We are on the way up 395 to begin a short tour of the Eastern Sierra. For many years, Roger and I have traveled this route on our way up to our daughter's home in North Tahoe. One of the prettiest sections of the road goes through Walker Canyon, alongside the river. It's usually just at a modest level of flow, and with the recent years of drought, it's been downright puny.
|Not supposed to have this before we ride, but oh, well!|
Many years ago, when Roger was doing a lot of touring with his buddies, they took a trip on this route and rode down the canyon adjacent to the raging river. As events of our youth often do, this trip has assumed apocryphal status in Roger's memory and he has long sought to recreate it. Every time we make the trip, he talks about that time and expresses his desire to ride the tandem down the Walker River 'when there is some water in it.'
Well, the winter just past having delivered a mountain of snow to the Sierras, coupled with a few nice hot days this week, have resulted in an expected 'record flow' on the Walker River this Friday. And we will be there. After 17 years of hearing about it, we are primed to do our own 'river run' with Autumn, Dana and one of Rogers old buds, Steve.
The logistics of planning a trip like this are daunting. Were we to head out by ourselves for a few days, it would be no big deal. But coordinating with Steve (and his wife, Brielle) - who live on the route, but only part-time - and Dana - who must arrange child care while she's away - introduced a level of complexity akin to coordinating troop movements through a major military campaign. Roger was handing all the arrangements while I took care of pulling out our gear and clothing.
As it stands now, we'll meet Dana in Bishop to begin the climb up old Sherwin Grade through Paradise. She drove to Walker (I think) and then she's taking the bus south with her bike to meet us. We will stay with Steve and Brielle in Lee Vining (after we have climbed both Sherwin and Deadman Summits) and then he's planning to join us the next day and ride along as far as Bridgeport (over Conway Summit).
Roger told him that if he turns around then, he'll miss the river run - which is pretty much the whole reason for the trip. But Steve is concerned that his legs might not be ready for a long day on the bike. To which I would say, 'Really?! You think you are going to have any trouble keeping up with a tandem climbing up hill?' C'mon! And who would want to miss the downhill flight behind the tandem?
Anyway, after we reach Walker, we'll turn around and head back. All in all, it is about 250 miles. I am anxious about the distance and the climbing, but I have done all this before. As long as we keep pedaling, we'll be fine.
Frankly, it's the descents that have me worried; even though I have done them before (or maybe because I have done them before), I am apprehensive. The roads are good and the grades reasonable, and the scenery is spectacular. But they will be fast, and I am still nervous about fast. But - I am 'all in' for this one. It's one of my favorite parts of the world, and I am here with my favorite people. So off we go!