Over Tioga Pass and Back--At Last Trip Summary

We have been talking and talking about going over Tioga Pass ever since we got the RV, over 5 years ago. We haven't done it till now as we are usually traveling out of state OR enjoying summer off the road, letting the families and foreign tourists have at the national parks we so treasure visiting OFF SEASON. Oh well, we jumped into the high season fray this year, as we realized we were just never going to get to Bodie State Historic Park if we didn't go in the summertime, so off we went for a very quick trip to the mountains.


Total Miles: 1,127

Number of Nights: 4. Camping fees: $50, $16, $14, $40 (commercial, county, fed, state), for a $30 average

Temperature Extremes: Low 40, High 105. AC/reflectix as well as heater were required.

Best Road Food: Lobster Taquitos at the Whoa Nelly Deli

RV Maintenance: Absolutely none. We had just (earlier in July) had the 80,000 mile maintenance done at the Mercedes dealer (brakes, oil, fuel filter, transmission--the works!) AND a major maintenance at our favorite RV service shop in San Jose. Finally go that pesky leak fixed properly, along with a wash and wax, and many other tune ups to all the appliances and systems.

First On-the-Road Medical Emergency: Julie contracted a bacterial infection (cellulitis) on Wednesday night along her (well, my) calf. On the drive home Friday, the darn thing was really a burning, oozing mess, so I called my doc to see what I ought to do. She said, START ANTIBIOTICS ASAP. And she meant it. Once I had a name for the condition, I looked it up. I had just thought it was a bad spider bite. Eek. Glad I didn't put this off longer, or I may have had to go into the hospital for IV antibiotics; turns out these critters can actually kill you, if left to their own devices.



Itinerary

Monday: Yosemite/Mariposa KOA. As is our usual practice, we leave late in the day (this time because we had a dinner party for 8 on Sunday night and hadn't had time to finish loading the RV), drive 3-4 hours, and stay at a full-service campground on the first night out to work out the kinks. This time, we also did it to fill up with fresh water so that we could boondock the rest of the week. Given the drought and the cost of water at home, this seemed a good idea. The place was only OK; just full of European tourists (who, as a rule, tend to keep to themselves; not as much fun....) AND full of burrs that poor Bago needed to avoid. Shan't return here.

Tuesday: Drove through Yosemite on Highway 120--an absolutely GORGEOUS drive--all the way to that fabulous Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining, where we had THE finest gourmet lunch in a gas station that is to be found anywhere, I'm sure. We were ravenous, as we got there much later than we had expected, due to lots and lots of 20-30 minute road construction delays. So, we changed our plans for the afternoon and visited Mono Lake, instead of heading to Bodie. Thank goodness for THAT decision, given the exhausting trip to/from Bodie. Tuesday night we stayed at Lundy Lake Campground, north of Lee Vining, in order to be closer to Bodie. Funky campground (no signage!), but very beautiful and Bago got to take a dip in the Lundy Creek. We also got to read some scary signs we hadn't seen before:
WARNING: Bubonic Plague Present in Rodents
WARNING: You are camping downstream of a dam. In the event of an earthquake....















Wednesday: Headed up to Bodie bright and early, thank goodness. We were able to get a good parking spot and walk around in the relatively cool morning and not have too much traffic on the way in, over that hellacious washboard rock road. (The way out was very busy and dusty, but at least we knew what we were doing on that trip.) Camped at the most delicious spot that night--Lower Lee Vining Campground--next to the friendliest families, who invited us over to their bonfire and tried to persuade us to stay another night. They come up and stay for the 14-night limit every summer; we can see why. Bago loved it there, too (another creek swim) but we had to make our way back home on Thursday.













Thursday: Returned over Tioga Pass (much steeper heading west!), encountered even more traffic delays at the NP gate, so ended up in Mariposa around 2:30ish. We debated about whether to try to make it home that night (it was SO hot!) or stay in Mariposa again. After checking out the options, we decided to keep driving. No point in stopping at 3:30 in a hot, shadeless, grassless place. What would there be to do? So we headed for Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, down 49 in the Central Valley. Also hot, but at least on a lake. Bago got a dip when the rangers weren't looking....

Friday: We got home early enough in the day for me to visit the pharmacist and for Lisa, poor girl, to do all the unloading, since I was supposed to keep my swollen, infected leg elevated. All in all, a good (if short) trip to some beautiful country. We really do need to go up to the Sierras more often, and I really do need to wear long pants when we hike!

And P.S. Thank goodness we missed the wildfire that started on SATURDAY in Yosemite, closing off Highway 120. If we had had to turn around and "go around" the Sierras, we would've had to go 511 miles (instead of 266) to get home! Here's a shot of the fire a week later, taken when I was flying home from Florida.









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