Archive for July 13th, 2008

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This morning we awoke around 7:30AM. After dressing and packing, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the Best Western Motel where we had spent the night. Best Westerns are really great places to stay. They’re clean, the décor is a cut above Motel 6, and they have all the special amenities: ironing board ( a must!), blow dryer, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower cap, Kleenex, refrigerator, etc. The one in Bishop even had a Microwave in the room.

After getting our breakfast, we sat at a small table in the front motel lobby. It was quite cozy there with a fireplace and windows with an incredible view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

After breakfast, we gassed the Sequoia, fondly named, “The General”, and headed north on 395 towards Mammoth Lakes. We took some last pictures of Mt. Whitney and bade our goodbyes. We stopped again in the town of Bishop. Mike had wanted to purchase a topographic map of the area. He had seen this map when we were up in the White Mountains at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine visitor center. They had told him he could purchase one of these maps in Bishop at the BLM. Mike and I both enjoy reading maps, so we were happy to have this one, which provided so much valuable information on this environ. There is another roadmap that we have. It is called the Bible. It shows us the way of salvation and is taking us on an incredible journey. If we follow and heed its advice and pay attention to its signs along the way, it will direct us to our eternal destination in Heaven. What a treasure this road map is!

We reached Mammoth about an hour later and stopped by their visitor center. It’s always so interesting to frequent a visitor center when we travel to new locations. We learn so much from their books, displays and by asking questions to the rangers there. Afterwards, we stopped by a Quiznos for lunch. We had originally planned to take a gondola ride all the way to the top of Mammoth Mountain. We were told they have a geological center at the top. However, we learned that the gondola would be down for a few weeks to undergo maintenance. How disappointing for us. I know that maintenance is vital in order to keep these vehicles of transportation running safely. And I’m glad for it. We too need to have maintenance – not only with our physical health, but also our spiritual health.

We decided to drive around Mammoth and explore the area. As we drove along Lake Mary Road, we enjoyed several encounters with beautiful lakes and awesome scenery. Lakes Mary and George offered tranquil settings and phenomenal vies of the snow-capped mountains jutting towards the sky. The serenity of the lakes and pine trees make this a great place to camp and relax. As we continued up Lake Mary Road, we came to a lookout vista. Far below we saw the lovely Twin Lakes (not to be confused with the Twin Lakes where we stayed in Bridgeport). There were a couple of foot and motor bridges crossing the lake area. We had to find a way to drive down there so we could explore! As we were doing so, we came to another lake called Horseshoe Lake. There was something definitely different about this lake. Although it was nice, we noticed that many of the trees nearby were dying or already dead. Sections of the area were roped off, and danger signs were posted indicating the presence of toxic gas. We learned that since 1980, scientists have monitored geologic unrest in the Long Valley Caldera and at adjacent Mammoth Mountain. After a persistent swarm of earthquakes beneath Mammoth Mountain in 1989, earth scientists discovered that large volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas were seeping from beneath this volcano. This gas is killing trees on the mountain and also can be a danger to people. The USGS continues to study the CO2 emissions to help protect the public from this invisible potential hazard. While we were briefly at this location, we ran across a woman walking three unusual looking dogs. When we asked her about her dog’s breed, it sounded like she said that they were Scottish Short Hairs. We had never heard or seen of this type of dog. I was unable to find this breed anywhere on the Internet. However, I found a breed called the Scottish Deerhound that looked very similar to her dogs. This woman was making light of the warning signs in the area. She said that she had been coming there for years and never had any problems. I think she may have been in denial. The strange thing is that from the time we arrived at the lake until we left, I had developed a sudden headache. I found out a little later that this was one of the signs of Carbon Dioxide poisoning.

After leaving Horseshoe Lake, we found the road leading down to the Twin Lakes. When we arrived, we heard the sound of a waterfall, and minutes later, Twin Lakes and the waterfall came into our view. We parked the car and walked around this beautiful place. Mike and I had fun taking pictures of the snow-capped mountains and falls. Photography is new to me. I had never realized how enjoyable it could be until this last year.

We continued on the Lake Mary Road loop, and when we finished, we then drove to the Minarets Summit View. From this height (about 9,200 feet), we had a breathtaking view of the craggy Minarets and Mammoth Mountain. Afterwards, we checked into the Mammoth Inn, which is only about ten minutes from the Minaret summit view. We had a cozy room with two queen beds, laden with 5 pillows each and a featherbed like duvet. It was very plush and comfortable. We felt like we were lying in the lap of luxury in these beds…all for a AAA rate of only $94.50.

We decided to walk over to the Mountainside Grill for dinner since it was so close. This restaurant was upstairs in a loft-like setting with linen tablecloths and antler chandeliers. It appeared to be an upscale eatery. However, it took them several minutes to seat us, apparently because they could not find a menu. When we finally were escorted to our table, a one-page menu was handed to us on an 8 ½ x 11” sheet of paper. This was a little unusual to me. For a restaurant of this caliber, I would have expected something more. Oh well. But when we started reading the names of the few entrée choices, we were baffled. We had never heard of some of these dishes. Many had French names like “au poivre”. Although I had taken 4 years of French in high school, we never studied the more exotic cuisine names. We decided to leave this establishment and drove the extra ten minutes to our favorite Italian restaurant, Perry’s. I ordered the Eggplant Fantastico with pasta, Marinara sauce and a vegetable medley of (squash, cauliflowers and broccoli. Mike ordered lasagna. Both dishes were delicious, but nobody can make eggplant like my mom. Mike said that he liked my lasagna better. We split a giant canolli for dessert. It was a yummy meal! The nice thing about Perry’s, besides the good food, service and friendly atmosphere is that they actually play Italian music. Most other Italian restaurants we have visited did not even play Italian music. It brought back memories of my grandmother singing some of those songs when I was a child. O-So-La- Mio!

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