with the Retired Misfit Crew
March 31: Ahhhh…spring in Yosemite. There are not too many places that we can go that will create the awe-inspiring reaction that happens to most anyone who enters this spectacular valley. It truly is a magical place and just that much better when you go there in the spring. But let’s back up for just a second, so we can explain how it was that we ended up going to Yosemite in the first place.
In the fall of 2017, Terri and I were on a day ride getting video content about Fall Riding Tips for our YouTube channel: Hillon2wheels. Early on a Thursday morning, we rode out of Folsom and headed up the hill towards Markleeville and up Ebbetts Pass to see the fall colors. It is a great ride all by itself and it seemed like we had the roads to ourselves. As we gained in elevation, Terri was getting a bit cold so I pulled over to give her a chance to add another layer of clothing. About this time, Brian Ingraham and James Graham rode past us, when they saw us they flipped a quick bitch back to where we were parked. We were kind of surprised to see anyone - much less people we knew! We asked Brian and James what they were doing out on a Thursday morning when they told us that they had started a new riding group for those riders that were retired or had weekdays off for a mid-week ride and today, they were riding to South Lake Tahoe for lunch.
Their riding group is called the Retired Misfit Crew. And they love to ride motorcycles, they do not care what brand of bike you ride - only that you really ride. The riders are known for getting out of their zip codes regularly sharing a common bond of adventure making memories as the ride progresses. Since that day, we have followed the group on Facebook. It just so happened that our stars aligned and we were freed up to join the group, so we jumped at the opportunity when we saw the invite for a ride to Yosemite.
Most meet-ups are at a Chevron Station to fuel up and discuss the route of the day. Today, we joined James and Geoff before heading out Latrobe Road and then connecting with Highway 49 and heading south. We kept rolling south until we came to Highway 120 and we turned to head to Groveland with a short detour up the twisty steep Old Priest Grade. Of course wouldn’t you know with light traffic all day, we get stuck behind a slow poke cager that refused to pull over for us! Oh well, it was still a fun route to take. We rolled into Groveland and stopped at the historic Iron Door Saloon for a tasty lunch.
We made our way over the pass and there was still quite a bit of snow piled up alongside the road, but the road itself was perfectly clear. As we made the decent below the snow line, we just happened to cross paths with another one of the Misfits going the other way. We pulled over and sure enough Raymond - the missing Misfit turned around and caught back up to us.
Two things struck me at that moment, one was how random it was that it worked out and we crossed paths at all. The other was upon meeting Raymond for the first time we found out that he is a motorcycle police officer. Nothing unusual there - except it donned on me how much Raymond must love to ride for him to ride all week for work and then jump on his personal ride to get more riding in on his day off! Needless to say I was impressed. Now all together our small group rolled into the Yosemite Valley and what a spectacular sight it was! The Valley was alive with springtime budding everywhere on the valley floor and the snowcapped mountains had started to release their torrents of water from the melting snow. This time of year makes for more impressive waterfalls. Tourist traffic was unusually light and that made it easy to find places to park our bikes for those all-important scenic photos and selfies. We took our time making the loop around the valley stopping in several places to just admire the surreal scenery that was laid out before us.
I have to admit that as much as I hate the politics in California, it’s the scenic beauty right here in Northern California that will make you forget the affairs of the state for moment. And in that sense, we are extremely lucky to live in this place of such beauty. After making our way back out of the valley, we returned home the way we came.
It was a memorable day and Terri and I really appreciated the opportunity to join in the fun with the Misfits. Oh and one more thing that I wanted to point out, we left the Sacramento area around 8:45 and we were back home with still some day left to get a few things done around the house before the day was over. You just can’t beat a day like this one! So take that chance to get on those bikes and go explore this wonderful place I feel confident that you will be glad you did.
Additional photos contributed by James Graham