Friday, May 22, 2015

Rain, sleet, riding in the clouds
Two days of clouds with sun breaks where the majestic Sierras have been sharing their beauty.  Stayed at Tom's Place last night near Independence.  Tom's Place was originally built in 1917 by a German man named Hans Lof.  It all started with a much needed gas station to fuel the traffic moving up from Southern California.  Lof built a cookhouse, added a store and corrals, then started packing people into the mountains for a wilderness getaway. In 1923, Thomas Jefferson Yerby and his wife, Hazel(stage actress, Jane Grey) purchased the business for $5,000 and Tom build the original Tom's Place Lodge in 1924.  People really started getting into the fishing here in the mid 20's, and there was a lot of traffic to Yosemite. The Lodge has not changed much since 1924.  No wi-fi, no TV, only fly fishing rods from the 20's on the wall.  Met some great folks in the bar.  Good food, great conversation.
Sierra Nevada is a Spanish term meaning "snow-covered mountain range".  Riding with the mountains on my left for two days, watching the light hit the jagged peaks, the wonder of how this mountain range formed continues to amaze me.  The Sierra runs 400 miles north-to-south, and is approximately 70 miles  across east-to-west.  More than 100 million years ago granite formed deep underground.  The range started to uplift 4 million years ago, and erosion by glaciers exposed the granite and formed the light-colored mountains and cliffs that make up the range.  The uplift caused a wide range of elevations and climates in the Sierra Nevada, which are reflected by the presence of five life zones.  I have experienced all those climates during the past two days.
Yesterday north on HWY 395 near Lone Pine I stopped at Manzanar.  The Manzanar National Historic Site was established to preserve the stories of the internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II and to serve as a reminder to this and future generations of the fragility of American civil liberties.  I remembered the story Ansel shared about making the photograph of Mt. Williamson during the days of the internment.  How seeing the morning light on Mt. Williamson had given the people hope for a new and better day.
Leaving Manzanar twenty-five miles of single lane twisties off of HWY 395 on HWY 168 led to the grove of Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains. The Bristlecone Pines are the oldest known trees on Earth. Many of the trees are over 4,000 years old.  At an elevation of over 10,000 feet some of these trees grow only 1/100th of an inch per year.

Back to the rain, sleet, riding in the clouds part.  This morning at Tom's Place the clouds were on the ground, light snow, heavy rain was falling.  Weather report was the same for the next two days.  Spent an hour getting the "foul weather" gear on and headed out.
Remember the saying....a good picture is worth a thousand much for the words.
By late afternoon the sun poked through the clouds as I crossed into Nevada.  Dry pavement never looked so good.

Kickstand down tonight in Gardnerville,NV.  Looking out the window of my motel room it is raining hard again....

be strong, be safe, Carlan



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