Day 1 – The Departure

Day 1

Date: 06/02/2016 Thursday
Starting Location: San Carlos, CA (Paul’s House)
Ending Location: Bridgeport, CA (Hotel)
Starting Odometer:
Ending Odometer:
Mileage Today
:  268 Miles
Mileage Total:  276 miles

All about today…

Yesterday, I departed from Belmont, CA and made my way to Paul’s house in San Carlos, a short 4 mile trip.  After a few chips and a cookie or two, we called it a night and crashed for the evening.

The day started at about 6AM, giving me only 6 hours of sleep, which will come back to haunt me later.  But, up and atom, and away I went.

Paul was helping with the video work in the morning, and as a team, we had not rehearsed much, so the video is a little rough, but hell, this is an adventure right?

The music

After planning a trip like this for several months, and then realizing that it’s finally here, the level of anticipation I had was pretty high.  And so as I left Paul’s house, the level of anticipation I was feeling was pretty high.  So, it seems appropriate that the first song in the “Leaving the bay area” playlist would be Anticipation by Carly Simon.

As all of you know, I’m riding alone on this trip, so it’s important to have a way to prevent the onslaught of boredom, and i think the best way to solve this problem is to include music.  Music sets the mood, and it allows you to think about what you’re hearing, and capitalize on the music to set your mood.  Haven’t you ever wanted to turn on music with a strong beat, while jogging or running.  Or perhaps played music while cross-country skiing?  Or even played some Driving music while you were driving in your car.  Me too.

In this case, I’m not going to play just any old music.  I’m going to play a new type of music that I’m calling Bay-Area-Appropriate music.  Simply put, this is music that is appropriate to play as you leave, or return to the Bay Area.  In my case, I’m leaving, and so I wanted to conjure up the right kind of mood for the first hour or so, as I rode away from the Bay Area.  So, what was the music?

The playlist for my departure included the following songs and more

  • Journey – Lights
  • Led Zeppelin – Going to California
  • Chris Isaak – San Francisco Days
  • Joe Jackson – San Francisco Fan
  • Starship – We built this city
  • The Beatles – Back in the USSR
  • Van Morrison – Moondance
  • Canned Heat – On the road again

The mood was right, the music was playing, and I was moving.

The route – Meandering, but still great


When I created the routes that I’ll be using throughout the trip, I created them using Garmin’s PC based mapping program.  It’s called Basecamp, and it’s a very good and very flexible program.  The BMW Navigator V, the GPS that I use on the bike is also a very capable, and very advanced piece of technology.  While both pieces of tech are superb in their own right, the files that are transferred from the PC to the GPS system are flawed themselves.  Here’s an example to spell it out for you.

Within Basecamp, you add Waypoints to a map, and then you ask the program (Basecamp) to create a route that connects the points, in the proper order.  When you ask for this to be done, you are also allowed to use profiles to set preferences, which are used when the route is created.  For example, you can set your preferences to avoid highways, or not to take toll roads, etc.

You make these selections within Basecamp, and when you’re done, you transfer the way points, and the name of the route to the GPS.  This is done by transferring a GPX file.  GPX files (this is a very simplified explanation) must include the coordinates for each way point, and the way-points in the order that they are within the route.

The problem comes when you realize that you can also set preferences on your GPS.  The preferences you set in the GPS, are often not the same as the same preferences as they are set in the PC App (Basecamp).  So, although you’ve created several way points, and created a route that looks correct within the PC App, after you transfer them to the GPS, the GPS will recalculate the routes when it imports.

And that’s what happened to me…

You’ll see in the map above that instead of crossing the San Mateo Bridge as you might have expected, i crossed over to the East Bay on HWY 84, and instead of getting on HWY 880 to 580, the route took me across many windy and welcoming back roads, throughout Contra Costa County.  In the end, I eventually connected with HWY 580, and continued East, towards Yosemite.


The first big, important milestone is Yosemite National Park.  I’ve been through Yosemite many times.  Our group of friends camped in, hiked through, and enjoyed the scenery of Yosemite for the last 21 years.  A very good friend (Ralph) was the person that initially shared the wonders of Yosemite with me, and I’ve returned there many times since.

If you’ve not been through Yosemite, you should try it for sure.  This park is huge, and it’s magnificent.  The roads are well maintained, and there is something to see at almost every turn.  Riding through Yosemite this time was a little bit different this time however.  This is the first time that I’ve ridden through Yosemite on a motorcycle, rather than being in a car, or in an SUV.

