On my way out of San Francisco I had to go through the mission of finding the supplies for an oil change. For the record, I’ve been using regular Wal-Mart 10w40 oil on my bikes for at least a year now at the suggestion of my mechanical guru and it’s been great. No more synthetic motorcycle-labeled $12 quarts for me. I do change my oil at 3k mile intervals though.
Back to the mission, the coveted Wal-Mart supertech 10w40 is frequently absent from their shelf. Three walmarts and a carquest visit for the filter later, I was able to hit the road again. Coming up on my 3000, I looked for a mechanic shop so I could ask to borrow an oil pan again. I rolled up on a place that seemed more of a biker gang hideout than a mechanic shop; no-expense-spared customized Harleys and guys wearing their mc colors everywhere. They were nice enough though, they hooked me up with something to drain my oil into and I got to work. Fresh oil and a full tank of gas in my baby, I hit the 120 eastbound towards tioga pass. Google maps would have had me bypass an epic section of the 120 with tons of switchbacks, but I had plans otherwise. It was a blast leaning the shadow into those turns. Around 7:30 or so with night approaching I asked locals at a gas station where might be a good place to set up a tent for the night. Of course, it’s only the shadiest of characters that seem to have a clue. I was pointed to a spot just off the 120 about 12 miles further down the road. Coming up on more roadside villages, I spotted a hostel and decided to see how much it would run me. At 30 something, I figured that even though it’s not incredibly unreasonable for being this deep into camping central, I have spent too much time indoors lately anyway. I could use a rough night to get back into the spirit of things. Moreover, hanging out with spendthrift Miami kids in a vacation setting has done horrors to my budget. I found the spot. I was a little worried about it. The space where there was a fire pit was visible from the road. Uncertain of whether it was okay to camp there, I figured it best to have my first real “stealth camp” night. I trekked a little ways into the bush, trying to find a path through the trees that would tuck my tent and bike out of sight from cops or anybody else that might be compelled to mess with me. After finding a good spot, I set up the tent quickly so as to throw everything and myself into it before too many bugs got attracted to the scent.