This weekend I decided to do something I’d never done before. I rented a ZipCar (settled for a Mazda3) and set out on a 550 mile solo adventure. There were several reasons I wanted to go out and travel alone. After a week full of ups and downs, I needed to get away to collect my thoughts. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could be comfortable traveling and being alone.
The weekend was a success. I explored my heart out, saw some amazing things, learned a lot, found solitude, and proved to myself that I can have fun without anyone but myself.
My itinerary was nearly perfect. I drove to Jamestown on Friday night via a pit stop at In and Out in Manteca for dinner. I stayed at the first of two seedy weekend motels, the Railtown Motel.
Saturday morning I had biscuits and gravy for breakfast at a shop on Main Street and popped in and out of a few antique shops before hitting the road to continue my travels. I spent the afternoon crossing the Sierra Nevada and the Sonora Pass en route to my primary destination of the day, the ghost town of Bodie, on the far east side of the Sierra, 6 miles from the Nevada border.
I soaked up the granite beauty of the Sierra and awed over the massive amounts of snow still covering the mountains.
I stopped off in Bridgeport and checked into seedy weekend motel #2, the Redwood Motel, grabbed a sandwich at a local convenient shop, and forged on to Bodie.
I arrived at Bodie at about 3 PM and spent 3 hours exploring the old gold rush ghost town. During its heyday, Bodie boasted 10,000 residents. Peering into windows of old buildings dating back to the late 1800s, it appeared as if life was frozen in time. Floral print wallpaper hung on the walls, dining room tables set for dinner, chalk boards in the school house featuring upcoming lesson plans. I kept getting lost trying to imagine what life must have been like here. It was an amazing and unique place.
With several hours of sun still above the horizon, I decided to continue my explorations south to Mono Lake, one of the oldest and saltiest lakes in the world. I poked around at a few parks and roadside overlooks until I finally made it down to the South Tufa area, where the most picturesque tufa limestone formations can be viewed. Fun fact: About 85 percent of California’s seagull population nests at Mono Lake.
On my way back to Bridgeport I stopped at the famous Mobil Station in Lee Vining for dinner at the Woah Nellie Deli. I got a t-shirt.
Sunday morning I awoke early, enjoyed breakfast on the patio of the Hay’s Street Cafe and set out for a 6.2 mile (round trip) hike to Green Lake – alpine lake situated at 8,900 feet – in just over an hour. I scrambled over boulders along the water’s edge before deciding to take a quick dip. The water was freezing and it didn’t take long for me to hop out, get dressed and start jogging back down the trail. It was time for the long drive back to reality.
There isn’t much I’d change about the trip. I had good meals at local joints, saw new and beautiful sights, and found much needed peace and quiet.
More photos on Flickr.