Back at home, the last few days were spent in Mammoth with a friend I grew up with. From Vegas, I went up Hwy 95 (not too scenic) to Hwy 266 and cut over into the Sierras to Bishop, then Mammoth. The quicker alternative would be to go through Bakersfield, then up I-5, a route I do all the time back and forth from LA. From google, it looks to be around 8 hours and I was so wiped out from driving I’d have to split that up to possibly stay in Bakersfield.
Mammoth was perfect! Growing up, especially in high school, my friends dad would take us up there every other weekend from LA. Our high school ski club had an infamous trip there in 1980, where I got busted for spotting and being a bad influence on everyone and sent to my room. Of all stupid things, I hitch hiked to the liquor store at 17 years old. I watch WAY too much Law & Order to ever think of that now! Rumor had it at the time that the mountains were safe to hitch hike. The altitude didn’t help, I got drunk faster than my normal pace. Cleverly (I thought), I hid the bottles at the bottom of everyone’s ski jackets, which is the first place our chaperone checked. Those were the days, my parents never found out and I just had a hangover for skiing the next day.
This trip was about going places I’d never been, which ended up being kind of true for Mammoth too. I didn’t recognize anything, it had been too long. Ever since I’ve been in NorCal, Tahoe is my place to ski. When I go there now, it just reminds me of my kids being little and how fun it was when we all skied together.
A friend I grew up with lives in Mammoth now, it was SO good to see her! It’s hard to believe we’re 55 now? We talked like we were little girls again, or maybe high school girls about when we were little. Because I was traveling alone this whole time, I’ve been super careful not to let people know that so I really haven’t talked to anyone this whole time. I hope I let her get in a few words?
The Tioga pass through Yosemite opens Monday, to get home I cut through the Sonora Pass instead. The snow was rapidly melting, the roads were totally clear. Another place I’d go in college with an old BF was Yosemite with his family, it was their favorite place. The only reason I bring this up is because I passed by Mono Lake, never went there when we’d go to Mammoth and it’s so close. I had been there a few times in the 80’s on those Yosemite trips. As much as I’d like to see Yosemite again, I’d need more time than just an exhausted drive through. Yosemite is close enough to me, that’s a trip in itself.
Sonora pass was perfect! Popped out into Copperopolis, from there I could see Mt. Diablo. I’ve done some work up there with landslides and the drone, I knew where I was.
Oh, BTW, I never used a map the whole trip. I used my phone, then wrote down the Hwy’s before I headed out in case I didn’t have cell coverage. Not super smart, I never got lost though. My mom bought me a Garmin InReach for flying and sailing, I turned that on coming back from Mammoth. If I press “track” it pings my location every 10 min, I just send the link so it tracks me. That way, if I’m off in a ravine somewhere, they’ll at least have an idea of my location. There was no cell almost the whole time though the Sierras until I got to Hwy 395. The passes have nada.
Maybe I’ll have more insights on my trip in a few days when I recover? Right now, I’m just happy not to drive today. A few thoughts though, first is that my childhood only involved going to grandparents in AZ unless my friends parents took me with them on their trips (am I too old to blame my parents? haha). The other thing is I should have spent more time in places. I’d spend 2 nights max, leaving my one full day in a place as a sightseeing/recover from driving/zombie day. My back only bothered me at the very beginning, that was a blessing.
Looks like I have a wedding to watch (royal) and a wedding to help plan now (my sons). But first, a shower!
Featured image is Mono Lake
Then Hwy 266 cutting across from NV & Mammoth Lakes w/ Timber. The map is my Garmin pinging where I am on my last leg home. I had cell almost everywhere but on the train to Grand Canyon and through the Sierras. The InReach lets you txt anywhere too.