Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Whoa Nellie!

Even though we spent yesterday viewing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, I don't think it's one bit odd that I should start out by sharing our carrot cake with you! Because it was super delicious! It even surpassed the gooey chocolate cake we checked out, all at the Whoa Nellie Deli. I had read about this surprising little place and vowed that we would try to stop there on our trip to Yosemite. It is in a Mobil gas station at the intersection of 395 and the Tioga Pass road into the east side of Yosemite at Lee Vining, CA. There's no sign outside so you really have to know what to look for in order to find it. It is an unexpected gourmet delight, we had coffee and cake which was pretty pricey but OK for the 4 of us to share. Plus the pieces were huge. We sat outside in the picnic table area, had a view of Mono Lake which is a very large lake with some strange characteristics. The water in the lake is 4 times saltier than ocean water, it has no outlet so all the inflow becomes very alkaline and full of minerals creating these strange tufa towers. It was nearly drained to supply the city of LA with water, but in 1995 that was stopped to allow the lake to regenerate, so now the level is slowly rising.
We didn't have a lot of time to spend inside Yosemite, but did enjoy stopping at a couple places to get out and walk a little and take the typical tourist photos. This one shows me with my parents, Bob and Sally, kind of windblown with the backside of Half Dome in the distance.
This is Tenaya Lake:
It was a beautiful sunny day, warm in the valleys but cool at the higher elevations. When I was a kid my parents took us on a camping vacation every August and it was usually to someplace in the Rocky Mountains. I have many many memories of our drives through the great national parks and feel very fortunate that my mom and dad made those trips happen for us, even though it meant squeezing the time off into the farming schedule and often missing the first few days of school. They set me up to value the natural beauty around us and family time. Yesterday I got to pay it back a little bit by taking them on a tour of an area that they really had not visited very much before. For a change, they got to ride along and enjoy the scenery, not worry about roads and maps and lunch stops and kids fighting in the back seat!

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