As a kid, it seemed to me that the goal of driving to Reno during summer vacation was to get it done in one day.

Mom and Dad would get us up at 5:00am, we would get on the road at 5:45am. Bathroom break in Mojave. Lunch break in Independence. Reno by 2:00. Power it out. Get it done. Takes you 8-9 hours.

You're spent, but you're there.

And it was never a terribly fun drive. Route 395 has some beautiful, natural sites, [Sierra Nevada Mountains, Truckee River, Mt. Whitney] but who can bother to look at them when daylights a'wastin? When you have to make it through the desert before it gets too hot? Stop in Bishop? Just for a minute -- gotta make good time.

Once I got my license, and started driving the route on my own, my inclination was to drive all 500 miles in one day. That's what I learned. And over the years, I've had some pretty wild experiences on 395 - from high winds to major snowfall - from beastly heat to pogonip. I even took a 6 hour 'short cut' through Yosemite National Park.

Stopped in Bodie once.

2Adults1Child has taken the drive a couple of times. Again, we did it all in one day, and again, it was pretty excruciating.

The first time, Megan was 3 ½. She has never been one to nap, and at the time she could not yet read. So, after the coloring books and a few other activities ran their course [at around mile 24], she talked to us the entire trip. Holy Vocabulary, Batman! More recently, in our Ford Explorer, the trip was roomier to be sure, and Meg travels really well now, but it was still incredibly long. And we weren't sure when we would do it again.

Then, suddenly, earlier this year, everybody was leaving Reno. Sue's husband Ken got a promotion and they relocated to Rocklin, CA.

This caused Grandma to rethink staying in Reno. At 93 [and now alone, Gramps passed away in 1989] she decided to move back to the Cleveland area, where her daughter Kathy lives.

So then, without any of the players in place, the final drive to Reno was all but imminent. It was just over the horizon - just beyond Mono Lake -- just on the other side of Bridgeport.

The last drive to Reno. That had a really nice ring to it.

This time, we opted to do something really unusual -split the trip into two smaller pieces. Stopping in Lee Vining and spending the night. I also wanted to show the girls Bodie, the old deserted mining town. And we wanted to have the flexibility of stopping along the way for longer than 12 minutes. But that was all.

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