Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sea level to 10000ft in a four hundred mile journey

Following on from where we left off.

Having stayed out on the balcony eating pizza and drinking beers until late without seeing any whales we awoke quite early to watch the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean and were treated to the sight of whales breaking the surface quite far offshore. Right under our balcony pelicans were gathering on the rocks.

We had a light breakfast as we wanted to save a little room - more of that later, but when we got back to the room a pod of dolphins were close inshore right outside the windows, We did not get any good pictures but they were a real treat to watch

The Inn at the Cove is a fantastic place to stay with stunning views over the Pacific Ocean and super staff who even leave you with towel sculptures in the bathroom. 

We left just before midday and drove the short distance along Hwy 1 to Old West Cinnamon Rolls. This place is a real treat and one of the reasons we made a huge detour south along Hwy 1 rather than going straight from Santa Cruz and Yosemite. 

Victoria and I shared a frosted cinnamon roll with a berry smoothie, our memory was not playing us false from last year they are still delicious!

The store also does a mix so you can make your own at home so we also picked up a packet of that and will be hosting brunch at our place soon, form an orderly queue.

After our lovely brunch we then drove into San Luis Obipo so that Victoria could fuel her craft addiction at Michaels. It was now 2 PM and ahead of us was a 200 mile journey to our next destination.

We drove up the California Central Valley for a good three and a half hours before reaching Oakhurst for that evenings stop-over. There really is not a lot to see and the drought has really affected the fruit farms along the road.

Temeratures in the car reached 104F and the aircon was struggling against it, I hope it will be ok in Death Valley later this week.

Eventually we passed Fresno and were soon starting the ascent into the Western Sierra reaching Oakhurst at about 6PM and further climbing the vertiginous drive way to our home for the evening at the Yosemite Sierra View.

Our hosts Bruce and Lori gave us a warm welcome and showed us to our lovely room. We also met the family pets Zoe and Booboo a pair of super friendly dogs who were very pleased to meet us.

The climb up the driveway is well worth it, the views over Oakhurst and the Sierra beyond are fantastic.

Here is Victoria on the terrace outside our room.

Bruce gave us a run down of the best places to eat in town and some good tips on getting out of the driveway and back onto Hwy 41. The South Gate Brewing Company sounded perfect for us both beers and food, two of our most favourite things.

Bruce had suggested that we try their home made potato chips and they were indeed lovely with a ranch dip. We also shared their delicious Market Kale Salad topped with walnuts, cranberries and quinoa (I know, get over yourself) and had a pint each of Gold Digging Blond and Honey Badger Wheat Beer both great brews.

Arriving back at the guest house, we sat on the terrace and enjoyed the view of the night sky.

It was a lovely sleep in a very comfortable bed, very quiet outside too. I did go to sleep at about 9:30 though so was up by 0500!

Lori did us a lovely breakfast on the terrace of fruit salad followed by blueberry pancakes with elderflower coulis and maple syrup washed down with coffee. Zoe and Booboo did a wonderful impression of dogs who don't get fed but we were not falling for that.

While we ate Lori suggested a great route for us and annotated a map that came in very useful for our journey.

Leaving at 0830 we followed the rout out of town and were soon paying our $30.00 to enter the Yosemite park.

Following Loris direction we first headed off towards Glacier Point stopping off at Mono Meadow for our first vista of the day.

The next recommendation was that we stop at Washburn, and wow, a beautiful view over the Half Dome.

Really happy that we bought the little tripod as it allowed us to get some great shots. 

We then drove up to Glacier Point to get a slightly different aspect to the one at Washburn, even though Glacier Point is the more popular of the two view points I think that Washburn offers a better view of Half Dome.

We took the binoculars and they have been a real boon, both on Hwy 1, at Pismo and in Yosemite.

Coming back up from Glacier Point we tried to stop at Sentinel Point but there were no parking spaces and with Victorias' game ankle we did not want to park on the road and walk back up so we continued on through the tunnel and stopped at Tunnel View with its stunning views of El Capitan, Bridal Veil Falls and Half Dome

Following Loris advice and our own intuition we decided against using the Visitor Centre and instead headed on with our journey.

Crossing back across Valley View we espied a herd of Mule Deer fording the river so stopped for a photo opportunity with them.

At this point we were right at the foot of El apitan.

We picked up Hwy 120 East and were soon climbing the Tioga Road towards Tioga Pass. The view points along the road are stunning as ever.

Bridal Veil Falls are just at the bottom left of the picture, as usual for this time of year there is no great volume of water passing over them.

Climbing the Tiago Road we came to 'Rim Fire' area that was burned out two years ago.

On the Tiago Pass we stopped in a lay by for a short picnic lunch and then were on to Olmstead Point to enjoy the views, this looks back onto Yosemite Valley and you can see the other side of Half Dome.

We continued to climb up the Tioga Pass stopping at Tuolumme Lake and at Tuolumme Meadows

Just before the exit of the park we stopped at the high alpine meadows for another shot of the beautiful scenery.

Exiting the park we started our descent this is the lovely Tioga Lake.

We started suffering some serious brake fade on the way down Tioga Pass so stopped at this lovely vista while they cooled down.

We then made it to the Mobil Station at the bottom of Tioga Pass to enjoy views over Lake Mono and a soda while the brakes cooled some more.

The final fifteen miles to June Lake for our stop-over, more of that in the next post.

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