US Road Trip Travelog: 26th March 2005

Like New Orleans, San Francisco is not an easy place to leave. In more than one sense - not only is it a great city but the roads and traffic on the way out are no fun. It's like they want you to stay.

A lot of places on the internet selling classic cars offer rust-free ones from California. If that car comes from San Francisco it will almost certainly need the following:

And probably new brakes as well. Basically don't buy a car that's spent any time here.

Riviera at 80,000 miles
Riviera at 80,000 miles.

I'm trying to head east across the Interstates, and eventually find my way to Highway 120. On the way the Riviera clocks up 80,000 miles. This landmark probably means that it deserves a wash, wax and full valet rather than being thrown 6000 ft up into the mountains. Oops.

Highway 120 into Yosemite
Highway 120 on the way into Yosemite.

The destination today is Yosemite National Park. At the very least I'm hoping to see a short character with an extravagant red moustache and two flintlock pistols.

Highway 120 on the way up to the park twists and turns its way up the mountains and is a great drive. Once along or near the top the road is flatter but no less attractive. Whilst dodging the rain in Santa Barbara I bought a book titled 'Scenic Driving California', where I found this route, and it's living up to the description.

Mountains in Yosemite
Mountains in Yosemite.

The mountains in the distance are certainly spectacular but what I completely failed to capture in any of my pictures is that there's a valley off to the right at least as deep as that mountain is tall. Helps to focus your attention on the corners, that's for sure.

Snow in Yosemite
Snow in Yosemite. At times this drive feels like being on a bobsleigh run.

Yosemite itself costs $20 per car. At the turning point near the village the road changes name to Highway 41 for the long run downhill.

The descent from 6000 ft is less interesting than the drive up as it's much straighter. It's also quite a bit more taxing on the car. Before too long the brakes are getting very hot and beginning to judder a bit (though the car still stops fine). I was thinking of going further south today but I think we'll call it quits and stop off in Fresno. The Comfort Inn is anonymous and it's in the middle of nowhere but both car and driver welcome the chance to cool down and rest for the night.

US Road Trip Travelog: 27th March 2005 >