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Yosemite to Mammoth – September 2011 – An Interlude

Sunday, November 9th, 2014 by

Hey! We’ve got new basement windows. I’m oddly delighted for something so mundane. BRING IT ON WINTER. Actually…no, I am going to have to walk that back. I would much rather hunker down in Southern California from November to May, but well, since that doesn’t seem to be an option this year, at least I can have twice as many panes, and far few window cracks (and no tape based repairs) on our basement windows this year. Oorah. It’s the little things.

Anyway, where we were? Ah, right, I had just finished up a quick backpacking trip to Ten Lake in Yosemite, and was more or less back at my car…

Leaving, alas.


After finishing up the hike, I got back to the car, and….this lead to one of my favorite things, the drive over the Tioga Road. After a quick change, I headed east, feeling good and happy and really light hearted and well. I stopped at Olmsted Point, and feeling much refreshed, went out to the rock and took some lovely views down into the valley, after which I headed east towards Tuolumne.

Tuolumne Meadows and Lembert Dome

Tuolumne Meadows. Would park again.

I took the opportunity to stop for an ice cream, and took a (prescient?) photo of my car in the parking lot, because, I don’t know why, I just loved seeing it there with the beautiful Tuolumne Meadows as backdrop. Heading out of the park, I had a great drive down the road, and turned south on the 395, catching sight of June Mountain, and heading in towards Mammoth Lakes.

The Tioga Road is a serious thing

And looking back up the road

My plan was to stop in at the Ranger Station / Visitor’s Center and get some information about what campgrounds were open, and find a place to stay for the evening. Well, there are a couple of turnoffs into the Ranger Station. A sign said that one was a 1/4 mile ahead, and I presumed that it was right about where I could see the Visitor Center sign. As it turns out, the Visitor Center sign is in between the two entrances, probably at least 50 yards from either. So, as I passed the first driveway, instead of doing something clever like going past and turning around, I slammed on my brakes and tried to turn into the driveway I was about passing. Unfortunately, a fraction of a second too late and just a hair too fast turned into making a turn just a few feet past the driveway, and going right into a light pole.

Yeah. Not really the best decision. I was fine, and can only plead tiredness, which is really not exculpatory at all. Pretty effective comedown from how good I had been feeling from driving down the Tioga Road however! After determining that I was basically fine, I got out of the car, and took a walk around, and…yeah, well. Front bumper looked kind of messed, a wheel and a half were off the ground, and basically, not a great sight. Someone stopped very shortly after to ask if I needed any help, and I said I was already calling AAA. Immediately after, a cop also showed up and generally proceeded to take my incident report. He said I seemed far less freaked out than most people often were, but that I was far too coherent to be drunk. As to the former, I told him that, well, it had happened so now I just needed to deal with it, rather than fret about it, and as to the latter, well, I must have in fact been a little shaken, and kind of tired, because I said the first words that came out of my mouth, which were “I’m coherent even when I’m drunk.” Fortunately this passed without any comment, but…wow, I said that? Yeah, stellar job there, kiddo.

annabarr: car-error &emdash; right-side
See, in front is the driveway I meant to get to. And there is the pole I got to instead

Misplaced bumper. Also, see that chunk of concrete? Cut the oil pan open. Oops.

Anyway, I went with the car to the repair shop, and they took a quick look. They also recommended some places to stay. I first tried to see if I could get a flight home that day, but in the summer there was just the one flight a day, so I was unable to get on that day’s flight. I did book the flight home the next day, and then was able to get a room at the best western for the night. I also took the chance to call my insurance agent, and they said someone would call me the next day, and they’d be able to send the insurance investigator a bit later. So…I got a cab to the best western, taking everything out of my car that I figured I’d be able to actually take home on the plane, but still having to leave a fair number of things behind.

As it turned out…I never saw the car again. Ayup. I got the call after I got home that it was being totalled (it had sustained frame damage that wasn’t apparent at first glance) so they were calling it done. I did actually talk them into mailing me back ~all the rest of the stuff in the car, including a folding chair however…it all got sent in a very large box. Thanks, State Farm!

My very last view of this car, as it turned out

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