We hit the road at 5:30AM to avoid the Valley floor crowds. The only problem was the temperature which hovered around 49 degrees during the ride through Toulumne Meadows and then over the Tioga Pass.
The Tioga Pass is about 10,000 feet in elevation. Normally closed in winter the pass had opened the week before. The roads were clear but there was still quite a bit of snow on the sides. It was the first challenging ride. With no guardrails and steep embankments, there was little margin for error.

We ran into this yellow bellied marmot who was sunning himself and a little disappointed to see that tourists had arrived so early. He was about the size of a Golden Retriever.

We stopped at a overlook with another spectacular view of Half Dome. This picture clearly shows that there are extraterrestrials living in Yosemite.

This frozen lake is at the entrance to the Tioga Pass from the Tuolumne side.

Lone Pine, CA

Lone Pine is famous as the Hollywood set for the old western movies with Tom Mix, (a little before our time) Hopalong Cassidy, and John Wayne. The Lone Ranger TV show was also shot here. We stayed at the Dow Villa motel, which apparently hosted the Hollywood stars when they were in town.
Lone Pine also has the most spectacular view of Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain peak in the contiguous United States. People didn’t know much in the town. We asked several questions regarding food, museums, etc., and no one seemed to know what we were talking about. We had a dip in the pool, did some laundry and had a great dinner (narrowly escaping the Mexican Bonanza restaurant with the hand-written menu which could of laid us up for a few days). We couldn’t make it through the movie we borrowed from the front desk and went to bed at 8:30pm.

The Dow Villa is on Main Street in beautiful Lone Pine.

Click on the image to the right to learn about the Duke and the Dow

Mount Whitney at dusk

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