Saturday, 2 September 2017
Yosemite NP to Cedar City, Utah, 495 miles
Saturday morning, we were not in a huge hurry to get going, as we planned to use our breakfast vouchers at the Majestic, so we got packed up and made our way down to the dining room. While we would have preferred to order from the menu, it was pretty clear that having the buffet would be the thing to do, so we surrendered. The buffet was good, and the food was fresh since there were a lot of people getting it, too. Just one problem – the eggs Benedict was a very popular item, and it was out almost the whole time we were there. I finally got one just when I was about to give up, and had the egg over the delicious lox they served. It was time to say goodbye to Yosemite Valley, though we would still be in the park for quite a while longer. After one last look at the lovely old hotel, we hit the road – turning east for the first time….
Our route would take us back out to California Highway 120, which would take us completely across the northern portion of Yosemite, and then we would take US 395 south for a bit. It was a pleasant drive through parts of the park that we hadn’t seen, and there were lots of people hiking, camping, swimming, and hanging out on this holiday weekend. We drove past Tuolumne Meadows and then caught a glimpse of Mt. Dana, the second-highest peak in the park, which still had snow on it! Kim was getting her first practice at winding mountain roads after a few days of no driving at all.
We were almost out of gas, and we had heard all about a little gas station that had a great restaurant in it, but somehow we missed seeing it. We went into the town of Lee Vining hoping to find it, but no luck. We did find Lake Mono National Park, so we stopped there to see what it was and to find out about the gas station, which turned out to be just inside the park. We had a look at Lake Mono, which is a big saline lake with some volcanic islands in it, and it’s a great place for birding. It was already getting hot, and we had a lot of ground to cover, so back we went to the Mobil station (home of the Whoa Nellie Deli) to fill up, and then we were off, ready to cross the desert that is Nevada.
While US 50 across Nevada may have earned the title “Loneliest Road in America”, we would beg to differ with that opinion. At least it had three little towns on it! This southern route was much more deserted! If not for the horses, cows, and extraterrestrials, we would not have seen any living things. We saw not a single other car going in our direction! Early in the route we went through the town of Tonopah, home to the creepy Clown Motel (calling David M!!) and then we saw not much else except the ‘town’ of Rachel (which was pretty much a trailer park). We enjoyed the Extraterrestrial Highway, but we disappointed not to have any (live) ET sightings. We stopped for gas in Caliente, the smallest incorporated town in Nevada (population around 1100) and admired the depot (which is also the library, town hall, and museum) that was across the street from the Sinclair station. We finally made it to the Utah border and found our way to the Holiday Inn Express in Cedar City.
Even though it was Saturday night, we barely made it to Centro Woodfired Pizza before it closed at 10 PM; however, the host seated us cheerfully and our server, Jacee, could not have been friendlier. We shared a pizza – Kim had Fennel Sausage and I had Pollo Bianco – and had a beer and both were delicious! The thin crust pizza was done perfectly and the toppings were plentiful and good. We were enticed by the Nutella Piegato for dessert – “pizza dough filled with creamy Nutella, folded (Piegato) and baked in our wood fired oven until gooey and delicious. Finished with whipped cream and a nutella drizzle.” Oh boy, was it good! And we saved enough to give Jayce a couple of pieces, too.
We didn’t even try to blog or do pictures tonight, because tomorrow would be a LONG day and we needed to get some rest.