Days 17 & 18: Finally on the East Side!

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Day 17

After waking up at one of the greatest and most unique gas stations in the country (the Mobil AKA best fish tacos AKA perfect free camping with a view), we stopped by Zach’s favorite coffee shop in the world ~ Latte Da in the town of Lee Vining, a cute little town on the shore of Mono Lake! We had a very slow morning and enjoyed some super delicious coffee and breakfast sandwiches under the shade of the aspens. After hanging out for a while and getting properly caffeinated, we started northwards on Highway 395! The road was pretty busy and a little spooky to ride on, but beautiful all the same.

The day wasn’t too eventful after the restful morning, but we did stop in a little town called Bridgeport to eat a snack and grab some fuel from an outdoors shop! If you’ve read Jack Kerouac‘s Dharma Bums, you’ll know all about the beauty of Bridgeport. It’s an old time western town right in the heart of the Eastern Sierra - not too far from places like Mammoth Lakes, Tahoe, and Yosemite - and it has a host of its own attractions like hot springs, huge peaks, and loads of trailhead access into the Sierras. Kerouac‘s novel is a story about a trip up Matterhorn Peak, the tallest mountain in the Alps-like Sawtooth Ridge, and the three of us were equally inspired by it’s adventurous tales after reading it at different points in our lives!

I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures”

With the peaks of the Sierras in the backdrop, we kept cruising northwards towards Lake Tahoe! We made it to the base of Monitor Pass, one of the major passes on Tahoe’s famous cycling race known as The Death Ride. We ate a classic dinner of Top Ramen mixed with peanut butter (AKA trash pad Thai) and hunkered down for a good night’s sleep.

Day 18

The day started with the massive climb up Monitor Pass, which was just as beautiful as it was steep!

After the pass, we had a super fast and exciting downhill section that brought us to the town of Markleeville where we grabbed some coffee and ate some snacks! We then continued on Highway 89 towards South Lake Tahoe through some beautiful scenery and winding roads. The excitement of finally reaching Tahoe (and hitting the 1000 mile mark) kept us cruising all day long!

We reach South Lake and had to head straight to Camp Richardson for some triple scoop ice cream to fill our hungry stomachs!

Our plan was to meet up with our roommates from Cal Poly, Will and Fred, and hit the beach for the afternoon with my amazingly wonderful friend Gloria from high school in Indiana (who is one of the most kind and loving humans on this planet and recently moved to Tahoe)! Little did I know, another one of my favorite humans on the entire planet (the always sneaky & ever-so-smiley Keekee) was in cahoots with Will and Fred to surprise us with a visit to Tahoe from SLO! The appearance of Keekee from behind a tree, baguette in hand and sporting the most stylish of overalls, was an absolute day-maker :) Once the gang was together, and the shock of the surprise visit had settled in, we went down to the lake and swam around!

Once we’d had our fill of the frigid waters, we all grabbed some food at a super delicious burger spot (which had some of the best sweet potato fries around) and drove back to our campsite by the water in South Lake. After a group near us was repeatedly approached by a black bear for about an hour, Keekee and I went down to the beach for a peak at the sunset while Will, Zach, and Dylan played Wingspan in the tent! If you haven’t heard of or played Wingspan, I highly recommend you check it out.

Overall, it was a beautiful few days and we were unbelievably excited to be in Tahoe! The beauty and magic of the area never cease to amaze me.

Day 19

When we woke up in South Lake, we drank some coffee and packed up the gear at camp. Our plan was to bike along the west shore of the lake up to the Streetman’s house in Squaw Valley! Luckily both Will and Keekee we’re driving up that way and offered to take our bags for us. The risa was absolutely beautiful, but a bit spooky near Emerald Bay. The road had no shoulder, cliffs on either side, and the sprinter vans were flying by with no regard for our safety ~ but we made it past the bay and finally hopped on the bike path which followed the shore up until our turnoff for Squaw!

We followed a little side trail at one point that led us down to Sugar Pine Point State Park and the beautiful beach and mansion on the property.

Once Will has driven to Fred’s, he biked down to the state park and met us for some beach time! After hanging for a bit, we all rode the bike path up to Squaw along the ultra-scenic Truckee River. We arrived at the Streetman’s home in the afternoon and we’re excited to take it easy (although Dylan decided to bike all the way to Truckee to get his bike looked at without giving a heads up). Zach needed some gear from the bike shop and I needed to swing by a med check to get my toe looked at, so Keekee, Zach, and I went to go pick up Dylan and run some errands.

When we arrived back at the house, Mrs. Streetman was preparing a delicious dinner of burgers and salad - which was promptly eaten at high speed by a bunch of hungry youngins! With full stomachs and tired bodies, we all went to sleep quite early and slept like rocks.

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