Pasadena to Lee Vining

Take the 210 to the 5 to the 14. That part I have committed to memory. Turn right at the little town of Mojave, hook into 395 North, and head to Reno. It's pretty simple. And it's amazing once you leave the Los Angeles area how bleak and stark it becomes.

The first third of the trip looks like this.[left]

We certainly had intentions of stopping more often. But we didn't. There just wasn't anything that compelling to get us to stop. Tom's Place - thought about it for a few seconds; kept going. Fish Hatchery - a few along the way - we didn't stop for them either -- they kind of creeped us out.

We did stop in Lone Pine - a small town known for being the home of Mt. Whitney -- which is the tallest mountain in the continental United States. Great looking rock formations - smells good too - like vanilla and pine trees.They have a small visitor center with very knowledgeable staff, museum-like information, and a gift shop.

Beautiful -- but, as evidenced by Megan's reaction, not exactly Fun City

Welcome to Lee Vining

I can't really explain the fascination with Lee Vining. It's not rational. We have always been intrigued with a town that is as small as it is -- where you literally drive through in about 30 seconds. It sits at the edge of Yosemite and overlooks Mono Lake. But who lives there? What sort of commerce do they have? And who names a town Lee Vining? We found a plaque which gave us a brief explanation:

The name of this community honors Leroy Vining. In 1852 Lt. Tredwell Moore and soldiers of the 2nd Infantry pursued Indians of Chief Tenaya's tribe from Yosemite across the Sierra via Bloody Canyon. They took back mineral samples and a prospecting party was organized. In this group were The Vinings Lee & Dick, who established a camp at what is now Lee Vining Creek.

Plaque dedicated September 8, 1979
Bodie Chapter of E Clampus Vitus

But little else. The Tourist Information office and Chamber of Commerce was closed, and appeared to have been for a long time. Lee Vining is certainly in a beautiful location, and appears to be great for the outdoorsy types; who want to hike and camp and wilderness. I guess I'm not one of those guys.

The LA Times recently featured a chef who prepares gourmet foods in Lee Vining. No joke. Never saw any evidence of gourmet cooking. Just Nicely's. A fairly standard diner where we ate a diner-like dinner. We spent the night at the Best Western And after a diner-like breakfast at Nicely's.

We headed out to Bodie --the deserted ghost town just minutes from Lee Vining.

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