Neighborhood Travels

California Highways

Sometimes you just get the urge to hit the highway.  I didn’t know I had it till my friend and I recently started the long trek up to Yosemite National Park.  I live in southern California about three hundred miles south of the park which gave me plenty of time to scratch that itch for the open road.

One thing that surprises me every time I travel is just how long it takes to break free of Los Angeles.  For some reason I pictured us cruising along the San Gabriel Mountains and then simply crossing at the Tejon Pass and that would be it.  The big central San Joaquin Valley would be laid out before us.  Nope.  Wrong.  That pass goes on for 40 miles!  How can I possibly forget that?

Grapevine Pass, Photographer Victoria Bernal 2006
Grapevine Pass, Photographer Victoria Bernal 2006

One day I’m going to visit the Tejon area just for fun, but not on this trip. We had already made a late start because I stopped to board my dog. Now we followed the big trucks over the pass.

By the time we reached Bakersfield we were ready for lunch.  We still had a long drive ahead of us, but we had all afternoon.  We started looking for a restaurant.  What luck when we spotted Molly J’s.Molly J's Restaurant

The place was near the freeway, clean, friendly, great service and the food was good too.  And the waitress brought us each complimentary cookies with the bill.  And they were warm.   Yum!

We headed up CA-99 toward Fresno.  While it’s still a freeway, it’s a very different road from the interstate.  I rather like it.  There’s lots of small towns along the way and lots of agriculture.  One can see almonds and grapes growing and later on as you get nearer to Tulare, there are dairy farms.  It’s a pleasant change from the rush of I-5.

It wasn’t long before we were bombarded by signs promoting Bravo Farms.  Their advertising pitch was worthy of P.T. Barnum and we felt compelled to stop and see what all the fuss was about.Bravo Farms, Tavers CA  Thanks to a tip from a motorcycle rider we went on in to the patio area located out back.  My goodness there were all kinds of things back there.  Rusted antiques, a tree house, and even some chickens and a goat.  We spent quite a bit of time exploring Bravo Farms but eventually hit the road again.  We still had to look for our junction at Fresno and turn northeast toward Yosemite.

I know I’ve driven CA-99 before but for some reason I never took CA-41 to Yosemite.  I guess I was heading in from other places and just never found myself going that way.  This was now a real adventure as we worked our way north and eastward.  The scenery changed and the road became more hilly.  We stopped in Oakhurst and I took over the driving.  We were definitely climbing now.  The two-lane road curved around through the forest.  It was still an hour or so before we reached our destination which was El Portal.  We zigzagged along country roads that took us between the California highways but eventually joined up with CA-140 and found our destination and the Merced River.Yosemite View Lodge beside the Merced River

Ah, that’s more like it.

Elizabeth Boatman

Traveler, explorer, memory maker and someone who's just downright curious about stuff. It's all about finding joy.

Add comment

Your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.