tour zum Tioga Pass nicht geklappt.
    Wünsche euch viel Spass in Frisko. Seit ihr über die Golden Gate Bridge gefahren? Hammer Eindruck…..
    Weiterhin viel Glück und vor allem gute Gesundheit auf eurer Tour.
    LG Sandra

  • Urs

    Hallo Stefan
    ich hoffe ihr habt die Magenprobleme überwunden. Aber es scheint, dass es euch gefällt
    Gruss von Down Under
    Brigitte und Urs

  • Stefan Post author

    Danke für Eure Kommentare! Ja, wir sind in der Zwischenzeit über die Golden Gate Bridge gefahren. Hatte ziemlich viele Touris dort :-). Und auch die Magenprobleme gehören der Vergangenheit hat. Wir meiden aber seitdem die kleinen Chinesischen Take Aways…