Tuesday, September 15, 2009

From Lander, Wyoming, to Lee Vinning, California

We left Lander and headed west where our friends Alan and Sharon were already parked outside of Yosemite. The first leg was pretty easy, with no wind across South Pass, and little traffic on our route. We had decided to miss interstate 80 by going north and west through Idaho, before heading south again.
We were pretty much following the Oregon Trail and reminders of it were posted along the way. Renita spent some time behind the wheel, about two hours and it was a good easy drive for her. Farson, and Kemmerer and Diamondville and Cokeville all passed along with a memorial to the coalminers who died in underground mine disasters. We drove by Opal and I thought of how our nephew Blaine had endured a year there.
Crossing into Idaho, the traffic remained light and we thought about staying at Bear Lake,(recommended by Matt and Patty), but we felt good and drove past Pocatello and on to Declo, Idaho. California beckoned.
From Declo we headed west to Twin Falls and then south to Wells, Nevada. As soon as we crossed into Nevada, billboards for brothels started to appear. One advertised "A shot of tequila, cold beer on tap,a good looking lady to sit on your lap". Seeing as I already had a great looking lady and only drink wine nothing really appealed to me.
As we drew near Wells, a spectacular mountain range appeared, the Ruby Mountains. They were a beautiful range and I didn't even know they existed,(When I retired one of my fellow teachers told us that the Ruby Mountains were his favorite place in the USA, and we could see why).
We got on interstate 80 and drove between the Humbolt and Trinity Mountains. We passed the lava flows and a sign at the Forty Mile Desert told of the hardships faced by the pioneers along the California emigrant trail. Renita told me of all the rock art alongside the road, hearts and peoples names stacked on the dried playa lake bed. A crosswind blew, as a weak front was passing, and the driving was harder but the miles still passed by.
We drove through Carson City, past the Comstock Mine and the Moonlight Bunny Ranch.Small casinos dotted the city but we both are pretty much bored by casinos, lucky I guess,(Have you ever seen someone smiling as you walk though them, it seems like you only see that in the commercials).We turned south onto 395 and parked at Carson Valley Rv Park, which is also a casino.
I registered us after we parked and I walked through the casino where the smell of cigarettes assaulted my whole body and I decided not to gamble even with the free coupons given to us at registration. When will this country stop secondhand smoke pollution(I quit smoking myself six years ago and am now a fervent anti smoker!)?
A Traders Joes was back toward Carson City and we restocked our pantry with healthy foods, including Renitas favorite rice. Signs told of our nearness to Lake Tahoe but we had already visited that when I had attended an aerospace convention in Reno long ago. On that trip we had rented a car and spent a day picnicking and driving around the lake and so we ignored the signs, at least on this trip.
The next day we had a late start and turned south into 395, heading to California and friends waiting and new sights to see. The first leg was a steep climb up into the Sierras,(Renita looked them up on a map and said they were called the Sweetwater Mountains). We loved the scenery, it is so much like Jackson Hole, and the Bighorns.
Sagebrush flats were interspersed with pine covered hillsides and hard rock faces above it all.
We crossed two passes before heading down a really steep grade and Mono Lake appeared before us. As we passed it we saw the white mounds of tufa standing above the surface. Our destination appeared and as we turned in we saw our friends Alan and Sharon standing by their fiver, the familiar green ford truck parked along side.It made our hearts felt good, as friend's welcomes always do. Clear skies,

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