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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Road Trip, Day Nine

See the end of this post for info about this photo.

Today was the final day of the road trip with my daughter Becky. We started with breakfast in Lee Vining, Calif., where we had stayed the night, and then went to nearby Mono Lake.

Those are limestone deposits called tufa towers in the water near the shoreline.

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was associated with our previous two destinations, Virginia City and Carson City, and today we learned that he came to Mono Lake! He wrote about his trip to Mono Lake and his other adventures in the wild west in his 1872 book "Roughing It."

We departed Mono Lake and took the Tioga Pass to Yosemite.

Most of the world enters Yosemite from south to north; the Tioga Pass took us there via the northern entrance. It was spectacular!

This was my first trip into Yosemite, so when I first saw Half Dome in the distance with the top of El Capitan on the left, it was a very emotional moment.

 And the back side of El Capitan kind of snuck up on us when we pulled into a picnic area for lunch.

Here we are with three icons: El Capitan on the left, Half Dome in the distant center and Bridal Veil Fall on the right.

We stopped for a stroll around the Ahwahnee Hotel.

Becky in the artful hotel entrance:

We arrived at Becky's home in Clovis two hours after leaving Yosemite. 

My son-in-law Mario had been missing his wife something fierce! We went out to dinner to celebrate our arrival.

Road trips are fun and full of adventure, especially with a wonderful travel companion! And now it's time to get on with the realities of day-to-day life. I'll be back in Pasadena tomorrow.

I'll have a couple of more posts about our road trip in the days ahead.

The photo at the top of this post is a closeup of art in the entryway of the Ahwahnee Hotel.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Road Trip - Day Eight

See the end of this post for info about this photo.

Today was supposed to be the last day of the road trip with my daughter Becky, but we added a day just because we could.

We began in Carson City, Nevada, where we laid our heads to rest last night. Carson City is the state capital and a charming little town with a lot of history.

Among the brochures at our hotel was a self-guided driving tour, so we decided that was better than a walking tour because it was dang warm out there! Our tour included many historic sites including the Capitol Building...

...and my favorite because of its history, the Orion Clemens house, which he built in 1863 while serving as secretary to Territorial Governor William Nye. Orion's brother, Samuel Clemens, occasionally visited when he worked for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.

After about an hour of the driving tour, which took us through the charming neighborhoods of historic Carson City, we headed to South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Becky had never been there, so I decided it should be a must-see on this road trip.

We went down to the touristy south shore where the Tahoe Queen is. We looked at the schedule but she was not going out anymore today. That didn't stop us from getting close enough for a look-see.

Then we shared coconut prawns with mango mustard marmalade and grilled pineapple at Riva Grill on the marina. They were superb!

We hit the road again and continued heading south by way of the old Highway 395 -- a truly beautiful drive through some of the most scenic countryside anywhere.

That's Topaz Lake in the photo above.

We came through little Bridgeport, Calif.

Then down to Mono Lake.

We decided that since this is the last night of our road trip and we'll be heading back to Becky's house in Clovis tomorrow, we should enjoy a great meal at the Historic Mono Inn.

This first photo is grainy for some reason (blame it on the waiter!); that's Mono Lake in the background.

Becky had lamb shank in a pomegranate reduction...

...I had duck confit in a blackberry reduction...

...and for dessert we shared flourless chocolate cake.

Who knew gourmet food created by a master chef was available at Mono Lake?!

Tonight we're spending the night in Lee Vining.

Tomorrow (well, technically today since it's midnight as I write this) we'll go to the Mono Lake visitor center and learn more about it, then begin heading to Clovis where Becky and her family live..

I'll post tomorrow afternoon or evening about our travels.

About the photo at the top of this post: On our way down to South Lake Tahoe we went through this tunnel carved through the mountain.