s/y Nine of Cups
Odyssey Addendum
Vegas-California-Vegas   -    August 2012
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Don't forget to check out:
National Parks & Monuments?

American Odyssey...Part I?
(Las Vegas to Denver)

American Odyssey...Part II?
(Denver to Boston)

American Odyssey...Part III?
(Boston to Vegas)

Birds of North America?

Wildflowers of North America?
Early in our American Odyssey, we took a sidetrip to visit David's
107-year-old Aunt Edna. David's favorite aunt, Edna was a peach. We
had taken David's mom, Becky, to visit her "big sister" on our last visit
home and we planned to do it again in September, but regretfully Aunt
Edna died in August and so instead, we brought Becky to say farewell.
Rather than heading onto the California highways, we stayed in Nevada on the western
slopes of the Sierra Nevadas. We had followed the same route to Death Valley, so when
we saw the wild burros in Beatty we weren't surprised. Signs like "Boiling Pot Road"
give you some indication of the type of desert climate we were driving through. Temps
soared in the 100's and we thanked God for A/C.
Endless, dull miles of dry, dusty, washed-out, bleached desert, scrub and sage accentuated by a joshua tree now and then. Old mining shacks sit by the roadside, long abandoned
when the ore veins went dry. Small towns like Goldfield and Tonopah try to gather in what tourists they can with alluring signs and old mining museums.
A few things caught our attention like the trailer truck lifted 30' off the ground. Walker Lake was beautiful, but we noticed nobody was swimming on this hot day. It seems the
water level has dropped dramatically (140 feet!) over the last century, due to diversion for irrigation, leaving its saline and pollutant levels extremely high. We stayed the night in
Fallon, NV then crossed over the Sierras into California and headed directly to Marysville. Once there, we had some free time and decided to visit the Yuba River State Park.
Above, David & Becky check out the Visitor's Center while the bear checks out Becky. The Bridgeport Covered Bridge, a landmark in the area, was closed for renovation, but
it's touted as the undisputed longest-span wooden covered bridge still surviving in the USA. Aunt Edna's memorial service was beautiful. David had the honor of delivering the
eulogy and then we took her ashes with us to be buried near San Francisco.
Aunt Edna was an adventurer. She went on vacation to Spain one year and stayed a decade. So, we didn't think she'd mind a circuitous route to
take her to her final resting place. We stayed the night in Marin County and took a quick hike through
Muir Woods National Monument. We
had dinner at The Spinnaker in Sausalito, one of our favorite restaurants, and got a good taste of San Francisco's infamous fog. Above, a view of
the bay from the top of the hill near Muir Woods; the ferry dock in Sausalito with the Golden Gate Bridge just peeking over the hill. As we ate
dinner, we watched the "fog creep on little cat feet" across the bay and down the hill.
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge is always a thrill...even it was foggy. We stopped on the other side for a photo opp. We headed next to the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
Row upon row of white stones marked the graves of veterans and their spouses. Becky's parents, David's grandparents, are buried here and at Becky's request, we stopped to
say hello. We brought Aunt Edna to join Uncle Roland and though sad, we felt honored that we had the opportunity to say our final farewell.
When we visited Yosemite National Park earlier in the season, the Tioga Road through the park and over the Sierras was closed for the season. We decided we'd take this
opportunity to drive through Yosemite and Becky was all for it. The day was beautiful and the scenery was awe-inspiring.
We hadn't spotted a pika last time we visited, but we were luckier this time. Different wildflowers were in bloom this time including sierra lessingia and rock beardtongue. We were over
the Tioga Pass by mid-afternoon and riding along California's scenic Rte 395 and the western slope of the Sierras.
We stayed in Mammoth Lakes for the night mostly so we could visit the rather
obscure Devils Postpile National Monument. Becky was a good sport and let us
push her up the bumpy, gravel trail in her wheelchair so she didn't miss a thing.
Then it was meandering through the mountains and back to the desert for the long
ride back to Las Vegas.
We dreaded the long ride back across the desert. Even the entrance into Nevada is pretty depressing. We'd seen several thunderheads and rain clouds in the distance, but felt
nary a drop. NV 266, however, had been inundated, however and the road was closed as highway maintenance fellows surveyed the situation. David made his own
observations and after watching one car edge its way through, he decided it was safe to traverse the mini-torrent. No problems, but it did provide a bit of a distraction to the
long ride. The usually dry roadside of US95 was dotted with little lakes and ponds.
We were tired when we arrived back
at Becky's house in Las Vegas. The
trip, however, had been a good
opportunity for Becky to say goodbye
to Edna, visit her parents and spend
some time with us... a change of pace
from the usual day-to-day.

And now...the American Odyssey was
really complete. Time to sell the car,
the GPS and camping gear and get to
thinking about heading back to Nine of
Cups.  Next stop Tasmania!