August 1st

Another bit of indecision this morning in terms of our next steps. We had given away the stone of destiny, and couldn't contact Tom. And by now, I suppose you are used to us ignoring your route advice???

Well. As advised on the blog-vote, we should now turn back to the coast and head down towards San Diego. Or same, but delayed following another day in Yosemite??

I got up early and made another fire to think about our options. And then I got offered coffee by our neighbours who had arrived rather tired in the early hours of the morning. By and by, it turns out that Tim and Byron are two of the loveliest people we've met yet, and there's been quite a few.

We had a lot of fun chatting with them and drinking more and more coffee; and everyone was even more determined to stay put as a consequence.

But in the end, we said goodbye to the guys, and made a fundamental decision - we are not making enough easterly progress!

So we decided to set off East....

We drove through the whole of Yosemite Park, to the Eastern exit, and then toward Mono Lake; which is a bit like Salt Lake. i.e. very salty and a bit weird. Weirdest of all are the 'tufa' which have grown from the salt mineral deposits from underground springs. As the water level dropped in the lake due to water extraction (now being reversed), the tufa became visible. We went down to see the lake shortly after arriving in Lee Vining (??), just the other side of the Yosemite montain range.

Here are some photos of the ride over, (which Sarah drove most of without hitting anything or being involved in some bizarre incident - more later), and the Tufa at sunset.

Mono Lake and the tufas at sunset.

And an odd one of the flies! The lake is a unique ecosystem where the brine flies and birds have evolved to adapt to the conditions. These flies line the shoreline, and feed on the nutrients from the salt water... or at least they did until Lewis got there and spoiled their whole day.