After we left Yosemite valley we went west wards. We passed the sierra nevada (snow mountains) and made a stop at lake Mono. This lake is unique - although we tried hard we could'nt find lake Stereo. No, the unique thing is that this lake is situated in kind of a depressed area. So there are mountains around the lake and the only way for the water to go out is by evaporation. Due to this the water got salty taste in the last milleniums and as well some interesting species developed there. One of them are flies who eat special algae - their larvae (magotts) otherwise are eaten by the indians who live there. They shall taste like salted rice. But as I know this taste already I didn't try to eat them. As well some kind of rocks are built by minerals in the water. These are very endangered by tourists who want to take some parts as a souvenier.
After Lake Mono we went to our this days camp site. The girls got really happy when the learned that the showers are open only until 4 pm. The time when Zach teached this news was 3:55 and luckily we were already on the way to our next target - some hot springs in the area of mamooth mountain. Due to some cracks in the earth the water is very hot at some spots in that river. It was very exiting to get into cold water and to get very hot after walking some metres. All of us enjoyed the first swim in not cold water. What we enjoyed less was the nice smell which occured from sulfur. As the showers were closed already we went to a nearby lake to wash the smell off. Interestingly there the water was really cold again. As we bathed seperately we could anyway hear the girls screak due to the very very cold water.
However, after bathing we got hungry and went to a store to gat beacon, beans and tortillas as this was scheduled as this evenings meal. Of course beer was scheduled as well. Unfortunately when Miss South Africa wanted to pay the beer and wine the casher wanted to see her license. So she had to find somebody else - that person was me. As I went inside to confirm that I am the guy who wants to drink 18 cans of beer and 3 bottles of wine myself she didn't believe me. Anyway - after I showed my passport (probably I do not look old enough to buy beer in the U.S. - thank you very much :-) ) she explained me that I have to pay as well. It is not ok if I show the passport and to have someone else pay. But generousely she turned away when Leishan gave me the money, because that is probably as well forbidden.
So we had all the necessary ingredients for a nice meal and as I volunteered to prepare it I started to cook. Zach prepared Tortillas on the open fire and with a filling of onions, beans ans beacon it was a delicious meal. Then we prepared our beds for the night - as it was looking to become a wonderful night we slept outside without using the tents. In the next morning it was very very cold - there was even ice on our sleeping bags and bagpacks. However - it was marvellous to see the sunrise in about 2300 metres hight.
After breakfast we went to Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a long ride and after the arrival we took a bath in the hotels pool at first. In the evening we went to the Rio to enjoy the all you can eat buffet. As there was a waiting time of about 90 minutes to enter the buffet Zach immedeately decided that we are hotel guests and - voila - we could storm the show cases were food from all over the world was offered. It was wonderful - and terrible. we could not stop to eat and there were still so many good things to try. And the crown of all was the dessert. It was incredible - wonderful - delicious - great...
Then we took a look at the city, saw some public shows in the casinos, gambled a little, saw Elvis' wedding chappel, bought an Eiffel Tower filled with Tequila Sunrise in the Paris, went to the New York and enjoyed the atmosphere. The next day some went to see more of the city - I joined the comfortable tour and went into the Wet'n Wild water park recreation area. In this second evening we had dinner in another all you can eat restaurant. It was cheaper than the Rio - it was also delicious, but the atmosphere was far not the same. After that we went to see the Treasure Island show - a naval battle in the middle of the Nevada desert. If you ask me if I like Las Vegas my answer is: not really. It was interesting to see it one time, but everything in that city is artificial and people there are mainly tourists who have to enjoy. Although I think that we had an interesting view of some of the cities specialities as our giude Zach really knew everything.
Gallery: (click the pics)
The people *** From Los Angeles to San Francisco *** In the streets of San Francisco *** Yosemite National Park *** On the way to Las Vegas *** Route 66 - Grand Canyon *** San Diego & Tijuana *** Mickey Mouse!!!