Saturday, July 25, 2015

Trial Run

Today and tomorrow, I'm working through some of my anxiety about leaving California. I know I will return, but I still feel I must say good-bye to some of my favorite places before I start my big road trip, And I need to get used to the new car. Today, I drove over Sonora Pass, had dinner in Bridgeport and headed to Coleville for the night.

Knowing I will be heading east most of the day and wanting to have the sun at my back, I didn't leave home till noon. Logan chose to stay home which suits me. He'll be able to take care of the animals.

His new futon arrived yesterday and he and Wes set it up last night, it's really nice looking. His room is much more spacious and I think he likes having it look more like a bachelor pad. Colleen and Andy hauled away the old bed this morning, so my obsessive need to get rid of junk is satisfied.

I started my journey driving south on Latrobe Road to Highway 16.  I picked up Highway 49 and drove to Sonora. Even the Live Oak trees seem to be suffering from the drought, everything looks like tinder waiting to burst into flame. Scorched patches along the roadside show evidence of small fires fortunately contained without much damage. An apparently empty canyon sits beneath the bridge that used to cross New Melones Dam. Four years without sufficient rain is terrifying. Most of the landscape between El Dorado Hills and Sonora is rolling grassy hills with an occasional scattering of cattle. A few new vineyards struggle to survive.

And because it is familiar territory, my mind wanders and I enter the meditative zone of zen driving.
It comes to me that I'm not ready to be homeless. I need to maintain a California base. And a perfect solution presents itself. I will take in Danny as soon as Logan leaves. My lease declares that there will be two occupants of my apartment, I'll just swap out Logan's name for Danny's. I'll split the rent with him and he can take care of the animals. I won't have to find a place for them while I'm gone. I'll have to talk to him about it when I get back.

After leaving Sonora, the road climbs quickly and I remember the early skiing days of Tommy, Billy, and Danny when we took this route through Twain Harte and Mi-Wuk Village to Dodge Ridge. It wasn't long before Dodge Ridge was too tame for the boys and we sought more challenging slopes at Kirkwood, NorthStar, and Sierra-at-Tahoe. I loved those days of being the Granny-on-the-porch keeping track of gloves, goggles, hats, and lunch money.

The road climbs and narrows as we pass Strawberry and the point of winter closure. At still higher elevations we pass favortie summer camping spots, Kennedy Meadows, and some unnamed place very near the summit surrounded by granite boulders with the Tuolomne River crashing through narrow slots in the rocks.

And then, the summit:

The eastern slope of Sonora pass is my favorite Sierra vista. I had to see it one more time before leaving California. The road quickly descends to the mountain wilderness survival camp of the Marine Corps and then joins highway 395.

I head south on 395 to Bridgeport where I have dinner at the Burger Barn. There isn't much happening on this stretch of high desert between Bridgeport and Coleville where I will spend the night at MeadowCliff Lodge.

El Dorado Hills to Sonora: 77.4 miles ( 1 hour 35 min)
Sonora to MeadowCliff Lodge, Coleville (96 miles 2 hours 35 min)
Room Rare: $80 double $95 single
Gas Price in Sonora: $3.249
Temperature in Sonora at 2PM: 90 degrees

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