Monday, April 27, 2009

Yosemite in the Spring

I'm looking forward to my upcoming trip to California this May as I will be going to Yosemite for the first time in the Spring. Springtime is the season at Yosemite where the waterfalls are gushing as they disperse the melting winter snows. There are several falls that can be accessed or viewed from Yosemite Valley, including Yosemite Falls which is the fifth highest in the world. The falls at Yosemite are known to be spectacular, so I can't wait to see them. I will have a new post, complete with pictures, after my visit in late May. I can't wait!

Bridalveil Fall (Credit: National Park Service)

List of Yosem
ite Waterfalls from Wikipedia:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gavin Newsom Makes It Official

(© All rights reserved. Image credit: Gavin Newsom.)

This is not really a travel related update, but current San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, officially announced his candidacy for governor of California. The campaign slogan is "Gavin Newsom: For a Better California." Information regarding the campaign and issues supported by Mayor Newsom can be found on his official campaign website. San Francisco, under the leadership of Mayor Newsom, has enacted some of the most progressive legislation in the country. San Francisco sets an example that should be followed by many cities and states across the country, especially in regards to health care, alternative energy, and green intiatives.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lee Vining

Lee Vining, dubbed as the Gateway to Yosemite, is a great place to make your base of operation to explore Yosemite and the surrounding areas of Mono Lake and the ghost town of Bodie. However, my one visit to Lee Vining is one that I hadn't planned and would have been happy not to make.

It all began innocently enough, a day trip through Yosemite, a visit to Bodie, and a drive back through Sonora Pass. However, the day trip through Yosemite ended up being an overnight stay in Lee Vining. The visit to Bodie was scrapped, but the return visit through Sonora Pass did happen.

The drive towards the Tioga Pass is quite spectacular, passing Tenaya Lake along the way. The drive on the flip side of the Tioga Pass, on the way out of Yosemite and towards Lee Vining, is quite rocky and stark as you head towards the desert.

We (the boyfriend and I) were driving through Yosemite to the Tioga Pass, a beautiful and scenic drive, when we had car trouble and ended up staying the night in Lee Vining. We were on the downside of the Tioga Pass, when the car engine suddenly lost power. No power meant no brakes, so the BF had to control the car by standing on the brakes in order to come to a stop before we hit (literally) 395.

Right before the power quit, I had wondered to myself how many cars had driven off the road into the deep canyon to the right . There was no guardrail, which is what made me wonder in the first place. Be careful what you wish for, or at least think of...I had no idea, of course, that we were close to doing the same. The video below was taken right before the car lost power.

Fortunately, the BF was able to stop the car at the bottom of the hill, at a gas station/rest stop, The Tioga Gas and Gift Mart. We were able to call for a tow to a service station in Lee Vining. We then had to find a place to stay as no repair was going to be made that day. Fortunately, Lee Vining is not a very big town, so it was an easy walk to find a motel room. Also fortunately--I guess--we were able to get the "best" room at the Yosemite Gateway Motel.

At least we were unharmed and had a place to stay the night. However, since it was a day trip, we had no luggage with change of clothes, no toiletries...nothing but what we were wearing and the remainders of our lunch. And, since Lee Vining is not a very big town, there were not a lot of shopping options to get the necessary overnight supplies.

The one good thing I can say is that the room had a somewhat scenic view overlooking the area around Mono Lake. The room itself was very basic, definitely a throwback to an old school motor inn. We were across the street from Bodie Mike's restaurant, a place with fairly decent food and generous portions. There are limited dining options in Lee Vining, so there's not too much to choose from. The nice thing about Bodie Mike's is that it has an outdoor seating area.

Fortunately, the repair to the car was completed the next morning, a three inch rubber tube had ruptured, causing the engine to lose connection with the gas. We were glad to have come through the incident unscathed and happy that the repair was made so quickly. We left Lee Vining as soon as possible.

Friday, April 3, 2009

California Here I Come!

Or, at any rate, here I come in May. I am in the process of booking my next trip to California, which will be in late May. I am not sure what new adventures I will be embarking on, but rest assured, I'll be providing updates and new information on California Traveler.

I know that I will probably not be going to Monterey, but may possibly be going to the Sierra's or staying right around San Francisco. Who knows where the road will lead, but I know that I will have fun, new photos, and new stories to post, regardless.

Let me know if you have any suggestions regarding places you want to know about. I do have several places I will be covering in posts I'm in the process of writing, but I'm open to new and interesting places to go.