Sunday, 1 May 2011


When one gets set to embark on a long journey - especially in another country - it is customary for one to check one's route.

Oh dear.

Before we came, things we had booked included Vegas and Yosemite - in that order. So we would drive from the former to the latter. Many of the roads in the mountains shut around winter because of the snow and icy conditions, one of which is the road that goes into the east side of Yosemite park. I knew this.

So when we were in Vegas we knew we had a night to fill in between Sin City and Yosemite so we looked at the route up the eastern side of the state, and found a nice little city called Bishop in Inyo County that we could stop off at on the way.

It was about a five-hour drive from Vegas but we had all day, so that was fine. And the next day we'd just have a two-hour journey into the park.

Oh no we wouldn't. As we were fast approaching Bishop, I decided to look at the not-very-detailed map in my Rough Guide. Crap. That road that I knew was shut? That's the very road we were heading for. Double crap. We hastily stopped at a McDonald's to use its trusty WiFi and consult Google Maps. More crap. Even more roads were closed. It would take us eight hours to drive north, then west across the Sierra Nevada mountains and then south to enter Yosemite from the west side.

It's really annoying when the satnav announces she is "recalculating"; if only she had recalculated for us this time.

In the end, it turned out to be a great day. Our motel was characterful and had cable so we (I) could see Kate's dress and some live coverage of the latter part of the wedding.

We also managed to go via Mono Lake, an incredible sight with its calcium towers (tufa) coming out of the lake. I didn't think we'd get to see this. Bonus.

The drive across the Sierra Nevada was kind of hairy, in that we had to drive through avalanche areas and that the snow drifts up the side of the road were about 12-feet high. And, rather disconcertingly, that there were big sticks that lined the sides of the road of about the same height, presumably so you could tell where the road is when the snow is that high. Yikes. I didn't take very many pictures through here for fear of Adam crashing (for no reason, apart from that I have a heightened sense of danger!). This is a pic when we were through the scariest part.

A mere hour or so after coming out of the mountains were in the greenest of valleys (which FYI was ripe for the car game horse: see a horse, shout 'horse', win a point; see a horse box, shout 'horse box' win three of your opponents' points - I won).

We left Bishop at 8am and arrived at Yosemite, richer with even more sights, at about 7pm. This was our home for three nights.

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