Friday, May 22, 2009

The Big Drive

So, as I alluded to in my last post, I left beautiful Colorado on Monday afternoon, and began the long drive to Yosemite. I had hoped to find someone to ride along on this part of the trip, but it was not to be, so I'm going solo.

The drive to Yosemite crosses some of the most barren and desolate parts of the country. Leaving Denver, only the small ski resort towns are encountered, and then Glenwood Canyon, where I stopped and made some dinner at a reststop. Grand Junction is the biggest town on the whole drive, so I stopped there for one last big grocery stock-up.
Utah is a big empty desert, with only the small towns of Green River and Delta spread over its many hundred miles of driving. I stopped off the highway to camp.

A long straight road through Nevada

Once you get to Nevada, there are some big mountains, and I stopped briefly at Great Basin Nat'l Park. I talked for a minute with a super nice ranger who checked online for me and found out that Tioga Pass was scheduled to open at 9am the next day. YES! that fits perfectly for me! Next, I stopped in the nice old town of Ely and spent a little while using the wireless in the Public Library (that where I uploaded my last post). The last little town along the way was Tonopah, which I guess is famous for its casinos and having "the darkest, brightest night sky" (or so the banners claimed).

Finally I was getting close to Cali, and I was treated to a gorgeous sunset. I stopped in the national forest between Benton and Lee Vining to camp for the night, it was a super campsite. I think it was pretty high elevation (8000' ish), so it was cool and the trees were giant. I really felt like I was in the Sierra, and John Muir spent many nights bedded down in the same wilderness.

Sunset just before California

Up early the next day, I realized that my campsite was even better that I'd thought: it had a fantastic view of the big mountains. So I made breakfast and enjoyed the view before rolling out.

The pass was indeed open, I guess it had actually opened the previous night, and so my little car made a great effort and we surmounted Tioga and entered the park. Yosemite, my home for the next few weeks! There's still a ton of snow in the high country, so I guess Toulumne is gonna be a good summer hangout.

So I'm here now, but I'll save all the Yosemite stories for another post.

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