We started our travels two days into Caleb’s leave period. This gives us 28 days to drive north through Seattle, WA; east through southern Canada; into Maine; south through Chicago, IL; and then back home to San Diego. It’s a good thing we hesitated because this gave Caleb a chance to catch up with jet lag before getting interrupted sleep on a camping trip with dogs.
We would’ve left Saturday night, but that gives us a higher chance of driving in the dark when we can’t see anything, so we got a late start on Sunday instead. I would’ve been up at 4:00 am, but my anticipation had me up until 1:00 am, so we slept till 6:30 am which wouldn’t have us out of the house until 9:00 am. Lucky for us, people are still drunk and sleeping or busy at home getting ready for church and we have no problems getting to the 395 via the 215 by 11:00 am.
Lunch will be strawberries and cottage cheese for me and celery with cookie dough peanut butter for Caleb before stopping at Manzanar National Historic Site. It’s 96 degrees so we don’t spend as much time as we want in the museum and the gardens were damaged from a recent flood, but the origami is still on the cemetery monument and Caleb takes plenty of pictures while I walk and water the dogs. Caleb agrees on the beauty of the place, but also on the sad tragedy that is its history.
Our next stop will be Erick Schatt’s Bakkery, a favorite of ours, in Bishop for a veggie sandwich on wheat with cranberry mayo and a pickle wedge – each half being the size of a complete meal. This would give us the energy needed to make it to the Mobil Gas Station, near Lee Vining, on Tioga Pass Rd where we would share a 395 IPA, for our love of the road and a delicious hoppy beer, while hearing a live band in the background of our conversation, and wishing we still had room for salad and mashed potatoes as we see them be consumed off nearby plates.
It still being summertime and with a line at the gas station and parking hard to find we expect the same situation in Yosemite and don’t want to chance not finding camping once inside the park. We agree to check the campsites before the entrance and then back track if necessary. We find a cute spot – site 20 among some aspen trees for $14 at Lower Lee Vining Campground. We put some food down for the dogs, tie them to the table, and take a walk along the creek or river (depending on which side of the camp you find yourself on – the water flow varies).
We find new plants to stare at, but mosquitoes are never fun and the DEET is in the car, so it’s back to camp for us. Caleb sets up the tent while I sit down to make notes of the day. We brought plenty of reading material and headlamps for the evening, but as my head hits my tiny pillow I soon find myself asleep. Caleb will read a chapter of Fire & Ice before joining me in dreamland after a day of putting 438 miles on the car.