We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Message for Jamessw16...(Yosemite)

LA/OC
Level Contributor
1,087 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Message for Jamessw16...(Yosemite)

I have good news for you...

I would still plan your trip according to your first initial attempt. I would try to squeeze in that visit to Peach Springs after checking out of Vegas that very same day. Also check out the White Hills ghost town off of Hwy 93 towards Cyclopic (since you're into that Bodie thing). 2 hours in plus the caverns tour, lunch in Kingman and then back to Vegas should be about a 6 hour roundtrip. Have an early dinner in Vegas one last time. Then head north to your Stovepipe Wells location. Vegas to DV should only take you about 2 hours. You'll also make it in time for that awesome desert sunset. Sun sets around 8:30 with dusk-twilight till 9 pm.

Might want to get a small inexpensive cooler, handy for drinks and snacks for the roadtrip...

Head out the next moring and do the Hwy 395 experience. Drive thru either early in the morning or in late afternoon for the best optimum experience. Check out the WWII Japanese internment camp National Memorial at Manzanar. It's between Lone Pine and Independence about a mile off of Hwy 395. Stop by the Erick Schat's Bakery in Bishop for breakfast-brunch. Other choices- Jack's, Bar-b-q-Bill's, Firehouse Grill, and Whisket Creek. Bishop visitor/tourist # (619) 873-8405. Or take lunch in Mammoth Lakes at Angel's, Cafe Vermeer, Hennessey's, Perry's Italian Cafe or Whiskey Creek. Mammoth visitor/tourist # (619) 934-8006. Then head on out to Mono Lake and Bodie to do your thing.

Now for even the better news...

Granted that Hwy 120 Tioga Pass-Tuolumne Meadows will still be closed at June 18th. Your alternative mountain routes will be open! Here's the 'insider' info.. Hwy 50 is always open, and seldomly closes, but that's the worse case scenario that you can now throw away. Hwy 88 has been open for the last 2 weeks. So you can use that as a back up, but I would also throw that away. Hwy 4 will be open by the end of this month. I can guarantee that. They only have about 20% more to clear out from the snow and fallen debris. So use this Hwy 4 as your back up driving route to get to Yosemite. Hwy 108 will probably be open by the end of the first week of June. They have about 33% more to clear out from the snow and fallen debris. I'm betting and very confident that Hwy 108 will be open by the time you drive that route.

What's taking so long for the Hwy 120 is the avalanche demolition snow-ski teams to clear out first. There's still skiing going on above the 9000 ft. level and winter camping up there too. After that Caltrans is snow plowing from the east while the National Park Service is plowing from the west. Anywhere from 4 - 10 feet of snow on the Hwy 120. Status within Yosemite park is currently... everything is open except for the Glacier Point Road which is closed off at Badger Pass. Still too much snow in the upper country to check out the Upper Falls at Glacier Point. Temps currently are 55 high with 15 low at nights. I'm predicting that it might get a little 'muddy' when you get here. There's a lot of snow and water runoff with Upper Falls just spraying it's water all over the place as it gushes over the edge. Buy some Scotchguard and spray it on your shoes to waterproof them.

Program your cell phone for Calif. road conditons with the following numbers: 511, (800) 427-7623 and (916) 445-7623.

All Yosemite Ranger Entrees and Inquiries: (209) 372-0285.

Yosemite Eastside Entry Hwy 120 Tioga Pass @ Lee Vining: (619) 647-6525. Northside Entry Hwy 120 @ Groveland: (209) 962-7825. Westside Entry Hwy 140 @ North Fork: (209) 877-2218. Southside Entry Hwy 41 @ Oakhurst: (209) 683-4665. And there's the always trusty reliable Yosemite Lodge at the Falls: (209) 372-1000.

I recommend lodging outside of Yosemite either in Mariposa or El Portal. Just more conviences there for you. Drive into Yosemite, park and tour. If you want to drive throughout Yosemite you can do that too. It takes about an hour to go from the Big Oak Flat entry station to the south entry station at Wawona/Fish Camp. There's lot of places to eat outside of Yosemite. Hardly any on the inside. That cooler will come in handy! Check out the giant sequoias trees at Hwy 120 and New Big Oak Flat Rd. That portion of Hwy 120 is clear and doesn't have the snow problem. There's always the Logger train to hop onboard out of Fish Camp (209) 683-7273. I'm pretty confident and sure Glacier Point Road within the Park will be open by mid June. It's the upper elevations of Hwy 120 that's a "bxxxh".

