Drive from Salt Lake City to Lee Vining

Trip Start Nov 01, 2009
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Trip End Nov 30, 2010


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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ROAD TRIP DAY 10 - We said our goodbyes to the Barrell family in SLC, who had been amazing to us, and set out on our long drive to Yosemite, via Lake Tahoe, with a pack lunch in hand.

The interstates in the US are crazy. They have about 8 lanes with everyone going so fast - you really have make sure you are in the correct lane when your exit is coming up or else you don’t stand a chance of getting across the lanes in time. This is made particularly difficult when your exit may be on the right or on the left!. On the I-80 we saw loads of massive lorries, which looked like they were transformers…robots in disguise. We needed to stay on the I- 80 for most of the way, which didn’t make for a very interesting drive. After a few hours of driving, we had a break at one of the ‘rest stops’ that can be found along the interstate. We tucked into our homemade sandwiches followed by our chocolate brownies, which tasted just as good as we had remembered. I wanted to eat all of them, but Doog being very sensible, said we would enjoy them even more later with a cup of tea…I reluctantly agreed.

As we neared Lake Tahoe and exited the interstate, we saw a car in the next lane to us crash into the back of the one in front of it. We hoped that we would get our car back unscathed, although the insurance cost an absolute fortune which almost made us want to use it!

By the lake side road we saw lots of yellow warning signs saying ‘Bear Xing’ and then a picture of mummy and baby bear crossing the road, so we kept our eyes peeled, hoping we might see a bear. The massive Lake Tahoe then came into view. The sun was shinning down on it and the water was shimmering making it look really pretty. We made a brief stop to look at it but then it was back into the car for the last part of our journey to Yosemite. As we crossed state borders from Utah to Nevada and then to California we gained an extra hour, which helped us out a bit. As we were leaving Lake Tahoe, we drove behind a car which had a Labrador on its back seat. The dog had his head out of the open back window and then ran across the back seat to stick his head out of the window on the opposite side. He kept running from one window to the other as if he couldn’t decide which side he preferred, it was very funny to watch.

We had planned to stay the night in Lee Vining, a small town just outside Yosemite so that we could go to the park early the next day. To get there, we had to go over ‘Monitor Pass’, a windy road that took us over the mountains on a really scenic route to Hwy 395. Luckily for us, although it was 8.15pm it was still light and the views were stunning.

We arrived in Lee Vining at around 9pm and we started to get a bit concerned when we saw ‘No Vacancy’ signs on all the motels we drove past. I asked anyway at one motel and was told there was only space left in one B & B. Doog and I could tell from the outside that the B & B (called Hess House) was far too nice for us and likely to be out of our price range but the alternative was driving back in the direction we had just come from, to a town 30 minutes away. I went inside to ask about the cost whilst Doog waited in the car. The lady running Hess House, Vianesa, was really nice and the house was beautiful - so at a cost of $110/night (far too expensive for us) we decided to stay. Vianesa had a little fat black Cocker spaniel called Sammy, who seemed very unsure of us being in his home, but became a little less vocal after a while.

Our room had beautiful white crisp linen on the bed, fluffy pillows and soft white towels - such luxury! The first thing we needed to do was eat. It was 9.30pm (10.30pm Utah time) so we were hungry! The only restaurant still open in Lee Vining was ‘B-B-Q’, which seemed to be very popular with both tourists and locals and so we had to wait a while for a table.

We got a bit carried away when it came to our time to order with Doog going for back beef ribs and me for pork ribs which came with soup and salad. While we waited for our food, we helped our self to soup and salad at the salad bar…something we regretted when our meals arrived. They were MASSIVE!!! Doog had a whole cow on his plate along with chips and beans and mine was just as huge. We sat there for the first 5 minutes completely overwhelmed by what we had to eat. Doog decided to just try and tackle the ribs, whilst I went for a bit of everything approach. It was very messy and Doog managed to get BBQ sauce all over his face. I couldn’t stop laughing at the whole situation, Doog with sauce all over his face and the mountain of food we had on our plates. Half way through we both felt completely stuffed. Doog however successfully ate all his ribs and I had made a good effort. We sat there unable to move for a while before struggling with the short walk back to our luxurious B & B.
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