Day 60 (5/17): Tom’s Place, Sierra Nevada

We’ve covered 3,653 miles so far on this trip and if all goes well, today I should reach the highly anticipated milestone of 3,699 miles — the length of our 2007 tour from New York to San Francisco.  Curious to see what’s around that milepost.

But, alas, not today.  First, I find good internet at the public library in Bishop and spend half the day blogging.  I continue riding after lunch and quickly bump into the second obstacle.  I had expected the ride along the eastern slope of the Sierras to be all relatively flat, around 4,000 feet elevation.  But all of a sudden Hwy. 395 shoots up onto an unexpected mountain ridge that spurs east from the Sierra, significantly slowing me down.  I reach Sherwin Pass, elevation 6,500 ft, after sunset as the temperature plummets.  Masha says she passed me on the bus as I was standing there trying to quickly put on my warm clothes with my frozen, stiff hands.  It’s amazing that just two days ago we were below sea level in 100-degree desert heat.

It’s almost dark by the time I reach Tom’s Place, a typical backcountry waystation like so many we’ve seen throughout the West:  gas, store, restaurant, bar and rooms.  Because it’s dark and unexpectedly cold, and there is nothing around for miles, I will stay here, just six miles short of my 3,699th mile.

There are a few patrons at the bar and I settle in for a beer or two.  This turns into a long night with the friendly Mexican restaurant cooks Arturo, Luciano, and Fernando, and bartender Cookie. I impress the guys with my Spanish and we stay late buying each other rounds.  How many rounds?  Nobody kept count!

But the guys have to get up at 5 tomorrow, so eventually we call it a night.  I put on my down jacket and take a long walk on the empty forest road before turning in at the “dorm” at Tom’s.  The temperature has dropped below freezing.  The night is starry, quiet, very peaceful.

Pretty, snow-capped mountains all day.  Another photoAnother one.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.