After leaving Squaw Valley we ended up riding through the brutal heat of the midday sun. This area close to Fresno was supposed to be hot all week, even hitting a hundred a few days. While riding in and out of service we were able to connect long enough to talk to two of our friends; Joe and Garrett. The plan was to meet them to head up to Shaver lake for the night (which was 15 miles and 4000 feet off course). Luckily we squashed the three of our bikes into the back of Garrett’s Subaru Outback and got a ride up the hill. While waiting for them, we stopped in Tollhouse; a tiny little town with only a gas station and market. As we lay spread eagle on the wood chips under a cold water mister outside the gas station, a man walks up and tells us that there is Italian food served in the market from 4-8, and it happened to be 3:55.
After the hot wreck of a day we had just had we all decided to take an early dinner and stuff ourselves with delicious pasta. The food and shade was impeccable, I felt happy as a clam sitting with my eyes closed after a warm meal cooked on something that isn’t a camping stove. Once we arrived up at Shaver lake, our wonderful friends made us a second pasta dinner of orzo and pesto, and then we sat around a fire eating and recalling stories of our trip. Afterwards, Joe was kind enough to fill our bags with dried food from around the house. The help we have had from friends along the way has been crucial to our enjoyment and survival. After talking for a while, we camped under the stars in order to mitigate contact. I had a great night of sleep in the castle blowing in the cool air between the pine trees.
We had decided that we would ride the hill down in the morning, instead of attempting to fit all of the bikes back into the Subaru. This wasn’t too hard of a decision to make because the ride down from Shaver lake was just an addition to the huge drop in elevation we were about to make. We came from about 6000 feet down to less than 1000 over the course of about 20 miles. It was the easiest 20 miles of the entire trip, flying down one of the backroads we could see Mt. Ritter and a few other huge peaks of the eastern Sierras. This was such a beautiful way to see where we are going to be in a few days and get us excited for what’s to come; the beauty of switching sides of this massive mountain range. As we road towards Yosemite, we planned to go quick up to bass lake area and take a break during the hottest section of the day then finish out the ride to Snow Play (a free camping spot right outside the park). We had a nice afternoon on Manzanita lake eating lunch and cleaning our sweaty bodies in the water.