rose and i left out of napa and rolled on down the road toward yosemite national park. yosemite, of course, was not part of The Plan (TM, Pat Pend) so we didn't have any hotels (let alone any towns) scouted out as landing zones. we drifted into Jamestown, CA courtesy of a AAA road map and a gracious good wind. we pulled up to the first hotel in town, a cute old B&B on main street with a wooden sign hanging from the balcony. it was locked. there was a guy standing outside jiggling the front door handle. he'd forgotten his key and was locked out. we figured if a registered guest couldn't get in there, we sure couldn't. so we rolled on down the street to the next place. it, likewise, was a cute old B&B. they had exactly one room open, so we took it. what a good decision that turned out to be! the National Hotel was precious, right down to the teddy bears waiting to snuggle with us in our twin beds. the water-closet style bathroom, shown here, was actually pretty recently updated. they also had the text from an original sign posted in the guest rooms, just after it was built at the end of the gold rush as a hotel for miners.
the hotel was built in 1849, and has been in continuous operation since then. the bar and barroom are made of hand-carved redwood. it was both simple and gorgeous, and i regret that i didn't get a photo of the glass chain decorating the mirror behind the bar. i've never seen anything like it. the hotel has apparently been through 2 devastating fires, but the bar has been saved every time! i guess the miners knew a good thing when they saw it. we had the most amazing 4-star dinner of our entire vacation in the cafe out back, shaded by a canopy of grapevines that have obviously been trained patiently over the long years. some of the parent vines were as big around as my calf. (!!!)
the next morning, we actually rolled into yosemite. it was just as pretty as everyone said. i now understand why ansel adams spent so much time taking photos in the park. the contrasts there are sharp enough to cut yourself on... mosses so green they're almost black, rocks so white you have to look twice to figure out if they're snow or rocks, beautiful groves of ancient trees, shattered fields where fires raged, impatient minivan drivers, dawdling rv drivers. around every single bend in the road there was something we wanted to stop and photograph. if we had taken all the pictures we wanted, we'd still be there.alas and alack, we had to hit the road. we couldn't stop indefinitely in yosemite to take pictures. in fact, we didn't even stop for lunch! we ate at a little gas station/cafe/souvenir shop on the far side of the park on the edge of Mono Lake. from there, we headed off into the wilds of nevada on US Hwy 6. we were still off the route that was part of The Plan (TM, Pat Pend) but if we made decent time across nevada, we would be on track when 6 intersected 50 in Ely. So we bid California a fond adieu, and rolled east for Nevada. in closing, this is just about the only picture i took that came out nicely. all the above shots? yup, you guessed it. my girlfriend's work.