On the edge of our seat!

Trip Start Aug 25, 2012
Trip End Sep 29, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We packed our bags, and headed out to pick up our rental. We thought since we were heading to the wide open spaces ie outdoors, we should hire a 4wd for off road drives.  Little did we know, in national parks, you really cant go off road, err derrr..LOL

Anyway, we picked up the car, and were off for the 6+ hour drive that was ahead of us.  For some reason I decided to drive, thinking I had the knack of driving on the other side of the road. Canada was great for that!  The streets of San Fran were great, but getting on the Bay Bridge was a different story!  I forgot how intimidating it is, getting on a "freeway" with cars zooming past you.   We drove for about 2 hours before stopping off for lunch at Subway.

To date the food so far hasn't been anything to rave about.  We were told what to expect and it really has lived up to its reputation.  The food in LA wasn't too bad, but apart from that we are struggling to find good places.  We have noticed there are definitely a lot of burger and fries joints, whether its from the standard Maccas, Burger King etc, or the diners, cafes etc.  Everywhere you look there is burger and fries. 

We continued our drive and noticed the cars we were traveling with turned left, while I continued to go straight.  I had a hunch they were heading to Yosemite National Park, and I should have followed them LOL!  I decided to follow the trusty GPS, which led us to the Stanislaus National Forest.   The initial drive of the forest was great, but before long, this drive did not turn out to be a casual drive.  I was on the edge of my seat, and had two freaks outs during this drive.  To explain, the GPS led us to the Sonora Pass.  This pass had some stunning scenery, and even had cows in the middle of the road and random points.  The reason for my freakouts though, was that Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass)  winds its way up through the forest with an elevation of 9624 feet above sea level.  To put this into perspective, you can jump out of a plane at 10000 feet.  Now the height combined with the narrow road, tight turns, steep slopes and drops with unguarded edges, left me wondering at times if we were going to drive over the edge!  This drive felt like it took forever!  There were turnouts, as the Americans call it, which is a stretch of road you can pull over to, however on this pass, they were tiny and on the side of the road that will potentially plummet you down to the bottom of the mountains!  One false move and its over red rover.  Its a shame we didn't get any pics, but we both wanted to get off the pass as quickly as we got on it.

Eventually we started to feel a little more sane and safe.  In the middle of nowhere, where we thought we saw civilisation again, we found in the middle of nowhere the US marine Corps high altitude training centre.  We reached a small town, where we filled up the tank with petrol and continued on our journey until we came across Mono Lake.  Looks like one of the good things about taking the Pass was we would get to see this Lake. Jase has seen a few pics of this lake before.  We detoured to have a look, and upon our path we met a deer.    The deer was hiding behind some bushes, checking out if it was safe to come out.  It eventually did, until Jase made a sound and it ran off.  The limestone coming out of the lakes were quite interesting.  Upon visiting the lake, I had a quick look at some history and found the limestone or Tufas as they are called, only surfaced after LA diverted water from the lake for their watering needs. 

We continued on our journey.  We actually weren't staying in Yosemite, we had decided to stay in Mammoth Lakes which was about an hour drive to the park.  We ended up getting to the hotel around 7:30pm.  Huge driving day!  We were exhausted!  We headed out for a quick bite to eat, and found that most of the cafes and  restaurants were closed, except a pizza place.  We ordered it to go, as we had a one bdrm apartment, so decided to relax in for a change ...

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