Day 10 – Another driving day

Today was another planned driving day to get me from Ely, NV to Mammoth Lakes, CA.  Mammoth Lakes is a small resort town about an hour from the East entrance to Yosemite.  I wasn’t able to secure a campsite in the park so I’ll be staying at a campground on the west side of the park the next two days.

After driving all the way across Nevada, I didn’t want to have to deal with the potential traffic getting through Yosemite.  It’s at least another 2 and a half hours to the other side of Yosemite and I had been driving about six hours already.  In any case, the Devil’s Postpile National Monument is just a few miles from here, which is why I decided to overnight here.

I arrived and set up camp by about 4:30, finally grabbed a late lunch (there’s not a whole lot of civilization between Ely and here), and then hopped the shuttle to the Monument.  It’s an intersting geological formation related to an ancient lava eruption.  The history of the monument is also interesting; it was originally part of Yosemite but later removed from that park due to logging and mining interests.  It was then threatened to be dynamited in order to form a dam on the river and finally President Taft set it aside as a separate National Monument in 1911.  Glad they saved it.

Small town happenings

After spending the day at Great Basin, I was beat and didn’t feel like cooking so after cleaning up I decided to try the local Chinese restaurant which was recommended by one of the campground staff.

For all you inquiring minds, I had the Kung Pao Combination with shrimp, chicken and beef.  It was tasty!

Before heading back to the campground I decided to take a drive through Ely, just to see what kind of town it is.  It’s a town of about 5,000 including the surrounding areas.  As you can imagine, my drive through town took all of about 10 minutes.

As I was passing through downtown I noticed a big white truck with two guys playing music – one on guitar and the other on an electric fiddle.  They were playing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” so I decided to stop and listen.  Turns out, it was a rally for Jack Carter for US Senate.  If you’re wondering if there’s any relation to that other Carter, you’re right, he’s Jimmy Carter’s oldest son.  There were only about 30-40 people there.  His wife wanted to give me a “Vote for Jack” sticker, but I told here I was from out of state.  Of course, she said they were going to be in Minnesota for a rally…  He seems like a good guy though – even if he is a Democrat.

Anyway, getting back to the music, the guy on the fiddle was fantastic and the other guy was pretty good too.  Jack even got up and played guitar on a couple of numbers.  The fiddler is Barry Van Wie if anyone’s interested.

I think they cut the music a bit short after Jack’s speech as it looked like some nasty weather was coming in.  I headed back to camp and am now hunkered in my tent.  The wind is blowing pretty good, but I don’t think we’re going to see any rain.

Day 8 – From Utah to Nevada

Today was slated as a driving day, and that’s what I did.  I drove from Vernal, UT to Ely, NV which is a distance of 410 miles.

Driving west out of Vernal, the landscape slowly changes from the desolation of the scrub-land to the desolation of the the mountains.  Actually the mountain views leading up to Salt Lake City are really nice, unfortunately there are no places to safely pull aside as it’s just a two lane highway, so I wasn’t able to take many pictures here.  The only opportunity I had was to get a couple of shots of Wasatch Mountain near Daniels, UT.

After rolling through Park City, UT – where a lot of the 2002 Winter Olympic events were held the next stop was the Great Salt Lake. There’s actually not much to see from the road, but that’s OK.

My route took me close to the Bonneville Salt Flats and there is a rest stop conveniently located right along the southern edge.  I stopped there and snapped a few more photos.

From there it was a short hop over the border into Nevada and then it really got desolate. Today’s picture of the day shows pretty much what the drive down US93 from Wendover to Ely is like.  The views are actually pretty nice.

Lots of pictures to be posted soon.