Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eastern Sierras Trip #12

Time to head home, but in order to have a stop along the way we had a single night booked at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. However, there was yet an obstacle to overcome, namely that the Tioga Pass was closed. The snow we encountered earlier in the week had shut the pass a couple of days before. It didn't appear to us that this very early fall would close the pass for the winter, but that didn't mean it would open by the time we needed to use it either! There was another way to reach the valley, but only by following a 4+ hour detour, something we'd much rather not have to do.

The Ahwahnee is not a cheap place to stay - hence he decision to be there just one night - and we wanted to eat in the main hotel dining room, the only available slot being a table at 5:30 pm. Leaving Bodie at 1 pm would allow us to make this comfortably if the pass was open, but with the detour then there'd be no way to make this work.

Thankfully, the travel gods smiled upon us and the pass opened. There was still a few patches of ice around Tuolumne Meadow, something a bunch of Harley riders found out to their cost, with one bike ending up sitting in the middle of a field below the road, but apart that tat it was plain sailing ... err, driving. The only slow down was waiting for a work detail clearing trees from the side of the road around an area that had burned in a fire over the summer.

At the Ahwahnee we stayed in one of the cabins following a recommendation from a friend instead of opting for the main house. Cabin was fine, no real complaints, but hard to really conclude it's value for money if you just view it as a hotel. However, that's not the point. The point in staying here is the location, smack in the middle of Yosemite Valley and hence a unique opportunity to spend a night right under the granite cliffs and open skies of the Sierras. (Oh, and the food at dinner was fine but the scrambled eggs I ordered the next day for breakfast were inedible lumps of rubber. Go figure!)

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