Oct 12: NV/CA

Virginia City, NV

Carson City is a hole, so we backtracked a few miles to Virginia City. It is an odd little tourist trap, clinging to the hills east of Carson City, with the potential of becoming a really cool place. Right now it's just full of architectural leftovers, mining detritus, and stunning views to the east.

And, of course, a scary church

Lake Tahoe, NV

We get just close enough to Reno to grab some gas, and a new memory card for the camera at Wal-Mart.

Over the pass we go to Lake Tahoe -- nice!

Carson Valley, NV

After touring the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, we head back over the pass into Carson Valley, completely skirting the Carson City area -- yay! We eat lunch at a very pleasant little town called Genoa, birthplace of George Ferris, inventor of the Ferris Wheel. If my tuna melt is Nevada (with greater Las Vegas bitten off), my thumbnail indicates our approximate location.

Carson Valley reminds me a lot of Cache Valley, Utah, where I mostly grew up: very similar size, elevation, latitude, vegetation, surrounding mountains...at a glance, they are identical (at least in October). Not what I expected to see in northwest Nevada!

Nice Greek Revival silos

If you can't afford a place on Tahoe, maybe its little sister over the hill

State Highway 395, CA

Yikes -- we've run out of states!

California starts out fairly verdant

But soon we're back in the high country

Even so, that fall color just keeps a-comin'

Mono Lake, CA

Mono Lake is a briny bird refuge just east of Yosemite

It has all these funky once-underwater stalactites called tufa that have been exposed as Los Angeles slowly sucks the lake dry

Yosemite National Park, CA

Anne is excited about Yosemite -- even though gas at the west entrance is 80 cents more per gallon than we've seen just about anywhere else in the country!

We're still outside the park, and even the approach is spectacular

Here's what happens over and over on this road: you come to a feature -- a nice lake, say -- and you think OK, this is probably as good a shot as I am going to get of this feature...

...and then you go a little further, and look back, and see the same feature surrounded by even more spectacular stuff

Our entrance from the east affords this unusual view of Half Dome

The first sign we've seen with San Francisco on it!

The sun is setting, we have no reservations, there are no rooms at the Ahwahnee (like we could afford one), and the power is out in the rest of Yosemite and surrounding towns. The race is on to find a room for the night!

the next day...