For sure, one benefit is that on a bike, I’m able to pass cars, SUVs and mobile homes much easier.  The bike accelerates quickly, and is able to duck in behind cars without much trouble at all.

During this trip through Yosemite, I was taken aback by how many times I would come upon another important place in Yosemite, and the memories would come rushing back.

Over the years, our good friend Ralph put together numerous trips to Yosemite.  He seemed to always know how to find another one of the treasures of Yosemite, and he’d share it with us.  We were probably there 15 times over the years, and as I rode through the park, all of those years of memories greeted me.  I was in heaven.

The trip across Yosemite is more than a 50 mile drive, meandering through meadows and  canyons, over peaks and valleys, and along rivers and lakes.  Eventually, you arrive on the other side of Yosemite (The Eastern Gate), and after a quick 17 mile drive to the far end, you arrive at highway 395

Leaving Yosemite – Time for Tacos

The Whoa Nellie Deli is located in a Mobil gas station on a hilltop just west of the intersection of U.S. Route 395 and California State Route 120, one mile south of the business district of the small town of Lee Vining, California.  This place has amazing Fish Tacos!

Ok, Ok, I guess I need to clear a few things up for those of you that have never been to the Whoa Nellie Deli.  This is a deli for sure, but it’s more like a gathering spot, with a strong history.  We’ve stopped there many times to get gas, and grab something to eat.  It seems inevitable that because it’s located on Hwy 120 & 395, just outside of Yosemite’s E Gate, this deli would be a little bit different.  And it is.

They often have live music in the summer, and the kitchen makes these fish tacos which are truly something that many people drive for hundreds of miles to enjoy.  (hmmm, I made that up.  I’m not sure if anyone has traveled this far for Tacos, but it’s plausible, right?).  In any case, this place is an institution, and on my last run through Yosemite for what is likely to be a number of years, I needed my fish taco fix.

California’s official ghost town

You might think that when a town has the designation of California’s official Ghost Town, that it is a kitschy tourist trap, full of western reenactments, and “pioneer days” celebrations.  That’s not the case with BodieBodie was an active mining town until about 1920, and then one day, there wasn’t enough mining to make money, so everyone just left.  When they left, they left all of the buildings intact, and the general store even has items in the windows, with the price tags still on them.


The video below shows how I entered Bodie State Park.  The road to the park is about 1 mile of tar, followed by about 12-15 miles of rough, corrugated dirt road.  There is a warning sign that tells all drivers that the road could take them as long as 50 minutes, and they should plan accordingly.  This road is called Cottonwood Canyon Road, which is located off of route 167.

Driving this road on a BMW GSA is pleasure, and I was at speeds between about 15 – 40 mph, slowing down only when gravel or turns indicated that I should tread lightly.  The video shows Bodie in the distance, clearly visible beyond the Ranger Station, and firmly planted on the hillside that Bodie rests on.  Enjoy the short video.


I’ve created 2 slide shows to show you what Bodie looks like.  There is a slideshow for the buildings, and another that contains pictures of the machines of Bodie.  Enjoy.

NOTE: Due to bandwidth limitations at the hotel in Bridgeport, and also in Pahrump, I’ve been unable to create the galleries.  This will come later, perhaps tomorrow.

Bodie – A movie filmed here

While at Bodie I learned of a Hollywood movie that had been filmed in Bodie in 1929.  More than three weeks after I originally visited Bodie, I’ve added this section to the post to allow you all to see the movie that was filmed in Bodie, in 1929.  Enjoy

Bodie Buildings – Picture Gallery

Bodie Machines – Picture Gallery

I’ve already talked about the road into Bodie, but when I left Bodie, I took another route out, which starts with about 3 miles of unpaved road, followed by about 10 miles of tarred road.  Most people travel to and from Bodie on this road, but not me….

A long day, with a late start

By the time I got to the Redwood hotel I was exhausted.  I still needed to find some dinner, and work on the Blog.  I ended up going to bed around 10PM.

Tomorrow – Death Valley

Tomorrow morning, I’ll make my way South, and drive through Death Valley.  I’m going to need to manage my fluid intake, and ensure that I stay as cool as possible.  But, I’ve got some pretty cool, high-tech gear that should help.  More on that tomorrow…


About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.


  1. Just Wonderful Cliff, it’s like starting a new book, I can’t wait for the next page. I’m riding beside you.

    1. Thanks Bruce, it’s nice to have you and everyone else following me along and wishing me well.

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