- Ed drops her bike in Vergil's driveway on the RIGHT pannier.
- Wendy dumps the bike on gravel road in Death Valley on the RIGHT pannier.
- Wendy dumps the bike in a Forest Rangers parking lot, on the RIGHT Pannier.
- Pannier has had enough abuse and decides to part ways and start a new life in an Orange grove, alone.
- Ed finds lost runaway and beats it back into shape with a Hammer.
- Wendy Re-united with lost pannier.
- Wendy cries.
- Ed gets a hug.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Day 18 - Lost gear, a search, and a night in Fresno.
After an amazing night at lake Isabella's Tillie camp ground, we needed to ride North West to a spot near the entrance to Yosemite National Park. This will set us up for only a 45 minute ride into the park the following day.
The original plan was to ride north along the mountains through Kern and along the Kern River HWY. While gassing up the bikes a local we chatted with told us that road was closed. We decided to ride down the mountain via HWY 155. We were told by a guy in Ridgecrest this road was a hoot and a popular ride for bikers out of Bakersfield. Twist and turn for what seemed like forever. What a blast and we got some real nice video footage on the GoPro cams.
We decided to go up to California Hot Springs and the Sequoia National Monument for a lunch break. This road ended close to where we started in the morning and was also a fun twisty ride.
Back down the hill and through farming land and Orange Groves until we ran into HWY 99. North to Fresno and that would put us in close to the Yosemite Park South gate.
California Hot Springs Resort
As we rode through Selma, a town just south of Fresno, we made a roadside stop to adjust some gear. I looked at Wendy in my rearview and something didn't seem right. Sure enough her right side Pannier (pan-yer) box had gone missing. This is the same side the bike landed on all 3 times it fell over. I guess it got bent fasteners and vibrated loose. We had no idea where or when it could have broken free. I was think of nothing but the 120 miles of twisty mountain roads we'd just come through and what lonely ditch it might be in right now.
After a brief conversation at the closest gas station we had hatched the plan. We would ride 35 miles back south on HWY 99 together then she would search that area of highway alone. I would continue the rest of our route searching for the missing box.
I was worried when we went our separate ways because we'd not been apart on the bikes and we only had 1 working cell. She was a trooper and did her part searching the highway and getting us a room at the agreed upon hotel.
I rode back the way we'd come and had little hope of spotting the lost box. I stopped at 2 spots we had been and asked around a little. I even flagged down a cop to see if anyone had made a report. 75 miles from the gas station I'd started my search from I noticed 2 farmers standing by their truck between 2 orange groves. I thought for a second I should stop and ask them then decided not to. Because spent some time looking to the right side of the road at the 2 guys, I needed to look back and to my left to see the road I'd not scanned (doing 70+).
WHAT! Something caught my eye. Could it by? I slammed on my brakes and turned around to find "IT". The box, our little road warrior, had broken free and tumbled 60 mph into an orange grove and came to rest 1 row back behind a tree. I would have never seen it from the direction I was going. Looking back was the only way I would have spotted it.
Contents were blended, lid busted open, animals had already invaded the contents, but it was all there. I closed it best I could, unloaded the firewood I'd been saving and strapped it to the back of my bike. Thrilled I'd found our little runaway I still had a 75 mile ride back to the hotel where I could share the news.
I thought she was gonna cry when I pulled in. We are all together again and with a little bending and hammering I had the box back on the bike and the lid closed ready to go in about a half hour.
Total damage report:
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