Day 23 - Las Vegas to Yosemite NP  
   
    It was a very hot morning in California.    
Minolta X-570 with 24mm f/2.8 MC VFC Rokkor Film: Fuji Superia Reala
 

David and I had planned to wake early and get on the road straight away as we had a lot of miles to cover today. It is approximately 480 miles from Las Vegas to Yosemite by the most convenient route, which is a very long journey for one day. We couldn't afford to waste any time.

David was still not feeling 100% but had decided to drive given that I had been up until about 4.30am. The day did not get off to a great start when he realised he had just taken two sleeping tablets instead of two asprin - snoozing in the car was going to be out of the question for me! As a result we left a little later than originally planned.

After originally planning to drive through Death Valley we had changed our plans due to concerns that such a route would make the day just too long. As it was we had an estimated 10 hours ahead of us on the road, possibly more.

 
 
 
 
The proximity to Area 51 must make for great tourist-trap potential.
 
 
Minolta X-570 with 35mm f/1.8 MD W.Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala
 
 

Our route was a quick but boring one, certainly not as scenic as the past week or two. We headed south west along I-15 from Las Vegas towards Barstow, where we would branch west along Highway 58 to Bakersfield, and then North on Highway 99 to Fresno before a final stretch along Highway 41 to the South entrance to Yosemite National Park.

Our first break along the way came at a small town called Baker, about 90 miles from Las Vegas. Baker's only real claim to fame (if you could call it that) is that the road to the Southernmost tip of Death Valley National Park intersects with the I-15 there.

The lack of any really interesting sights hasn't stopped the locals from making the most of the Interstate traffic however - as can be seen above, if there aren't any natural sights, why not make some of your own?

 
 
 
 
Baker - the only place I know where you can buy an alien in a jar.
 
 
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala
 
 

After our brief stopover in scenic Baker David and I got back in the car and decided to get serious about eating up the miles. It was decided that I was only allowed to stop and photograph if it was something particularly imageworthy. After three weeks of rampant photography this was a tough call to make, right up until I realised just how boring all of the landscape was that we were travelling through. I saved up my photo credits and only stopped the car a couple of times for the rest of the day.

 
 
 
 
God forbid that your mail was delivered in alphabetical order.
 
 
Minolta X-570 with 35mm f/1.8 MD W.Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala
 
 

Zzyzx Rd is on the outskirts of Baker, and leads (not surprisingly) to Zzyzx Springs, an old health resort started by an entrepreneurial doctor named Doc Springer in the early 1900's. The resort closed following his eviction from the land (seems it didn't actually belong to him) but his legacy lives on in this classic name he created that never ceases to delight passers by.

Apart from Zzyzx Rd a couple of interesting sights were captured, but my favourite was a bizarre old metalwork business out in the middle of nowhere. This place just appeals to my love of old signs and junk - if only I had had an hour or so to wander the yard with my camera!

 
 
 
 
Tom's Welding was a cornucopia of junk!.
   
 
Minolta X-570 with 35mm f/1.8 MD W.Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala
 
 
 
 
I love places like this - you never know what photographic gem you will find.
 
 
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala
 
 

Over the hours we gradually covered the miles between Las Vegas and Yosemite, and while I am sure there are wonderful sights in this area of the world, our haste and the fact that we didn't leave the main road meant that we passed it all by. However, there is always next time.

 
 
 
 
Electricity generating windmills on the Horned Toad Hills near Mojave, CA.
 
 
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala (cropped)
 
 

Finally, as dark was falling we reached the entry to Yosemite National Park. We were staying that night at the Wawona Hotel, built in 1879 and one of the most picturesque examples of a country retreat you are ever likely to see.

Given its age the hotel naturally has no facilities in your room, and the restaurant is probably not the greatest cuisine one is ever likely to experience. However it is good and hearty, and the simple feeling of relaxing and drinking a beer or two as night settled on the land was an absolute pleasure.

 
 
 
 
Our bunkhouse at the Wawona Hotel by night..
 
 
Minolta X-570 with 24mm f/2.8 MC VFC Rokkor Film: Fuji Superia Reala
 
 

Unfortunately we had arrived just 15 minutes too late to allow me to take some shots of the buildings in twilight, but I did get a couple of the buildings lit up in the evening after dinner. David was exhausted and hit the sack straight away but my photo itch had hardly been scratched that day and despite the cold temperature I was keen to take some long exposures from a nearby meadow. After falling into a freezing stream up to my thigh in the pitch black I re-evaluated that idea, and determined that discretion was the better part of valour and that I should retire gracefully to my warm (and dry) bed.

 
 

As you might expect, day 24 would prove to be a lot more picturesque than day 23, and so I hope you can visit again soon to see some of the shots from our first day in Yosemite NP.

 
     
 
 
 
To Day 24 - Yosemite
 
 
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