October 30, 2013

California Road Trip: Part 3

(Can you make out the A-frame house on the top of the mountain?)

On our way out to Bodie and leaving from Bodie, we meandered through some stunning parts of Nevada and California.  For some reason, I always imagined Nevada as a flat desert with no trees.  Well, that may be true in part of it, but in the South Lake Tahoe region, it is stunningly beautiful.

We decided to take the long way around to Bodie because, well, we had no set schedule and the road was calling our name.  This ended up being some of the most stunning, awe-inspiring land that I have ever seen in the lower 48 (Alaska still wins for best rugged wilderness).

We spent the night in Bishop, which is this town that just seems to appear out of nowhere in the valley of high peaks.  It was rather glorious to see street lights and civilization when you are hungry.  We found a delicious local burger place with a super yummy coconut/chocolate milkshake that was the perfect way to end the day.  And our motel used giant rosemary bushes as their landscaping decor.

When we left Bishop the next morning, I got excited because we were headed to the ocean.  And as much as I truly enjoyed every second of the mountains and was in awe of their beauty, I have salt water in my veins.  The ocean is my favorite.

We decided to make a pit stop at Mt. Whitney which is the highest peak in the lower 48 and a big spot for climbers and backpackers.  It was like driving straight up the side of the mountain to get to the highest parking lot (in the CLOSED National Park area).  We saw several people up there, ignoring the closed signs and hiking anyway.  It was so beautiful, that far away peak.
Then one last stop at the Trail of 100 Giants, which was my first introduction to the larger than life Sequoias.  Talk about feeling small...but more on that at another time.  The rest of the drive was spent on curvy roads through mountain ranches and finally through the flat farmlands where miles and miles of fruits and vegetables grow.  That was pretty amazing to see too.  Oh and passing about 30 (not exaggerating) closed National Park campsites, hiking trails, picnic areas and fishing spots.  It was like a slap in the face, each and every time.

Photos never do places like this justice, but here are a few just because I couldn't help snapping 100 every place we stopped.....

(I loved that we could stop anywhere and as often as we wanted to.  There were thousands of pull-offs along the way.  I love that we took quite a few photos together.  Even if I look 45 years old in this particular one.  Harsh light!)

(Miles and miles and more miles of beautiful nothing.)

(I had to stop and get a picture of the yellow Aspens against the evergreens.  And the cattle gates too.  We passed 100's of them) 

(Giant rosemary bushes all along the edges of the motel.  They smelled glorious)

(The Aspens were stunningly yellow.  I think we stopped in the middle of the road to get this shot.  Middle of nowhere)

(On the road straight up to Mt. Whitney.  That beautiful valley below.)

(There was an older couple who pulled their enormous motor home into this pull off to have lunch.  The view was ridiculous.  We just ate our PBandJ's sitting in the back seat of our rental.)

(The temperature literally dropped about 25 degrees on the drive up to Mt Whitney.  There was snow up there and lots of people jumping the closed gates to hike in spite of the government shut-down.)

(The Bro drooling over Mt Whitney.  I think it was physically painful for him to drive away from it and not be able to climb it.  Thank you, government shut-down.)

(The tiny road we drove straight up.  What a view...)

California Road Trip:  Part I, Part II

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