Monday, October 8, 2012

DAY 47- Mountain Passes and Gold Rush Territory

I was going to treat myself to a real breakfast at a local restaurant in South Tahoe Lake.  The Red Hut had come highly recommended but when I arrived at 9am there was a line out the door.  Nope that was too long of a wait for me.  I turned back to my car and decided I would make do with a granola bar instead.  Today’s plan was to drive from Lake Tahoe to just outside of Yosemite National Park.  It was at least a 4.5 to 5 hour drive.  I needed to get on the road.
Photo- Some wonderful Fall color as I came down out of Luther's Pass.

I drove south hooking up with Hwy 89 going up and over Luther Pass then down into a valley with some wonderful fall foliage color.  Cars were stopping at the sides of the road to take pictures.  It was pretty.  Next, I turned onto Hwy 89 and went up and over Kit Carson Pass.  Yes, you probably recognize that famous name.  This was a pass that Kit Carson used to get through the area.  This pass was amazing with rock formations and lake overlooks.  I stopped real quickly a couple of times to take photos.    
Photo- Red Lake as seen from Kit Carson Pass.

I was heading into the middle of Gold Rush territory.  There were museums and old town areas that were dedicated to the Gold Rush history which occurred from the late 1840’s through to the mid- 1850’s.  I would drive through towns where the main streets look like most of the buildings were from that era of time.  Street names had the word gold or mine or strike in them.  A couple of the towns were even having history festivals.  Unfortunately, I had already reserved the night at a hotel near the south entrance to Yosemite or I would have stayed and checked out the area more.
Photo-  The yellow building of Thomi's where I
enjoyed a wonderful cranberry chicken salad sandwich.

I stopped for lunch at a cute restaurant in Jackson just after turning onto Hwy 49.  Another name for Hwy 49 is the Golden Chain Highway.  This is because this road connects a great deal of the gold rush mining communities together.  There is however one gold mine that still produces a great deal in the area and you go right by its gated entrance.  You can also see the carved hills above the gate but it’s kind of keeps a low key appearance. 

Photo- Abandoned old buildings are a common sight in the Gold Rush area.

Highway 49 curved a great deal and went through more of the Gold Rush Towns.  Quite often the traffic would slow down as it went through these towns; sometimes to a standstill as tourists and visitor’s traffic clogged up the area.  The drive was taking longer than what I had anticipated.
Photo- A church that I thought was interesting with a historical marker
which are common along Hwy 49's Gold Rush route.

I finally arrived at Oakhurst and got checked in.  Earlier when I went through town I had seen a Mexican restaurant that appeared busy and I thought that was a good sign.  Yep!  That thought definitely paid off.  I relaxed with a blended margarita and enjoyed a fabulous chimichanga with rice and beans.  This chimichanga was unlike any I had ever had.  It was like a lovely flakey pastry shell on the outside with wonderful chunky homemade chili Verde inside.  Yummy!  I had a Mexican coffee for dessert and then I was ready to call it a night.   

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