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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
6th Aug 2012 - Summer 2012
Day 49-To Yosemite

Day 49-August 6, 2012-To Yosemite (Lee Vining, CA)
Drove 140 miles in 4-3/4 hours to Lee Vining, CA on the east side of Yosemite, staying on route 395 the entire trip.
As soon as we entered California there was an agricultural inspection station and, of course, they had to come into the RV and check out the refrigerator. He also looked in the bed of the truck and asked if the firewood was from Florida. Also asked if we had any fruit. They don’t like stuff coming in from Florida for some reason. Anyway, he didn’t find anything and we were on our way. As a side note, there was no place to buy food between the inspection station and our campground, and no place near the campground either.
We’re now in what they call the “Eastern Sierra Scenic Highway” and we drove through Topaz Lake in the Antelope Valley and stopped at Walker Community Park for lunch, nice little park with trees and picnic benches. Even in a valley we’re at 7000’ elevation. Entered Toiyabe National Forest and followed a pretty rocky creek for quite a while with gorgeous mountains on either side, some with snow in the distance. Passed a US Marine Mountain Warfare Training facility in the mountains and then started to see some cattle ranches among the wilderness. The scenery is breath-taking, each turn is a different mountain view and they’re all fantastic.
Reached Conway Summit at 8143’, turned a corner and saw a beautiful lake in front of us way down in the valley. This was Mono Lake, a dead salt lake that is right across the street from our campground, Mono Vista RV Park. I’m glad I called because they’re really busy, we could only get a water/electric site, but that’s OK, for two nights. It’s a nice campground, some trees, beautiful view. After we set up we read for a while then had dinner and drove to the town of Lee Vining, all 3 blocks of it, right down the road. It was named for a prospector that used to live here. There’s a few restaurants, a couple of motels, all filled, a few gift shops, gas station ($4.69 for diesel, $4.99 regular, $5.19 for premium) and that’s it. From our campground the entrance to Yosemite is ¼ mile down the road.
We then went to Mono Lake which was not what I expected. There are “tufas” in it, limestone peaks that form from an underground spring when it bubbles up through the alkaline lake. But the most interesting part was all the alkali flies and fly pupae around the edges of the lake, it makes it actually look black. We only noticed they were flies when we got close and they scattered. There are millions of them. The Indians used to dry them and trade them as food for nuts and berries. There are brine shrimp in the lake that eat them and lots of waterfowl to eat the shrimp and the Canadian geese, ducks and seagulls (yes, seagulls in the desert) come back every year to nest. As its own little ecosystem it’s great. Really interesting but really yucky, too. Lots of goose poop all over the place. I even passed on getting a sand sample, that’s how gross it was.
Went back to camp and watched some Olympics in the rec room of the RV office ‘til they closed. It got really windy out and after a high of about 90 today, it’s really cool out now. Lots of European people here, some German, some Swedish (I’m guessing from the accent), French and Asian. Going to Yosemite tomorrow. The ranger at the visitor center we went to on the way in says we can’t sleep in ‘cause there’s a lot to see.

Next: Day 50-Yosemite National Park
Previous: Day 48-Last Day in Reno

Diary Photos

Inspection station in CA


Snow on mountain

More mountains

Mono lake from far off

Us at Mono Lake

More mts.

Shadows from clouds

Our campground

Our campsite

Yuck Alkali fly larvae

Tufas in Mono Lake

Diary Movies

Mono Lake movie

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