The hottest Place on Earth, extraterrestrial-looking Tufas and Giant Sequoias: from Las Vegas to San Francisco
|Destination||USA, Western National Parks|
|How and when I got there||Rental car, pick-up at Phoenix Airport, drop-off at LAX (Los Angeles); July 2012|
|Where I stayed||All prices in US Dollars are per room per night; AAA rate (membership in the German Automobile Association ADAC entitles for AAA rate).
Las Vegas: Caesar’s Palace (https://www.caesars.com/caesars-palace )
Lee Vining: Murphy’s Yosemite Motel (https://www.murpheysyosemite.com/ )
Mariposa: Yosemite Miners Inn (formerly “Mariposa Miners Inn”, https://www.yosemiteminersinn.com/ )
San Fransisco: Club Donatello (https://www.clubdonatello.org/ )
|Restaurants||Lee Vining: Whoa Nellie Deli (http://www.whoanelliedeli.com/)|
|Things to do||Our Highlights: Mono Lake at sunset, Mariposa Grove – Giant Sequoias|
|Recommendations in a nutshell||Same as for part 1 of this journey: Distances are huge – try to figure out a schedule with a maximum 4 hour drive per day; and remember Konfuzius: “The journey is the reward”|
|Recipe||The Wild Wild West Burger|
This is the third part of our US round trip: the first part is about New York City, the second part about some of the famous National Parks in the West, from Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, the fourth part about the West coast, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and the fifth part about Oahu, Hawaii.
After having had a nice dinner at the Caesar’s Restaurant and a nice walk along the famous Strip (see the USA – Western National Parks Tour, part 1) we left Las Vegas early the next morning.
Death Valley – really hot!
A quite ambitious route was scheduled for that day: from Las Vegas via the Death Valley up to the Mono Lake, aiming for an arrival before sunset.
Death Valley was spectacular in terms of outside temperatures – not unexpectedly. On the 10th of July 1913, the temperature at the Furnace Creek Ranch reached 134 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 56,7 degrees Celsius. And still the highest temperature measured so far. We watched the thermometer display in our car getting up and up (and beyond 105 degrees Fahrenheit…), sitting inside and well air-conditioned. However, when we stopped at “Dante’s View”. We went up the short trail and were rewarded with the famous view:
And we stopped at Zabriskie Point – which was really something to remember: opening the door of the car felt like stepping in front of a huge hairdryer on maximum heat.
The wind was so hot, that the kids immediately refused to get out of the car.
Transition – lots of kilometers on straight roads
After a short lunch break at the Furnace Creek gas station we moved on…
…via Highways no. 190 and 395 towards Mono Lake, the surrounding landscape getting a bit greener and more humid.
Mono Lake – spectacular Tufa formations
There are at least two options how to get to the famous Tufa formations. We decided for the “South Tufa Area”, as you can get pictures with the Tufa formations and the western mountains in the background.
We stayed at Murphy’s Yosemite Motel and had dinner at the Deli next to the Tioga Road, which turned out as a quite interesting, kind of old-fashioned place – we liked it! The Whoa Nellie Deli is a casual restaurant and had acquired a certain publicity across the US. The next day brought us to…
Yosemite National Park
…via Highway 120 (Tioga Road), and the ride through the mountains was really beautiful. We stopped for lunch breaks at Tenaya Lake…
… and at Porcupine Creek – just great!
Later in the afternoon we made the detour into the Yosemite Valley, and – despite getting a nice view of the Half Dome –
this was not such a good idea: there was a traffic jam throughout the entire loop drive; it took us 2 hours to get back to the Tioga Road, and that left us only 2 hours for
the Giant Sequoias near Wawona:
However, being late had the advantage that the woods were already pretty empty, we almost had it all for ourselves, aat least those trees further apart from the car park, like the “faithful couple”:
We arrived only after sunset at our days destination, the “Mariposa Miners Inn”, nowadays called “Yosemite Miners Inn”. The accommodation was OK for just an overnight stay, and we left early the next morning for
I had booked the Hotel “Club Donatello”, and that was one of our best choices ever. Compared to other hotels on our journey, it was medium priced and excellent quality. Big thumb up!
San Francisco marked the end of our “National Park Roundtrip”; from there we went down the California Coast. Read about SF and Highway no. 1 in the related Post “USA – West Coast”.
The Wild Wild West Burger (tribute to my favorite burger from the chain with the golden arches…)
For the “Special Burger”, start topping the lower bun half with Iceberg lettuce pieces, add Balsamico Onions, Tomatoes, the Burger patty, more onions and tomatoes, and upper part of the bun.
The perfect Brioche Burger Buns
“tribute to Bic Mac” Sauce
|New York||USA, Western National Parks, Part 1||USA West Coast||Oahu, Hawaii|
*According to a German Court decision, all texts containing links to commercial pages (e.g. links to Tripadvisor, Airline, hotel or restaurant websites) have to be identified as “commercial” (in German “Anzeige”). As my texts do contain links like that, I therefore identify each post and page containing a link as “Anzeige”. However (and referring to the “About Me” page) I would like to point out that I do NOT post any sponsored content in my texts; I pay for all my trips myself.