Saturday, May 26, 2012
Today might have turned out better if we had made plans but I seriously doubt it! After our wonderful visit with one of Ben’s best friends from high school and his wife we headed east from San Francisco area. Seemed strange to be looking for the highways going East when we have been coming West for 3 weeks. Today is 3 weeks on the road! We finally got a photo of the famous Solyndra plant as we left Mountain View.
The traffic was very heavy leaving San Francisco and we laughed they were probably all going to Yosemite! We were planning to cross the Sierra Mountains on the Tioga Pass road which goes through Yosemite. We were going to see how things looked when we arrived to decide whether to go into Yosemite Valley or not. Since this was Memorial Day weekend we were not too sure what we would find. We knew there was no camping available in the park. So we just were going to see what happened. There are several roads across the Sierra and as we got closer we noticed signs that Sonora pass was closed but Tioga was open. Good we planned for Tioga.
at a cheese factory in Oakdale and had a great grilled Gouda cheese
and ham sandwich. Watched the guys in the factory a few minutes and drove on to
buy gas. We bought diesel in Escalton for $4.33 a little less than the $4.49 we
paid in Mountain View. On we drove – again we have come through beautiful
foothills with dairy farms and various types of agriculture through the
valley. We continued through very steep
but graceful mountains to reach Groveland. We saw the huge water pipes that
bring the water from the mountains to fill the needs of the San Francisco area.
There was a reservoir and 4 huge pipes as well as some sort of pumping station.
The road climbed several thousand feet with wide switch backs. Groveland was a
mini-Gatlinburg and full of people. We
continued on since it was only 2:30 and we thought we would continue and drive
|Leaving San Francisco|
|Winding switchbacks as we climb to Yosemite|
Ben says to include a word or two about how well our Sprinter is doing. We remember driving the Prelude once to 9,000 or 10,000 feet and it had a hard time with the altitude. The Sprinter takes to the mountains like a goat and with the variety of gears is able to save using the brakes too much.
Coming down from the pass was very different than the ascent. We came out of the snow to sunshine and stark dry rocky mountains. We continued down steep switchbacks to the valley floor and road 395 that we will follow south to Death Valley – this road continues 350 miles to Los Angeles but we will not go that far south.
We looked for a place to stay in two small towns and decided to come on to Mammoth Lakes which looked larger to find a room for the night – while the sun was out it remains cold – 28 degrees! We did not plan for this cold of temps and did not bring the heater…so we looked for a room. We tried 2 motels and no luck – finally on the 4th call to Tamarack Lodge we found a room....their last…well they do have a $399 per night cabin left but that is a little out of our price range.This is a 1924 Ski Lodge with a lot of cabins and dormitory type rooms in the lodge. We have the last of the dormitory type rooms. It is knotty pine, with a sink in the room, a really great bed, a couple chairs, and the bathroom down the hall. The main room of the lodge has old furniture and a huge fireplace….great place to sit and warm up!
We drove back into town (3 miles) and had a great Greek Salad and a Pizza. Would have eaten here except the soonest reservation was 9:30 PM! We were too hungry to wait that long! Snow was falling like in a snow globe as we sat inside and ate dinner - interesting. The folks say it was 70 last week here in Mammoth Lakes. The literature says they get 400+ inches of snow each winter so I guess this is a great snow and ski area.