Tyler has decided to stay at Wake Forest for one more year to get a Master’s degree. As a grad school student he will need to live off campus, and thus will need a car. Since our old Audi TT is basically gathering dust in the driveway, we decided the thing that made the most sense was for him to take that car out to North Carolina, rather than trying to find a car to buy out there. And what better way to get it there than to drive it ourselves, seeing some sights along the way!
We left Thursday morning at around 8AM, headed across the Central Valley to Yosemite. We decided to cross the Sierra Nevada at Tioga pass, in the north part of Yosemite National Park. This is a high pass, for California anyway, and traverses Toulomne Meadows and other less crowded parts of the park.
On the way to Yosemite we passed through the site of last year’s Rim Fire, one of the largest forest fires in recent California history. The scope was truly incredible – mile after mile of dead trees, as far as the eye could see at every viewpoint. A bit sobering. The drive through Yosemite was as beautiful as we had hoped – I’ll let the pictures do the talking on this!
After descending from Tioga Pass, we did a quick jaunt past Mono Lake, then headed through the California desert to Nevada. Anyone who has driven across Nevada knows there is not much to see. It is basically known as Basin and Range country, which is exactly what it sounds like – cross over a range of mountains, then descend into a basin, cross it, and climb the next range. We amused ourselves by sighting the road as far ahead as we could see, and estimating the distance to the last visible part before curve or horizon – longest was 16.5 miles. Pretty in its own strange somewhat lunar way – all 300+ miles of it. We ended up stopping finally at the old mining town of Pioche, near the Utah border.
Neither of us slept that well, so we were on the road shortly after 6AM. After a ultra-hearty breakfast in Cedar City, Utah, we headed up into the mountains, bound towards Colorado. The drive across Utah was simply spectacular. We stopped at Bryce National Park and went hiking for about an hour to burn off some of the bacon from earlier. Leaving Bryce, we traversed the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument, followed by Capitol Reef National Park.
By the time we left Capitol Reef, we decided we’d seen enough sculpted red sandstone, so we determined that we would hightail it to Grand Junction, Colorado, in time to catch the minor league baseball game there. We checked into a motel and hustled to the game, making it into the stadium in the middle of the second inning.
For our troubled, we were treated to some of the most comically sloppy baseball we have ever seen! By the fifth inning we couldn’t take it anymore, and headed out to the local brewery to grab dinner and a beer. The beds at the El Palomino provided a lovely night’s sleep, we’ll see how the free breakfast measures up!