Thursday, September 8, 2011

Weekend drive over the passes...........

Copperopolis summer’s can be hotter than the devils breathe, especially in August and September.  We decided to escape the skin melting temperatures with a drive in the mountains.  Brian had packed a great lunch, a table, chairs and the dog.  Heading up Highway 4 to Ebbetts Pass I really didn’t find anything to photograph until we got to Lake Alpine.  We got out and walked the path, stopping occasionally so I could photograph something I saw.  The air was thick with smoke from the huge forest fire outside of Yosemite. 
We hit the road again trying to avoid psycho people driving way to fast for a winding road that equates to the size of 1 ½ lanes…just enough to squeak by at a slow pace but not enough room or time to maneuver around a speeding convertible BMW driven by grey-haired retirees.  What makes it worse is that Highway 4 is heavily traveled by bicyclists looking for the next high altitude challenge.  They frequently ride in the middle of the road or three wide (so they can hold a conversation with other riders) and swerve into traffic to avoid pinecones.  It’s not that I have anything against bicycle riders, other than they are rude, disrespectful, and tend to ride on the most dangerous two lane roads with no disregard for anyone else traveling on the same road.  I must admit, I really really fight my urge to bump them with my car door when I go by.  But I digress from my posting…..

After making our way past the 50+ bicycle riders and the crazy retirees driving like teenagers, we decided to go over Monitor Pass.  This is one of my favorite passes simply because it has unobstructed views.  On a nice clear day you can see into Nevada and down Highway 395.  Unfortunately, at that altitude there was still a slight smoky haze in the air but it was being masked by the amazing clouds.   And more importantly, it was only 70 degrees with a breeze.

Brian turned off on a dirt road that we took for a couple of miles to the top of a mountain.  The views were spectacular.  We were the only people on the ridge so he parked in the middle of what I guess you could call a road and set up the table and chairs.  After a yummy lunch and a mishap with a condiment container under altitude pressure, we headed over the pass to 395 and around to Sonora Pass. 

Sonora Pass is one of the most beautiful in the State but still plagued with crazy drivers, people who feel they need to blare music in the middle of the forest and NEVER pick up their garbage.  I cannot wait until Fall when all the flatlanders leave and it’s just us locals.    We stopped along a creek to admire the wildflowers.  None of the other passes had wildflowers this late in the season.  It was quite the shock to see so many beautiful colors in the meadows and along the roadway

This weekend is supposed to bring you kow what that means.....THUNDERCLOUDS.  Can't wait to get out and take some pictures.