Thursday, July 06, 2006

Groveland to Minden over Ebbets Pass, July 4th 2006

So now I can say I have really done all the routes from Groveland over the highways to the Eastern Sierras. I know now why it took me so long to do Ebbets Pass, its got a serious Jaw Factor. As in! The road is narrow and twisted. The sign post at the top indicates that you will drop down at a 25% grade, a phenominal pitch. Kindly, the portions of the road that were actually this steep were short, but one drives on the edge of the seat for an hour and a half waiting for these steep moments. The views are grand for sure! It is fairly remote for most of the trip, though we did come across Alpine Lake at the top of the hill and that was stunning and worthy of another visit, perhaps even an overnight. So go once for the experience, but know that it is the slowest of all the routes over but quite stunning and very worthy of its recent National Scenic Byway designation.

We chose this route so we could go to Murphys and unload the "antique" sinks that Victor just upgraded in our rooms. luck would have it, the antique plumbing store wasn't open on the 4th of July...Odd? But it was not a total loss, we did some wine tasting at a few tasting rooms that aren't typically open on our midweek-days off. Black Sheep has a cute room and Irish was very talkative. I even bought a bottle of green wine from Irish.

So how in the world did the two of us savy world travelers (hahaha!) end up in the oasis town of Minden you might ask...Well as these getaways happen for us rather last minute, we had called our little casino hotel in Tahoe to get a room on the 4th of July and they were selling our $65 a night room for $299. We just couldn't do it. Knowing that even the best case scenario would likely be a very simple room at a steep price, we decided to head to Minden. Once there we discovered the Carson Valley Inn. You won't be disappointed in the customer service if you ever find yourself here, every employee was well focused on making our visit memorable. We ended up celebrating our "anniversary" here with an overlarge room and dinner at Michaels. Victor's meal was fabulous, the Kobe Flat Iron steak, I chose the duck and wished I had the Kobe. We don't gamble much and this was true this night also. (Michael's has since closed.)

Our way back we needed to stop in Murphys at that great antique plumbing store to take care of the sinks, no need hauling them all back to Groveland. This time we took the less dramatic, but still beautiful Highway 88 across the Sierras and then headed back up route 4. All ended as planned.

Groveland to Murhpys, Ebbets Pass, Minden, back around the hill, back to Murphys, Sonora and Groveland, 24 and a half hours. Another typical Hotel Charlotte getaway: Short, Sweet, Mind-Clearing!

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