2019 - West Coast USA - Day 12
Another day another dollar. Actually make that two dollars as the exchange rate is rubbish and getting worse by the day, making this trip increasingly more expensive.
Today we moved on from The Alder Inn at South Lake Tahoe. We were sad to be leaving and wished we had another day here. It is difficult to get the timings right when we plan in advance. We also 'err on the side of caution' of wanting more rather than regretting staying too long. Nevertheless it was time to drive south to Mammoth Lakes, the USA’s largest Ski resort and a stopover for us to enter Yosemite from the West.
I mentioned to Karen that today would be her last chance of a Starbucks until we got to Las Vegas, so we scheduled a short stop in Gardnerville which was about a hour into the journey to tide her over.
We had to drive up and over the Sierra Nevada mountains on route and they were as pretty as a picture. In fact if you saw the landscape used as the backdrop for a model railway you would say that it was not real. It was almost too perfect in parts.
Arriving in Gardnerville we decided to ’nip’ into Walmart to take a couple of things back and stock up on provisions. 80 minutes later we finally got out. Twice I managed to lose Karen inside the shop and clocked up 2500 steps inside the store trying to find her. We then went to the Drive Thru Starbucks to get Karen a bucketful of coffee to keep her going for the week. We drove on for another hour before stopping at some state park in a tiny town to eat our lunch on bench in the shade. It was almost like we were on holiday.
A little further on and we came to Mono Basin overlook which was quite impressive before driving on and stopping at the Visitors Centre which was interesting. We got instructions from the Ranger of how we could get to the Devils Postpiles in Mammoth Lakes.
He directed us along the scenic route which took us straight to the Adventure Centre. From here we caught a shuttle through the National Park to the Devils Postpiles stop. It was a 30 minute ride down into the valley and was soon very obvious why normal traffic was not permitted. The road was very narrow, with hairpin bends and no barriers. It was a quite nice being driven for a change. Today I had clocked up 1700 miles driving since I picked the car up.
It was by now flipping boiling and we were met off the bus by a Ranger who gave us an orientation talk plus the usual warnings about taking water with you wherever you went. We set off on the short trail to the Postpipes. These are a smaller version of the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland except you initially view them from below and see the hexagon shapes going up. All most peculiar. There was a trail that led to the top but Karen didn’t fancy it with her knee. Whilst admiring the view we chatted to a couple from Tucson who were celebrating their wedding anniversary with a Road Trip. The guy apologised to me for Trump which was interesting.
The trail back followed the river and so we diverted to that and stood on the bridge for a while. It was beautiful. The shuttle back to the Adventure Centre was very full but we managed to get seats and enjoyed the ride.
We then went to our Hotel for the night - Sierra Lodge to check in. This was another place where the room was not in keeping with the outside of the Hotel. The room was large, clean, bright and really a small studio, whereas the Hotel was a bit dark & dingy and in particular the corridors had seen better days.
For dinner we drove to a place called Burgers which had been recommended. It was heaving with people which we took as a good sign. We had to wait 30 minutes for a table but it was worth it. Karen had a large Tuna Sandwich plate whilst I went for the Sourdough Patty. Both were really good although Karen took half hers away with her as she couldn’t manage it all.
Once back in our room Karen decided to do some washing in the Hotel laundry. It was mainly for my benefit. We had now been away for almost 2 weeks and I had exhausted all the ways of wearing the two pairs of underpants I had brought with me (normal, Inside out, back to front, on my head - to name but a few).
This was another place we thought we could have stayed another day and so we started contemplating that. I was also really tired today. I seemed to have been on the go non stop now for 2 weeks and it was all catching up with me. The driving at times had been hard, but we had had many stops and made it as fun as possible. Even in the evenings I had been catching up on admin and planning in more detail the next days route and activities, whilst Karen was always pottering around with putting things in and out of the fridge and making cups of tea. We thought that we might just need a chilled rest day or even a few hours 'holiday' from the holiday. What first world problems we have.
However when we looked at our final weeks schedule it was not easy to see how we could amend it, without costing us hundreds of pounds in cancelled bookings and allowing us to have downtime in a place worthwhile. So we decided to carry on, as at the end of every day, there’s a bright new beautiful tomorrow....