Day 2: Safe, Sound, Cold in the Sierra Nevadas

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Greetings…wheeze…from 8500 feet…deep breath…above sea level. I made it to the beautiful Mammoth Lakes resort area after about 12 hours of driving. To go from basically sea level to 8500 feet in 2 days is different, but to go from 107 degrees in the desert to 40 (with a wind chill of close to freezing) in less than a half day is wild.

I got out of Tucson around 7:30am and made my way across Arizona. I stopped to take a few pics here and there (they’ll be posted likely tomorrow) and drove through Phoenix. Interesting place – hot, flat, brown, but very modern and clean.

The drive between Phoenix and California was nice and comfortable. Once I got to California and drove through the desert, it got a little boring. I stopped and took a few pics at the entrance to the Joshua Tree National Park and made my way into LA LA land. I passed through Palm Springs and their crazy collection of windmills. I’m sure they generated a ton of energy today. It was blowing at nearly gale force strength.

LA is so iconic. Every street, smaller city name and landmark is such a part of the American landscape. Driving just around the edge of the city through Burbank and past Ventura Boulevard and Pasadena just reminds you of so many movies, songs and stories.

The traffic was remarkably mild by LA standards. Once I made it around the outskirts, I took Highway 14 north up through the rolling hills. Got some pictures in a few places and continued on into the Mohave Desert. Mohave is fascinating because it is a high plains desert. Unlike Death Valley or the Sahara, it’s relatively cool – in the 70’s all the way.

I got some great pics driving through the Red Rocks Canyon area. It really is big sky country out here.

The drive after leaving the Mohave area was quiet and easy. Great highways all the way – mostly 4-lane and well-marked and maintained. It was so quiet, I was even able to get out and get a couple shots in the middle of the highway!

The drive was basically the lower southern foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on both sides of me. I passed through some really nice little towns on the plains below Mammoth. The last major town before Mammoth was 5000 feet and I climbed over 3000 feet in just 50 miles! My sinues are going nuts. 🙂

Overall, a great day. I expect to relax mostly tomorrow, take some pictures and just take it easy. As of now, I’m here for tonight and tomorrow night. I don’t expect that to change. My hotel is great – like a cross between a bed and breakfast and a ski lodge.

On Thursday, I’m off to San Francisco.

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