July 11, 2011 Pleasanton to Tonopah, NV

After all the hype of pre-trips and minus one day until the trip, the actual trip cross-country started today. And only 15 minutes late! Our first stop is at the McDonald’s in Manteca for some breakfast fuel. Since I am on a diet, we have to be very particular about what we eat. An Egg McMuffin, no cheese, is a good way to start the day. We’ve brought along our friends Clark and Lewis for breakfast as well.

Clark and Lewis breakfast at McDonald's

Then it’s back in the car and some slogging through Escalon and Oakdale as we encounter every large truck or pickup towing a boat on CA 120. But finally we break free in the beautiful Sierra foothills and get out for a stretch at an overlook of the Don Pedro Reservoir. It has much more water in it than in previous trips.

Don Pedro Reservoir

I actually think I am getting much braver about being on the edge of cliffs because I don’t think I even shut my eyes once on Old Priest Grade. Once we are through the old Western town of Groveland where you expect gunslingers to be trodding down the wooden sidewalks, it’s clear sailing to Yosemite National Park.

Groveland, CA

Of course we have to pose beside the welcome to Yosemite National Park sign. Clark and Lewis get into the act as well. They are doing a controlled burn right at the entrance to the park so we are in and out of the smoke as quickly as possible.

Welcome to Yosemite!

Our next stop is at Olmstead Point where there is a spectacular view of Half-Dome. We ask another tourist to take our picture. Then we take a picture of a German tourist and his daughter. It seems that many of the tourists there are Germans. John finds out that he is from Frankfurt. When we tell him that we are going to Frankfurt next year he seems pleased.

The happy couple

The scenery in Yosemite is magnificent. John and I have an interesting discussion about granite domes and magma. Next we stop for a picnic lunch by Tenaya Lake. There are Germans in the water! There is still snow on the ground here. It must be freezing in the water.

John at lunch with snow in the background.
Mary at lunch with Tenaya Lake in the background.

Exiting the park, we take a break at the Whoa, Nellie, Deli in Lee Vining. They have very special prices for gas there. I glad we filled up in Manteca!

The only gas for miles

Right up the road from Lee Vining is Mono Lake with its strange tufa towers. The water table has been lowered by the water needs of Los Angeles and left these formations exposed. We’ve been there before so decide to continue on to Tonopah.

Mono Lake

We’ve also been to Tonopah before. We know that it is a dreary looking place with no place decent to eat. Planning ahead, we froze two portions of shrimp creole and brown rice and brought it along. There’s a microwave in the room and we are set for the evening. On to St. George, UT tomorrow!

Mining Park at Tonopah, NV

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