Yet another 7am breakfast in our room at Yosemite Lodge Hotel before setting off for Bishop across the mountains. Yosemite Village is at 4,000 ft but we had to cross the mountain pass we had only recently opened at almost 10,000ft.
The weather was cloudy this morning for the first time since our arrival and cooler than it had been previously.
A tortuos twisty climb up into the hills with the temperature falling all the time with the altitude gained. At the highest point the temperature dropped to 27 degrees farenheit (32 degrees is freezing) and we drove through a light snowfall.
The views coming out of the mountains was stunning and we passed the Mamouth Ski resorts as we lost altitude the weather cleared and the sun came and temperature slowly rose.
We had a minor problem with the hire car as a low tyre pressure warning light had come on and we needed to get it fixed, so we made a minor diversion to Le Vining to find a garage to get it fixed. Fortunately there was a good cafe right opposite the garage so whilst they fixed the tyre we had coffee.
From here we decided to divert to the nearby Mono Lake. One of the oldest Lakes in North America 760,000 years old. It has no natural outlet and streams have carried water and minerals into the lake and then the water has evaporated. As a result the mineral content has risen to 10%, and the lake is extremely salty making you extremely buoyant for swimming. Although no fish can live in such alkaline water it is one of the most productive lakes in the world with millions of brine shrimps and alkali flies. This makes it very attractive to migratory birds who flock there in thousands.
The temperature at the lake had risen to about 36 degrees at 6,400 ft but there was a stiff wind so it felt very cold doing a circular walk down to the lake and along the shore.
The lake level has dropped in the last 100 years exposing Tufa formations which were stunning.
Onto Bishop for the night, only to find that it was Mule Days, an annual event that had made the place crowded with visitors. It appears to be a sort of mini Calgary with Mules.
going this evening to see the Mules Day show. The downside is that the main road through will be closed for a big parade so to get out of Bishop we have have to follow a diversion for our drive out tomorrow.
Now feeling warmer at 5,600ft with a daytime temperature of 56 degrees farenheit, still very windy though.
(Dinah) When we went to get our tickets from the fairground I chatted to various very keen mule folks and now know a lot more about Mules. They can race and do dressage and come in every shape and size and colour according to their father ( a donkey) and their mother (a horse, sometimes a real throughbred) . Each one is original and can never breed. We watched a junior class strut their stuff with a dollar held under the thigh by the rider (bareback) and if the lost their dollarthey were out.
I also went to the local market and chatted to some lovely people and admire some beautiful craftwork, admired a little baby and ought a few things. Good day.
We went to Erick Schat's Bakery for our supper .It was an experience in
itself with more types of bread and cakes than you could imagine was possible, highly recommended to anyone visiting Bishop.
This evening went to the Mule Days Rodeo, in the teeth of a gale with the temperature dropping to 36 degrees Farenheit it was very cold sitting in the open air in the dark. But was fun watching a really tradtional stagecoach in the ring, Mule chariot/cart obstacle racing and lassooing and catching steers, with the expert locals explaining all the events to us, all huddling up to keep warm with hot chocolate. The people of Bishop are all so friendly..
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