Tuolumne and Lee Vining

August 11

I walked to the post office and grill. First I walked next to a busy freeway full of RVs and cars and so many people! Maybe not a freeway, just the road going into Yosemite. Yosemite Valley was full of smoke and closed indefinitely. I guess that means everyone came to this part. To drive around. 

There was a tiny hiker vortex black hole right beside the P.O. Hikers sat at a group of picnic tables, exchanging packets of instant food and secondhand info. I ate a dry-ish cheeseburger and drank coffee and tried to figure out what to do. One lady said if you waited till highway 108 to get off trail at the closure, there would likely be no rides. It wasn’t just the trail closed off, it was the highway as well. You might have to walk out of the mountains along the closed highway. One guy swore he’d hike all the way through, fire be damned. A woman with a phone signal showed me maps and routes. Some hippies worked on their Prius, using a bicycle pump to fill an auto tire. I don’t know what the butane torch was used for.

A super blond guy wearing a headband walked by offering rides down to Mono Lake. “I might go with you,” I told him. 

In the car he told me, “My goal is to not total my car. Again.” Further down the road, he told me that he’d just gotten released from a mental hospital. He’d been 5150’d by his mom and his girlfriend. But he was cooling down on the girlfriend because she’d gone on a slot machine binge in Reno. He hadn’t known about her gambling addiction. I wanted to ask why the gambling was a bigger issue than her committing him to a psych ward but it seemed like none of my beeswax.

I know this sounds like a dangerous ride but it was fine.

If you ever go to Lee Vining, I highly recommend the bookstore at the Visitors’ Center. They sell books of poetry! So many nature books. And all the info, about a bus, that does not run on weekends. 

I stood next to the gas station and tried to channel my inner Even Cowgirls Get the Blues chick. No one pulled over. Probably I should try longer than 20 minutes. Instead I walked over to the RV park. $28 for a shower and electricity and flushy toilets. A touch of wifi. A real roof for the afternoon thunder shower.

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