We got a pretty early start (for us) on Sunday for the Sacramento – Yosemite – Mammoth Lakes leg. I’m disappointed we didn’t get to see 2 of the 3 friends/family we hoped to see in California’s Capital, but we doubled down with the Korn Family and had a great time. Kyle felt so at home with them and as a special bonus, all the brothers Korn were in town. I hadn’t seen Michael’s brothers Christopher and Patrick since the great bachelor party weekend in Chicago for Michael back on Memorial Day weekend ten years ago! As for the other two, one was unable to see us due to some personal issues, and the last I can’t really say. I tried.
One thing to consider when planning to see epic National Parks like Yosemite (Sunday) and Death Valley (today) is the white knuckle driving conditions up and down some of the narrow (no shoulder) and steep inclines. Add to that the absence of guardrails on curves above sheer terror drops and, well, let’s just say it inhibits visions of grandeur. As for the parks themselves, I’m not going to attempt written description, but I’ll try to make it up to you in pictures later after I’ve had more time for the scenes to simmer.
When visits to National Parks highlight an itinerary, stops in places like Mammoth Lakes or Bishop, California are relegated to a sub-head in the mental trip-kit. Still, for some reason the hotel manager planted image of bears ripping the doors off my rented Altima for a scrap of beef jerky will stay with me for a while and limited my slumber in Mammoth Lakes. Bishop was an hour South of Yogi-ville and provided my best meal of the trip, Chili Verde and eggs over easy at the fantastic Petite Pantry. This family run desert jewel is headlined by the Master of the House, Jose Jimenez. He whirled around the little place, taking great care of every table and entertaining travelers and locals with funny one-liners for the locals and stories for all.
Hours later, as I soaked like an olive in gin with just a vapor of vermouth, vacation continued to creep up on me like ascending the first big hill of a wooden coaster. With the massive golden wall of the Trump reflecting the desert sky and Kyle relaxing on a nearby lounger, I stared out into nowhere and thought about nothing. (Well, I did think of the olive in gin / vapor vermouth line there…) One thing’s for sure: Nowhere and nothing is a place I wanted this vacation to take me.
“The world about us would be desolate
Except for the world within us.”
– Wallace Stevens