Tag Archives: Mono Lake

The Eastern Sierra and Whoa Nellie Deli

When we left off, Jason and I had just driven through Death Valley National Park on our way from Las Vegas to Yosemite National Park. When Jason suggested flying into Vegas and driving to Yosemite from there, I happily agreed. The reason was just outside the car window…


During our last trip to Yosemite in 2011, we made our way over to the Eastern Sierra to visit Mono Lake. We had no clue how magnificent the mountains looked from there, and I became obsessed. The extra few hours tacked onto our drive from Vegas (versus from San Francisco) was beyond worth it. And in fact, the drive felt shorter thanks to the beautiful scenery.



There was one other important reason for traveling this route to Yosemite: a lunch stop at the Whoa Nellie Deli! We heard about this gourmet deli, tucked into the Tioga Gas Mart, from some locals in 2011. Great food in a gas station? I had to try it.


We timed it out perfectly and hit Lee Vining a little after noon. It was a gorgeous day, so we enjoyed our food outside. I went with the “world famous” fish tacos. It was my first fish taco experience ever, and it was an awesome one! I especially enjoyed the taco topped with ginger coleslaw. Everything tasted super fresh and full of flavor.


Our lunch view!

After the drive and lunch, I proclaimed that I was no longer traveling TO Yosemite via San Francisco. California’s Highway 395 is one of my favorite things ever! It adds a little more time to the drive and it might be a little more expensive to fly into Vegas or Reno, but the experience of arriving in Yosemite from this direction is perfection.

The Best Trips…

If you read my vacation recap posts, you probably noticed some negativity as the trip progressed. Even though I try very hard to look on the bright side of things and I don’t want to come across as a Debbie Downer, I wanted to share an honest account of our experience in California this summer. I’m not perfect, my life isn’t perfect, and I never want to give the impression of perfection here. I want to keep it real.

I don’t view those negative experiences as a bad thing. It turns out that the trip, all the good and bad, taught me a valuable lesson about traveling…

When you visit new places, you see new and interesting things.

Mono Lake


You begin to look at the world around you in a different way.


Tiny Jason

You do things you never thought you could do or would do.

Getting Closer...

Lembert Dome

Experiences can spark you to act on your dreams


Or spark dreams you never even knew you had.

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Sometimes, you never want to return from your travels.

We've Arrived!

But while traveling allows you to appreciate new places, some trips also help you appreciate the places you left behind…

Let Summer Begin!

It's Ours!

John Muir Trail - April 9, 2011

I think the best trips do both.

And that is exactly what this summer’s trip did. I saw new things, experienced new places, had dreams of new adventures sparked. I also appreciated home…finally. I missed my town, I missed my house, I missed Wisconsin. And I realized that this is where I want to live my life.

I’ll still get to see the world, but every traveler needs a home base. And this summer, it was nice to know that I really had one.

So with that, I’m closing the book on California 2011. Time to look ahead to next summer. I’m not absolutely sure where our next adventure will take us – we’re still mulling it over – but I’m excited for the journey.

Complete California Vacation 2011 Series

Lembert Dome

Well, I clearly took the whole vacation recap to a whole new level this summer  😉 My dinky posts from last summer’s Yosemite trip pale in comparison to the 17 full posts for this summer’s Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and San Francisco adventure. Whew!

In case you missed any of it – and to just make it easier to access the whole series of posts – here’s a recap of the recaps. Enjoy!

Yosemite Arrival

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Tour of Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Mono Lake

An Evening in Tuolumne Meadows

Hiking Lembert Dome

Exploring Tuolumne Meadows

Stop in Yosemite Valley

Onward to SEKI

First Taste of Sequoia National Park

No Room at the Inn

Kings Canyon

Tokopah Falls

The Giant Sequoias

Moro Rock Madness

Muir Woods

San Francisco in Pictures


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...