Road Trip 2017: Nevada to California

Day two of our three day drive from Idaho to southern California and we make the short 126 mile drive to the nearby town of Fallon for breakfast. Jerry’s diner is a favourite of locals and has been going since the ’60s. The food was great, as you’d expect.

Bellies full, it’s another 126 miles until the sat nav is required so we sit back and watch the miles pass by. It’s an hour or so until we see civilization again, and we pull into a rest area overlooking Walker Lake near to Babbitt and Hawthorne, Nevada.

The lake was a welcome distraction from the straight desert roads and the traffic on the busy 95. After a few pics, we pulled into Hawthorne for gas.

Hawthorne is pretty impressive, not just because it’s another shitty run down town.

It’s the US Army’s largest ammunition depot and the town of Babbitt was build to staff it; but until WW3 begins, it remains a massive ghost town with barracks for thousands. The actual ammunition depot is staffed by a handful of contractors until then – seems safe.

Leaving this terrifying reminder of America’s love of war behind us, we headed towards California. Climbing from 4000 to 7500ft, we reached the peak of the hills only to be confronted with the snow capped summits of the Sierra Nevada mountains dominating the horizon. It was both beautiful and humbling, the 25 mile drive to the base of the mountains was a long straight road downhill, every mile of it visible from where we stood.

Crossing into Cali, a state I hate a little more than Wyoming, the shot-up Welcome to California sign a perfect metaphor for the Golden State.

We stopped by Mono Cemetery on the shore of Mono Lake. It’s a stunning location for a final resting place. We paid our respects and headed south.

The Tioga Pass crosses the Sierra Nevada mountains and is only accessible a few months of the year. We’ve tried to drive it before, but it was closed because of snow in early October. We began the climb into Yosemite National Park and were totally unprepared for the awesomeness of the place. Mountains, waterfalls and snow!

Again, my crappy photos don’t do it justice. Unfortunately, because this area is so inaccessible, it gets really busy. Many camping areas were full and laybys could get crowded. We took pics and played in the snow before leaving and driving from 9500ft up in the Sierra Nevada, down to 4150ft and into the small town of Bishop for an overnight stop.