Tuesday, July 12, 2011

June 2010 Vacation Cont'd: Jacksonville to Yosemite

Now that I have finally updated you on the rest of last year's mainland summer vacation, it's time to start wrapping it up with our trip to Yosemite.  Like me, I'm sure you've seen pictures or video of Yosemite on TV, online, in your friends' vacation photos, etc., but I'm telling you right now, unless you've been there, you have no idea how spectacular it is!

We drove from Jacksonville, OR back to Sacramento, CA, and on the way, we decided to stop through Yosemite--might as well, right? It was a little bit out of the way, but not nearly as out of way as it would be once we got back to Hawaii!  We had a nice view along the way.  Nothing special, nothing special, then, ooh!  Something pretty is coming into view!

Well, hello, Pretty! 

After our scenic drive past Mt. Shasta, we continued on the eastern route, which would take us through Carson City, NV.  Along the way, we went through Lassen Volcanic National Park. I'm sure if we'd had time to stay there and explore it a little bit, we would have loved it, but it was sort of a half-assed decision to go there, and we ended up just staying there the night, camping with 53 of our closest friends, you know, exactly the type of camping I don't like, and by the time we got back on the road the next day, we were both just...grumbly.  We were wondering if maybe we'd made a mistake, tacking on this extra portion of the trip.

At some point, something shifted, and by the time we came around to Honey Lake, we were in a better mood.  This is a dry lake, something I'd never seen before, and it was surprisingly pretty.  It's hard to describe, and it's one of those things that doesn't show up all that well in pictures, but the whole thing had a soft, pretty feel to it that was completely different from everything else we'd been seeing.

A little ways past the lake, dust devils started kicking up like crazy in front of the mountains. 

A little further on, and we were starting to see some interesting cloud action and hints of more mountains on the horizon.  

And, we didn't realize it at the time, but we were getting our first glimpses of Yosemite

A little further on, we'd passed through Stanislaus National Forest (OMG, longest URL ever!), and after a few more bends in the road, the mountains were getting closer and now we had a beautiful view of Mono (rhymes with "oh no") Lake as well.  Mono Lake is a saline lake (roughly three times as salty as the ocean), and, among other things, it is home to about eight hundred bazillion alkali flies.  When I first heard about this, it sounded disgusting, but now that I've read a little bit about them, I have to admit, I'm kind of intrigued.   

For some much more stunning photography that probably was not shot out of a rental car window, please check out the two short promotional films that have been put together to promote this beautiful area. 

We knew that Yosemite would probably be amazing, but we had no idea that our drive there would be so spectacular.  Every place that we drove through had a beauty all its own.  If you're thinking about a road trip, you could do worse than this. 

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Tomorrow:  Yosemite!

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