Thursday, 4 September 2014

Day 13: Lone Pine, CA - Sonora, CA

Bad Thing about this morning: I had hoped to use the remaining milk from last night to wash down my Pills, but the stuff had frozen solid.
Good Thing about this morning: There was one of these next to the ice bucket:
Sometimes known as a "church-key".  I aten't seen one for about forty years; Young People might like to know that the pointy end was used for punching holes in for e.g. cans of BEER back in the days before ring-pulls were commonplace.

So today I decided to go to Sonora, for reasons which may become clearer in the next episode of the Automatic Diary.  Lone Pine lies on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, while Sonora is on the west.  You can guess the rest.  A Sierra Nevada can look very much like this, provided the weather is nice:
Last time I was in this neighbourhood, in 2011, I nearly got a terrific picture of the moon setting over the mountains but by the time I'd rescued my camera from my room it had clouded over chiz.

Turn right out of the car park and north up US-395.  This takes you all the way to the foot of Tioga Pass, but I made a couple of detours.  First to Mammoth and further up the mountain to Minaret Summit.  Here be Scenery.
The Minarets
The town has a sculpture of a mammoth.  In it.  Frankly the stuffed one in the museum in Ipswich is more impressive.  Ipswich 1 x 0 California.

A few miles up 395 is the June Lake Loop, which takes one off the main road and past June, Gull and Silver Lakes.  I've visited these parts enough times before but have never had the time to visit such places, which shameful omission has now been rectified.
Silver Lake.  Just add water...
Thence to Tioga Pass, which is the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park.  There are two things one needs to know about National Parks:

  1. They make lousy through routes, and
  2. Post-Labor Day, men in hi-vis take over the roads, which can lead to long waits at road works.

There are worse places to be sat waiting half an hour for the single lane to open than 7,000 feet up in a pine forest with the roof down, warm sunshine and bangin' choons available courtesy of DJ Random.  2010's long wait up one of Colorado's grimmer passes in the pouring rain, for starters.
Tenaya Lake.  In between two sets of road works...
On escaping from the park all I then had to do was find Sonora, which was exactly where I left it on the first day of the 2008 trip.  But that time I didn't have to follow huge logging trucks down the New Priest Grade.  Those in the know take the Old Priest Grade instead; with an average gradient of 17% the big rigs don't go near it.  And so to Sonora.  My room has a balcony, the view from which is not bad:
Street light artfully omitted from picture
I do not know what that grey thing is attached to the tree on the right.  I hope it is not a nesting box; if it is then the wols in these parts would look more at home landing on an aircraft carrier than perching in a tree.  Anyway, it's better than the view from the Super 8 in Battle Mountain, where you get:

  1. The vacant lot behind the firework store, or
  2. The motel car park and I-80.
On ladders: Many a camper, motorhome, RV or other outsize piece of glamping equipment has storage for Stuffs on its roof.  This real estate is accessed by a ladder attached to the outside of the vehicle.  I noticed this morning, however, that the ladders all seem to start about a metre off the ground.  How does one reach the bottom of the ladder?  One cunning chap had solved this problem by strapping an ordinary aluminium set of steps, such s one might purchase from Messrs. B and Q, to the existing ladder, thereby avoiding any undignified standing-on-a-box behaviour.

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