Westward Wanderings

I've been away. And busy traveling westwards. Here's what I've been up to...

Delicate Arch
The Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

We spent two nights in Moab because we can't get enough of Arches National Park, with a promise to return for camping and 4WDing in Canyonlands National Park. This visit was particularly special as I got to catch up with a dear friend who's working with the National Parks Service in Moab.

Area 52
Area 52

Moab was followed by a night in the middle of nowhere: Tonopah, Nevada. Why? Because it was the only place en route to where I really wanted to go, that had any vacancies. It turned out to be Area 52! I made a quick photowalk down Main Street before we drove out in a huge hurry.

Mizpah Hotel
Mizpah Hotel, for those in the know

Mono Lake, nestled in the Eastern Sierras just outside Yosemite National Park, was where I really wanted to visit. But those who wake up late miss the juicy worm or some such saying, so there were no bookings in any motels or lodges in the area by the time I made my phone calls. Poof went my dreams of seeing sunrise at Mono Lake but we made it here regardless. It was hot and slightly smelly because of all the alkalinity that abounds but also mind-blowingly crazy.

Mono Lake
Alkali flies, surprisingly edible, line the shore at Mono Lake

The ecosystem revealed yet another instance of how nature adapts itself to co-exist even in harsh and extreme environments. Man, on the other hand, has threatened this fragile zone by diverting waters away from this pristine lake. To add to these problems, this beautiful State Park is on the list of parks that California is closing down due to budget constraints. How this will affect the lake remains to be seen. For the period that it remains open, the National Parks Pass will get you in for free.

Mono Lake
I could have stayed here forever

The foodie in me had to make a pit stop at Whoa Nellie Deli, a gourmet deli inside a Mobil gas station at Lee Vining, before driving down through Yosemite via the Tioga Pass at 9945ft. The line was long and the food slightly disappointing, perhaps because our expectations were high, but suffice it to say that I've never had food of this quality inside a gas station! The drive through eastern Yosemite was stunning and I fell in love with this piece of wilderness all over again. The rest of the drive should have been uneventful but it wasn't due to heated, stressed front brakes. We made frequent stops to let the brakes cool but the drive down the 5-mile 8% Hetch Hetchy stretch of Hwy 120W saw me age by several decades. Kudos to D for keeping a cool head and bringing us down safely. Needless to say, there are no pictures of this part of the drive!

We celebrated our safe arrival with fireworks and close friends.

Fireworks
Fireworks

It helped that the rest of America was celebrating Fourth of July at the same time. But don't burst my bubble by telling me otherwise!

Fireworks
Finale

There isn't much cooking happening nor was I able to cook in advance for my blog as work was very hectic and through the roof, but there is a lot of eating and sampling of the fine fare that the Bay Area is known for. I will resume my India travel series once I get back home in August. Until then, I might have another post or two with more pictures of the fun we are having in beautiful California.

More Than a Recipe makes a come-back to IFR!

8 comments:

notyet100 said...

Thanks for sharing such nice pics,..enjoy,

Torviewtoronto said...

lovely pictures looks wonderful

Indu said...

I am feeling so jealous!

Desisoccermom said...

Except for the heated brakes, you managed to have an adventurous, fun trip to California. Waiting for more fun unpdates. :-)

Maven said...

Glad to see you posting! Great pics to go with the post. Lovely! Hope your Fourth was wonderful!

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rahul said...

Beautiful pics It look s awesome place thanks for sharing that.
Its really an adventure place .
Rahul
Dreams Elegance, Pune Apartment / Flat

The Budding Gourmet Indian Food said...

nice posting. thanks for sharing.