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  • Road Trip: Day 41

    Posted on October 8th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today was the last “real” driving day for my Road Trip, and it did a good job living-up to the standard set over the last few weeks. With over 7 hours of driving, including going through a National Park on a “Holiday” (is Columbus Day really a holiday), I wanted to get an early start. After quickly stopping at Subway for breakfast, I hit the road.

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    Several years ago I drove through this area taking photos, so with the sun still low in the sky (golden light) I figured it was worth another try. Wow, have I been spoiled with the views the past few days at Bryce, Zion, etc… every location I found just seemed so “blah” in comparison. I did drive through Genoa, the first settlement in Nevada, where I saw people swimming in a hot spring and a nice buck crossing the road.

    About an hour into my drive I reached the border into California. It was a little surprising to have to stop at an inspection point (the first time for any of the states I drove through). When the officer asked “Where are you coming from” I pointed to the map on the side of my car. With no fresh fruits or vegetables they waved me on, but it made me think about what other things I could have been transporting around the states.

    Most of the morning was spent driving on Highway 395. Within the NorCal GOATS there has been much debate over this route as an alternate to GoatRun, so it was good to see what all the fuss was about. I found it to be nice and scenic, but wasn’t overly impressed with the “spirited nature” that was often given as a reason for driving it… then again I was by myself and kept things at the speed limit. I’m sure it would have been more fun with a bunch of G8’s and GTO’s!

    Having last filled-up on fuel in Fernley, NV I needed to stop for gas before heading into Yosemite. I stopped in Bridgeport, Ca to fill-up, mostly due to a long delay for road maintenance, and nearly choked when I saw the price… $5.599 per gallon for 91 octane!

    I knew gas was expensive in California, but this was just insane… I paid less than $4/gal a few days ago! Up the road I even saw a station that was $0.20/gal more expensive. I understand this was the in middle-of-nowhere, near a National Park, on a “holiday”, but come on… I sure am glad gas price was more reasonable the other places I was traveling!

    I turned off Hwy395 at Highway 120 and made my way over Tioga Pass into Yosemite. Being “the highest highway pass in California and in the Sierra Nevada” I was expecting a bit more, but I guess that’s because I’ve recently been climbing mountains in Colorado.

    Once inside Yosemite the views did not disappoint. I’ve been there before, but was much younger, so it was good to see things again. I stopped several times in search for “the shot” of Yosemite Valley with Half Dome, etc. that I had in my mind. While the first place I pulled-over wasn’t what I was looking for, it was still a nice view.

    It took me a while to get through the park, and somehow always found myself driving behind slow moving tourists. The speed limits inside Yosemite are slow, as would be expected in a National Park, but for some reason no one could drive the twisty roads at more than 15mph. To make matters worse, most areas are no passing zones… and when you do get to a passing zone the slower car somehow manages to drive 10mph over the speed limit, making passing even more “difficult”.

    I eventually made my way around to the Tunnel View overlook. I figured, being a “holiday”, it would be packed with people… but it was surprisingly light. I was able to get a parking spot and took quite a few of the “classic” shots of the Yosemite Valley.

    With traffic being light, I figured it was worth trying to get “the shot” I had worked-out in my mind. I drove the G8 the wrong-way down a one-way street, stopped, and jumped out (engine still running) to get my photo… Totally worth it!

    Sure, I got a few strange looks as I was sitting in the middle of the road, but sometimes you have to go all-out to get the shot you’re after. In this case, due to the position of the sun, I had to take several photos and blend them together in the “darkroom” (Ansel Adams would have been proud).

    With my photographic needs met for the day I set out to enjoy the remainder of my drive. The first joy was a childish run through the tunnel… which has below average grip (or maybe I was just using above average throttle). I then drove to Glacier Point, even finding a some space between other cars to enjoy the switchbacks.

    The drive out of Yosemite on Highway 41 was fairly enjoyable. Having recently been repaved the road was smooth, but was not yet lined (making it all a no passing zone). Fortunately I had a stretch all to myself and was able to enjoy some “spirited driving”. After a construction delay, which bunched-up everyone on the road, the driving was tedious and well below the posted speed limit… but it was getting late and I was ready to relax.

    I arrived into the Fresno area and checked into my hotel for the night. After dinner with a friend from college I prepared for the final day of my Road Trip by eating some free ice cream and going to sleep early.

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