I've nicknamed our recent road trip 'The Central California Loop'. It's a run we've made many times over the years, yet one that seemingly never gets old...at least not to Carol and I. Built around classic towns we love, discovering new side trip options continue to keep 'the loop' interesting. The gift that keeps on giving.
The list of overnight stays included Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Costa Mesa (2 night Dad visit) Bishop and Sonora.
The accomodations highlight was our second stay at the impeccable Creekside Inn on Hwy 395 in downtown Bishop. Factoid: Bishop was also the home town of the late and legendary photographer/mountaineer Galen Rowell. The Inn displays his images throughout the place - many of which are quite large (framed 60" x 40") gorgeous prints of his classic photographs. They also have a excellent collection of other well-known Eastern Sierra photographers as well.
And speaking of the Eastern Sierras, at this time of year, Hwy 395's dramatic landscapes are heightened by the peak of the Aspens and Cottonwood's color explosion.
Before leaving Lone Pine, we lunched up at the base of Mt. Whitney at the Whitney Portals Trail Head. Great Burger and fries at the 8K elevation General Store. Favorites Morro Bay and Santa Barbara (as usual) served up perfect weather and dinner respectively. Los Alamos (a new stop) is an old farming town that's a block long and dates back to the late 1800s. The place is full of restored vintage charm and has been reimagined into an updated 'wine tasting' destination, snuggled into the back hills of Santa Barbara's wine country.The only bonafied 'lowlight' of the trip was our last evening and first stay in the town of Sonora. Considering its proximity to Yosemite and an eastern gateway to California's Gold country - the area's growth is to be expected. Unfortunately what's left of the historical downtown was a dissappointment. Kind of a familiar story....an over-abundance of antique and touristy trinket shops, odd architectural reworks and additions to vintage buildings, poor traffic planning, etc. etc. But at the end of the day (and the trip)...two thumbs way up!