Saturday, July 11, 2009

Eastern Sierras - Day One

Summertime to me means road trips, and I'm a big fan of taking off in the car and searching out new destinations. So, on the spur of the moment, I decided to take a quick road trip to the eastern side of the Sierras. I convinced Z to tag along and accompany me to my destination: the friendly high sierra community known as Lee Vining. The weather was at its summer best; the temps were perfect and the skies were crystal clear.

Take a look at what turned into an interesting and very picturesque trip to the eastern part of our Golden State...

Our first stop was Jamestown, an old gold mining town near Sonora that has retained it's historical architectural charm. The main street is just a block long and lined with colorful old buildings, some of which actually served as backdrops for Hollywood movies. If you like antiques and shopping, this is the place to visit since it has a number of quaint antique stores and gift shops...












Then we continued along SR 108 through Sonora, Pinecrest, and Dardonelle where there's a fantastic view point overlooking the mountains and reservoir...



Here's the beginning of the Stanislaus River...
It's a popular spot for anglers...
The road is very narrow, winding, and steep in places
and reaches an elevation of 9,624 ft. at the Sonora Pass.
The mountain scenery is spectacular...
Then as you drop down to the eastern side,
the landscape turns into the high desert and is much drier.
The building with the red roof is part of the
USMC Mountain Warfare Training Center...
We passed lots of free ranging cattle...

Here's a peek at the eastern Sierras...
U.S. Highway 395 passes through the quaint town of Bridgeport
where we stopped to get lunch...
Here's the old courthouse which was built in 1880...


There were still signs of the 4th of July holiday...


Here's the old jailhouse...
One of the cells...
The we continued south toward Mono Lake.
We stopped at a great lookout point along the road...
That's Mono Lake off in the distance...

Before we got to Lee Vining, we took a road
which led us down to the shore of Mono Lake...


One of the birds getting harassed by sand flies...
Here's where we spent the night...
After we checked in at the motel,
we headed over to the South Tufa Area of Mono Lake...
This dirt road leads to the craters, which you pass along the way to the lake...
The south tufa area has an interesting loop walk...
Here are some of the odd tufas...
There are lots of plaques that explain the environmental features...
Here's the classic view...

Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater,
but because of the drop in water level, they are now visible...
Of course, Z needs to rest, too...
One last look at the lake...
Here's the view looking in the opposite direction
(and yes the sky really was that blue!)...
We continued down the roadway heading south...


Where is everyone?
And we came upon a lovely spot called June Lake...
Here are some cabins right near the little town of June Lake...
Then we continued on the June Lake Loop Road...
And ended up at this vista point...
Those are the craters in the distance...
My little car that has carried me 210,000 miles...
The sunset at the end of the day in Lee Vining...
One busy but wonderful day in eastern California. Next stop - Bodie.

6 comments:

Sally in WA said...

Beautiful pictures, Linnea. The last time we went down 395, we were heading to 29 Palms with stop for 2 days at Tom's Place to visit relatives who were vacationing there. We did the requisite stop at the Mono Lake overlook, but it appears we missed so much more. Thanks for the great pics. Now I want to go back again.

Ebie said...

Hahaha! I knew you were headed that way! Well, we were there during the Meorial Weekend and spent 5 days! You should stop by Manzanar, when you have a chance. Visited Bodie too. We definitely are going back in the Fall. Enjoy and enjoy!!

diane said...

Great shots and what an intersting salt lake. Thanks for taking me on this trip. The scenery is fabulous.I would love a map so I know where I'm going.

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Linnea, this is way too many fab shots for one post! I adore that sky with the craters in the distance, the deep blue sky and the one below it (heading south), and those tufa towers! Well! I had never even heard of a tufa tower before and presented with that sky they are certainly a sight to behold! I also love the dirt road leading to the craters and Mono Lake in the distance. I have no idea where you are - Eastern Sierras? I'm guessing somewhere in California not so far from home?
Janice.

Oz Girl said...

Wow Linnea, great shots. You are re-igniting my passion to take road trips. I'll have to satisfy myself with some short ones, but I have so much in KS and OK to explore, that I'm sure I can come up with some interesting places to go! I'm going to pick a weekend in the next month or two and plan something. I've been content to stay here on the homestead the last year or so since I moved here, but it's time to get back into my travelling groove again! :)

Love the sky around Mono Lake, what gorgeous shots. I would love to explore the shops and restaurants in the towns you visited - that 4th of July shot with the house focused between the two flags is a wonderful perspective. Love it.

And that poor bird! The sand flies seemed to be atrocious!!

Chako-chan said...

I had never seen sand flies or tufa flowers before! Thank you for the tours of those unusual and interesting places in California.