Mammoth Lakes, CA to Orinda, CA

Have you noticed a little time lapse in my last post of my road trip?  I have a tendency to delay the end of things… which is why almost a year after binge watching all the episodes, I’ve never seen the show finale of Numb3rs (a highly underrated crime drama featuring a brother duo of an FBI agent and his genius mathematician brother).

But, I’m back now and want to finish were I left off–the 2nd to last day of my road trip.

After probably the best night’s sleep of my road trip, thanks to Westin’s Heavenly beds, I woke up and thought I would have a lingering last morning in the mountains.  Instead of eating out, I decided to get some takeout and enjoy my beautiful fireplace and comfy sofa before my last drive back home.  I headed over to Old New York Deli & Bakery Co. Omelette and bagel in tow, I leisurely meandered back to my hotel room.  I thought the rest of my morning would follow this relaxed tone, but the weather had other plans!  All of a sudden, I look out my window and it’s snowing.  In a panic, I throw all my stuff together and haul my bags out the door.  I head down to grab my car from the valet, who tells me that I’m probably going to have to drive up to Lake Tahoe to make it back home, since all of the passes through Yosemite are still closed.  How fun.

I settle myself in, and after about 30 minutes of driving I see a sign saying that Tioga Pass is open.  I say a little prayer and make the turn into Yosemite National Park.  The ranger station is tiny, with just one window open.  When I make my way through the line, I tentatively ask the ranger if I’ll be able to make it through.  He responds first by saying “What a cute dog!”  I’m thinking, I KNOW DUDE JUST TELL ME IF THE PASS IS CLEAR! He then goes on to tell me that the pass is open… for now.  Given that it’s snowing, they aren’t sure how long it’ll stay that way.

Did you learn about the Donner party in school?  I feel like we were taught about how they got stuck in a bizarre snow storm in the spring.  Well, I would have been in the Donner party… because who the hell is expecting snow in May?!  Not me.

Even though I knew I had to hustle through the park, I wanted to make sure that I got a chance to appreciate the beauty of Yosemite too. Tioga Pass is a great way to do this, because it takes you through a great variety of features of Yosemite all from the ease and convenience of your car and a few different turnouts.

The first placed we stopped was at Tenaya Lake.


This lake was such an amazing beautiful steel blue!  The fog seemed to be hovering just above it.

I also stopped at Olmsted Point.  From this viewpoint, you can look southwest into Yosemite Valley.

You can also see Half Dome in the distance.

Of course we also took the opportunity to get out of the car and run around a little bit as soon as it stopped snowing!

This was only the second national park I went to on my trip (the other being Grand Canyon National Park which, if you read my blog post you’ll know, was a total flop).  I was glad to be able to come through Yosemite Park, as it was a part of my original route from day 1.  But, in this drive, I also recognized that Yosemite is really not that far from the Bay Area at all!  And this got me super pumped for all future weekend trips I’ll be able to make here now that I’m back living in California.

The one thing I do want to note, is that Yosemite is not particularly dog friendly.  You can really only take your dog in developed areas and paved paths/roads.  This means if you want to go on a more strenuous hike, you’ll have to do it solo.

The rest of our drive home was pretty uneventful.  Remy fell asleep pretty much immediately…guess those windy roads slowly lulled him to sleep.

We stopped for a little snack at a roadside fruit stand, and I drove the last few hours home deep in thought.

I couldn’t believe that this 12 day long adventure was coming to an end.  I’d made it!  Was it what I had expected?  In some ways, yes, and in other ways, I was surprised by some of the experiences that I had along the way.

Going on a cross country road trip had been on my bucket list for a long time.  I never thought it would be something that I would do on my own.  I learned a lot, met people I probably never would have otherwise, seen places far off the beaten path and thought a lot about what makes America, America.  Not to get too deep on you.

I also learned about myself.  In the end, I was proud that I made it!

Getting back to my parents house, I was all smiles!  My sisters were waiting for me, and we feasted on a delicious meal of Thai takeout.

I’m planning on posting some more wrap up posts about my road trip, as well as about some of my other adventures I’ve been on since making it back to CA.

But, before all that, thank you for following along on this journey.  Thank you if you were one of those people who commented, texted me, or called me when I was bored on one of my 7 hour drives through nowhere.  Thank you for all of you who encouraged me when I was feeling low, or told me that they were proud of me for going on this adventure.  Even though I was alone on this journey, it made a huge difference to know I had friends, acquaintances and sometimes even strangers who were rooting for me along the way.

Distance traveled: 269 miles

Low: Freaking out about snows closing the passes in Yosemite

High: Getting home!

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