Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 7 to Lee Vining, CA

We left Baker, NV after a good breakfast at the LectroLux cafe and heading across Nevada on US 6.  It was not an exciting drive.  For example, we were excited to see this:
Lonely rest stop. That's our road in the background.
Although it turned out that some other people came in and we shared a picnic table with them and talked about national parks.
It seemed like our drive today took forever!  And it was supposed to be shorter!  We had a 15 minute break waiting for the pilot car to come through a construction area, although when we went through, there didn't seem to be any actual construction.
Follow me through this nice smooth pavement.

Anyway, we FINALLY arrived at Lee Vining, CA and were treated to beautiful views of Mono Lake.  
This was taken from the gas station!

Speaking of gas stations, we went to one for dinner.  Really.  It was awesome!  I don't remember where I heard about the Whoa Nelly Deli but the food there is great.
Jeff picks up our food at the counter.

Besides their regular menu, there was an elk special and a boar chops special.  Tempting.
The fish tacos won.  The mango salsa was especially tasty.

After dinner, we went for a walk around Mono Lake.  We thought we might go for a swim, but then we found out it's salty and alkaline.  When you put a hand in, the water feels slippery and soapy.  It was very strange.  The lake has lots of these rock formations, called tufa.  They're formed when fresh water springs bubble up through the salty lake.  The lake water has receded quite a bit, which exposed many of the tufa.

This one looks like a bear cub climbing a tree.

The lake is also brimming with alkali flies and brine shrimp.  It's Sea Monkey heaven!  

Birds love eating sea monkeys.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 6 to Baker, NV

We had our 7 am wake up call again, so we ate some breakfast, got packed up and headed out again.  We made a slight change to the itinerary so that we could go to a new (for us) National Park: Capitol Reef.
We got off I-70 and went on some Utah state routes to get to the park.  For some reason, it was a great day to spot very old cars and trucks, such as these:
It's a Goliath 1100.  Anyone heard of that?

This could be Mater from Cars!

It was once again very hot - around 100 - but Capitol Reef has a river running through.  It makes it feel much cooler.  Settlers here planted fruit trees and the park service keeps that up so there are green groves every once in a while along the road.
For example, this is where we had lunch.

There were lots of beautiful formations, and we would love to come back and spend more time here.  
Navajo Dome

Capitol Rock

Jeff and Marjorie on a rock outcropping by the river

Capitol Reef also has a restored homestead in the park.  There are fruit orchards where you can pick in season.  At the house, they sell ice cream and baked goods made from things raised in the area.  Of course, we had to get some:
Pumpkin scone & strawberry-rhubarb pie.
We already ate the ice cream.

This lizard just caught and ate a bug.
There were also some horses near the camp ground.
Rebecca and I went to say hello to them.
We also some some deer and lizards today!

Deer at Capitol Reef
After Capitol Reef, we got back on the road heading to Baker, NV.  We went near the Oak City fire and could see smoke from the road.  Once again it was hot and windy in the afternoon.  In spots, sand was blowing across the road.

Smoke from I-70

More smoke
 However, we turned away from the fire and made it safely to Baker, NV and the SilverJack Inn and LectroLux cafe.  I had purchased the "It's the Economy Stupid" special, which included our room and dinner and breakfast.  It's a great place, very laid back and relaxed.  We enjoyed sitting in the courtyard last night after dinner, and we appreciate the fast Internet too!  After breakfast this morning (French toast, oatmeal and bacon) we are heading to Lee Vining, CA.  See you there!

We sat on the yellow benches to check email last night.

Our room is off this courtyard.

There are a million swallows here. Rebecca really liked the nest over the door of the Cafe.
But one pooped on me!

An evening hike

Here's a continuation of our day in Moab:

Turrett Arch
After dinner, we went back to Arches National Park because we wanted to check out the windows area.

There is an easy hike that takes you all the way around the North and South Window formation.  When you get behind them, you can see both together.

First we went to North Window.

Shadow me in the foreground, everyone else in the arch.
It was pretty nice for hiking - still hot but not TOO hot.  The path on this side was flat and wide.  We got up in the arch to climb on rocks and check out the view on the other side.

Next we went to see South Window.

After this, the path got a little more rugged!  It went across rock and was marked with cairns.  There were some places to scramble over rocks, which Rebecca enjoyed.  There was hardly anyone on the trail since it was marked Primitive.  Since it was getting toward sunset, the light on the rocks was beautiful.
Sunset light

View from the Windows.

The Spectacles

On the trail, we could get around the back of the Windows and see them both together.  We thought the bush in the middle could be the nose.

The path wound through some scrubby desert back to our car.  I had a hard time keeping up because I kept stopping to take pictures!

Rebecca was getting pretty sleepy, so we got in the van to head back to the cabin.  On the way, we stopped a few times to take sunset pictures.

End of the hike

LaSal Mountains sunset

Sunset at Sheep Rock

More on Moab

Ok, time for a little catching up!

Yesterday we spent the day in Arches National Park and Moab, UT.  It is really hot here, unseasonably hot even for Moab.  Highs have been over 100 degrees every day.  So we decided that we'd get up, get breakfast and go to the park early.  Then lunch back at the cabin, followed by some shopping and dinner in Moab.  Then back to the park for some more exploring in the evening.

This plan worked great!  The campground even provided us with a 7 am wake up call:
This equipment shook our cabin!

Apparently, an 85-room hotel is being built next to the campground.  So we watched some earth moving while eating our breakfast.

Then on to Arches National Park!  The last time we were here, when Marjorie was 4, we didn't go see Delicate Arch.  That's the one on the license plates and everything.  I remember that we were just too hot and tired by the time we got done with a different hike.  This time we went there FIRST.  Although we did decide to take a hike to a viewpoint, and not the 6 mile hike to the base of the actual arch.  The path climbed up a ridge and across some rocks for a great view.

Next we went to see Landscape Arch.  It's the longest span in the park, and since part of it fell off in 1991 they haven't let you get too close to the base of it.  This trail had some sandy places and it went between some rock fins.

When MHZ was sitting here, she couldn't spot the arch.
Should have walked around the corner for a better view!

After that hike, we were getting hot and hungry, so we headed back to our cabin for lunch.  We had planned to cook some French toast and bacon for brunch, but did I mention the bugs?  The campground is infested with Tamarisk beetles, which made it very annoying to cook or eat outside.  We made sandwiches inside instead.

After some showers and rest, we went into Moab for shopping.  Of course we had to stop at Desert Thread, where I hardly bought anything.  Just buttons for my sweater.  We poked around and picked up some souvenirs and then went to Sabaku Sushi.  It was amazing, and Rebecca got to use chopsticks to eat her chicken and rice.  We had a salad with daikon & local greens, fish and ponzu vinagrette, a LaSal roll, then a plate of elk tataki.  Everything was delicious, and we topped it off with gelato from Moab Coffee Roasters!

We have great internet here in Baker, so I'll update again tomorrow morning about our evening hike and today's adventures at Capitol Reef.

From the top: Turkish roast, salted caramel chocolate chip,
tangerine bing cherry, and triple dark chocolate.