Day 1: Sandy Valley, Nevada to Mammoth, California

We're starting out on a road trip through the Pacific Northwest. There should be pictures soon to go along with the stories and the reason for their delay will soon become clear when we get to the "computer hard drive dies" portion of the trip.Eight miles from home we remembered the things we'd forgotten. Thinking them necessary we made a quick round-trip and were back on the road. With the obligatory tardiness in the initial start we were on the road about an hour behind schedule. After dropping in on the parents we were on the road headed up US 95 towards our first stop at the Death Valley Fruit and Nut company in Beatty, Nevada.Stocked with some hard candies we were again headed north. The shuddered and for-sale bordello, Cottontail Ranch, marked the point were were to depart from US 95 and head west. The trip across Lida summit, through Oasis and past Deep SpringsDeep Springs College.

Climbing up the White Mountains past Deep Springs distant weather to the North seemed to be moving slowly south. Roaslind was engaged in telling a long story, likely recounting an earlier trip, in the back seat when we turned off the highway to visit the ">Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Each curve in the winding road shows the storm to be closer than the last. Reaching the visitor's center at Schulman Grove the clouds blanket the sky but don't seem too foreboding. After the 18-minute interpretive video presentation we emerged from the small theater to find rain. Many sayings speak to the sudden violent nature of weather in the desert. Mixed with the harsh alpine environs the storms in this region are spectacular. In the website about this grove the US Forest Service writes "visitors are urged to come prepared for just about any weather conditions."

As the storms passed we descended into the Owens Valley and stopped in Bishop for dinner. Desiring to sample the local fare as much as possible we stopped in Jack's Bakery and Restaurant. Dinner was quite good. The hostess was kind to tell us that the Beef-Barley soup had a bit too much salt in it so we went with more traditional fare. Jack's has a terrific hamburger. The combination of good, perfectly aged beef and home made hamburger buns was well worth it. The only drawback with the dinner is it was so tasty and filling that we had no room to sample the plentiful scrumptious looking desserts. As the sun sagged in the western sky we pushed on to the Shilo Inn in Mammoth Lakes. The inn is a suitable combination of a good night's rest and a winter ski lodge. There is little to say about our stay other than that the Wi-Fi worked and gave me the chance to wrap up a few loose ends at work.