Since Hwy 120 will most likely be closed. You'll probably be coming down on Hwy 108. You'll have to drive by the Mi-Wuk Village. Stop and check out the Calif. Indians history & culture. Next is Jamestown to get to Yosemite. Might want to check it out and pan for some gold in the old western mining town # (209) 984-4653. Hwy 49 is a very scenic and whinding road to drive on.

You can make the drive in one day from Yosemite to the Russian River at Bridge Haven. Just leave early. Your 2 best friend websites would be (russianriver.org and bayareabackroads.com).

I've got another surprise place for you to lodge at if you'll be in that area. It's called the Safari West Wildlife Preserve (400 acres) located half way between Calistoga and Santa Rosa. Ya gotta do the tour, dinner and over nightlodging if possible. It's worth every penny. It's like being in the middle of the Serengeti Plain in Africa. It's the largest private wildlife reserve in the U.S. (safariwest.com) # (707) 579-2551. This is another favorite hideaway of mine besides Peach Springs and Havasupai Falls. You can do this and the wine tour in the same day. Commute from Bridge Haven do the Forestville wine tour, stay at Safari and then back to Bridge Haven the next day. There's lots to do and see in that coastal area too, to the north at Ft. Bragg and to the south in Bodega Bay.

Hope this helps...

V...

London, England
6 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Message for Jamessw16...(Yosemite)

Thanks Vicki

As always your info and help is greatly appreciated.

The WWII Japanese internment camp National Memorial sounds particularly good.

Its Hwy 108 that I hope to be using. How long do you think the drive will take from one side to the other using this (with appropriate food, rest and sight-seeing stops along the way)?

Accomodation wise, I think we have decided to rough it for these two nights (see my other post).

Already booked lodging for russian river (have a small mountain cabin: http://www.rrgetaways.com ) - although the Safari West Wildlife Preserve would make a good day out.

J

LA/OC
Level Contributor
1,087 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Message for Jamessw16...(Yosemite)

J,

It'll take you about 2 hours to get from Bridgeport to Sonora/Jamestown on Hwy 108.

The first part of Hwy 270 to Bodie is paved, however the last 2 miles are of gravel rock. Made to replicate the old west.

The last decent gourmet food you can get before this part of your journey will be at Hwy 395 and Hwy 120 at Lee Vining. It's at the Mobil gas station (a hole in the wall) called Tioga Toomey's Whoa Nellie Deli. (ask for Matt Toomey, former head chef at Mammoth Lakes resort.)

Speaking of Lee Vining, at Mono Lake those tufa towers are centuries old weird shaped calcium carbonate formations.

If you stop by Mammoth, might want to check out the gondola ride to the top of the ski slopes (since you're into scenic panoramic views). The 60 ft. wall of basalt columns at Devil's Postpile National Monument. There's also dipping into the Hot Springs there too.

Just east of Bishop is the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Hwy 168 to White Mountain Road. There's a ranger's station there to guide you with info.. These deformed trees exist in very poor soil and have little water. Some of these weathered trees date back 40 centuries. Their kind of freaky like the formations at Mono Lake.

Safari West will be about the same price for the both of you as the Ahwahnee Hotel. But it's well worth it! You'll stay overnight in these "tent cabins" on the open range preserve. Animals will be all around you both day and night with their sounds and calls. Check out their website.

Bring lots of film for your cameras for all of these!

When in Vegas, might want to go to the top of the Stratoshere Hotel & Casino. The highest point within the city and most panoramic view especially at night with all the lights! Even ride their rollercoaster if you dare heights! The 2 buffets at the Rio or the cheaper one's like at the Orleans. The free pirate-swashbuckilng show and erupting volcano at Treasure Island. The gondola water rides and St. Peters Square at the Venetian. Love that ceiling painted sky! The lobby of the Bellagio with all those hand made colored glass blown balloons, and their latest exhibit. The many listed night shows. The collisiem at Caesar's. The egyptian replicas inside the Luxor. The Main St.-Fremont St. Light Show in Downtown.And on and on and on...

Have a good one...

Hope this helps...

V...

LA/OC
Level Contributor
1,087 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Message for Jamessw16...(Yosemite)

J,

Forgot one last thing...

Don't know if you have any detailed maps of where you're going to yet...

Here in the states, lots of us belong to AAA auto club and have access to free maps at their store branch locations. However your in England now. I also use Compass Maps, that are far more detailed that the AAA maps. You can check out their internet website: (compass-maps.com) and order some maps sent to you in London ahead of time. Here's also their contact info: Compass Maps. P.O. Box 4369, Modesto, Calif. USA. 95352. # (209) 529-5017. Might want to get the "western US map" and a few of the more local region ones too.

Hope this helps...

Have a good one!

V...