Hello, Jenny and welcome to Trip Advisor and the forums.
You may take California State Route 178 from Bakersfield east through Kernville and Lake Isabella if you prefer scenic beauty. If not, California State Route 58 from Bakersfield east to Tehachapi and Mojave is very pretty too, but four lane divided road and faster speeds. Your choice. Both will connect you in due time with US Route 395.
When in October are you traveling? October 7, 8, and 9 will be the Lone Pine Film Festival. If you like western movies, this is a real treat! http://www.lonepinefilmfestival.org/
The Dow Villa in Lone Pine is recommended. I've stayed in the old original part, where you share bathrooms and costs less than the more modern rooms.
Yes, it's easy to find rooms in the towns along US Route 395. Ridgecrest, Lone Pine, Bishop, Mammoth Lake, June Lake, and Lee Vining should all have available lodging this time of year.
Would you like to go to see and explore a real California mining ghost town? Bodie, California is your ticket! Directly off of US 395 before Bridgeport. Thirteen mile long gravel road, but very driveable in a rental car.
As for Tioga Pass closures (California State Route 120) on the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park, here's your fact table. Looks very good for October, but check first: www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm