USA Day 20: Road trip – Yosemite to Las Vegas

We had a 10 hour road trip ahead of us – so the key was to get up early, get on the road, and reach Vegas. However…. there were still some photos to be taken and early morning in Yosemite is a wondrous thing….

This is actually the view from our room – you can just see the Upper Yosemite Falls…

Here’s a close up….

And some other photos Andrew couldn’t help but stop and take as we left the park…

We travelled through the valley and given we were heading down to Vegas, took a different road out of the park.  At a certain point – you get to a place called Tunnel View – so called because once you get there, there’s a tunnel through the mountain through to the other side.  But this is the view looking back towards Yosemite Valley…

Freaking Amazing!!!  It’s like an oil painting – but it’s not! Back in the 1850s, the Mariposa Battalian was looking for an Indian tribe that had apparently raided some American Settlements – and they stumbled upon this view as they came into the valley right about here!  You can only imagine how they were going about their business, cautiously navigating the untamed terrain, came around the mountain, and looked up to see this view. How staggering and awesome it must have been. Pretty amazing…

We tore ourselves away to get back in the car, and entered the tunnel.  Once we got through it – the landscape was still very pretty – and there was lots of snow about. At one stage, I forced Andrew to pull over, saying we HAD to take a photo of the snow!!

Once the first serious snowfall of the season happens, the National Park Services closes the Tioga Pass, the highway that takes you through the park on to Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes, then through to Death Valley.  So we had to go through Fresno instead.  D’oh!!  Given the time of year we were travelling, it was always a 50/50 proposition… maybe next time.

So, 10 hours of driving lay ahead of us.

Now, you know about road trips right? – You know the rules about road trip food, don’t you?  To put it plainly, there’s no time for gourmet shenanigans!  You eat, you drive. You eat quickly, so you can get on the road again.

So, what does America have to offer for the discerning driver…?

Maple Pancake Sausage Roller

A little snack when we filled up with fuel.  I had to get this because it combined pancakes with a sausage… courtesy of 7/11.  Hey – it only cost $1!!!

Taco Bell

551 Weedpatch Highway
Bakersfield CA 93307
(661) 366 9455
Open: Sun – Thu  7am – 12am;  Fri – Sat  7am – 2am
Website

We decided to stop at Taco Bell for lunch – for a taste of fast food Mexican style!  We don’t have Taco Bell in Australia, so I wanted to try it, and the road trip gave me the perfect excuse!

Triple Steak Stack

Andrew had the Triple Steak Stack – A warm, soft flatbread layered with a triple portion of 100% USDA Select marinated, grilled steak and a delicious, melted three-cheese blend (description from their website).

Crunchwrap Supreme

I had the Crunchwrap Supreme!!  A warm, soft, flour tortilla filled with seasoned beef, warm nacho cheese sauce, a crunchy tostada shell, reduced-fat sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes and then wrapped up and grilled for maximum portability.

Here’s the cross section… you know something, it actually wasn’t too bad!! Like a fully contained taco. In fact, it was very clever having the tostado shell keeping the salad separate from the meat and cheese.

Back on the road…

Windfarm

Warning – Objects in mirror are closer than they appear!

Las Vegas – Here we come…

We’re still coming….

Lucky the GPS is telling us where to go!

The shadows are getting longer…

Hey… did you see the turnoff for Zzyzx Road?

Sunset in the Mojave Desert

So, we drove, and we drove, and we drove….  484 miles, 775 km (just over what it takes to get from Melbourne to Adelaide).

We finally pulled into the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas!!  But coming into Vegas was not a happy time.  We couldn’t find a gas station to fill up the car, and the Avis attendant wasn’t there at the Bellagio office, so we didn’t know what to do with the GPS. When we sought assistance from the Bellagio staff, they kept handballing to each other and didn’t want to know about it.  I called Avis twice and they hung up on me twice, AND THEN…. the greatest insult of all – there was no kettle in the room for me to make a cup of tea!!  All I wanted was a cup of tea…. but according to the concierge, who I called about the oversight, kettles are a fire hazard!!

The concierge was unyielding on the phone in response to my staggering disbelief – but offered to put me through to In-Room dining so I could order a cup of tea.  That will be $8 for the tea, $4 for the room charge, plus tax and tip….  $15!!!!!  I was so upset, and so tired after driving 500 miles I was basically on the verge of crying.  But I guess being a concierge at a casino – he’d already seen his fair share of human tragedy and stoically remained firm.

I took a raincheck – but given we were so tired – we ended up ordering room service for dinner anyway.

Bellagio Hotel

3600 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas  NV  89109
(888) 987 6667
Open:  24/7
Website

For me, French Onion Soup – not as good as the Ahwahnee…

Honey Soy Buffalo Wings

Some buffalo wings to share.  These were really spicy – I’m not sure if that’s the way they’re supposed to be (I don’t eat a lot of buffalo wings usually).  They nearly blew my head off and I actually couldn’t eat more than a couple because they were too hot for me!!

Pizza with 3 toppings

Andrew’s pizza with 3 toppings – Canadian bacon, pepperoni and onion.  I think tomato and cheese come complimentary (about the only things that did! … Sorry, it’s the casino bitterness coming out in me!).

New York Cheesecake

I’d had a hard day – so I needed the New York Cheesecake.  Funny – I never ordered the New York cheesecake in New York…  Damn… I’ll have to go back!  This was actually really yummy – and perfect to settle my frazzled nerves!!

Let’s hope tomorrow is a better day and Las Vegas shows me what a great town it can be…

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