16 June 2011

Gil has airconditioning and it works

Eventually our mail arrived in Mariposa allowing us to complete the process of insuring Gil (don't worry, he has been insured up until this point, we just needed to receive and return a form to the insurer). Our wait allowed Brad to do a spot of maintenance and put some sealant around the bedroom windows. Fingers crossed this means we no longer need to sleep with an emergency roll of paper towel under the pillow. Mariposa also gave Brad a taste of his own medicine when internet access was lost due to some dude stopping his car near our camp ground and taking advantage of the free wifi for a few hours, I don't think he was just checking his email.

The Sonora Pass was open, despite being an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet so we took this routeto cross the Sierra Nevada and it didn't disappoint. Brad and Gil had a considerable amount of fun with the 26% gradient on some of the slopes, Gil more so for the amount of petrol he was able to consume on the uphill climb. A considerable amount of snow banked the road, and we saw numerous snowboarders taking advantage of the cover. Although we didn't realise it at the time, there was also a marine base in the area, and on coming to the top of a particular incline, we were greeted with a number in uniform complete with serious guns. By far the best part of the journey was pulling over to take photos, to be faced with an even more stunning view in the opposite direction – it may or may not have made me cry.

Shortly after, in an attempt to avoid a recurrence of previous bad experiences, we called it a day early and spent an afternoon in the sun reading books and stalking wild life with a zoom lens. Brad has developed a thing for wildlife photography, something which he describes as hunting with a much nicer outcome (not that Brad's ever gone hunting that I am aware of).

The following day Brad and Gil had further fun on a road akin to a roller coaster, why it followed the natural ripples of the desert rather than being levelled remains a mystery. After being forced to take a small but unexpected detour thanks to Gil's love of drinking petrol at a great rate of knots we arrived in the middle of nowhere in the early afternoon to promptly be reminded we were definitely in the desert. The camp ground boasted the best showers in the area, and wasn't lying. They were fancier and cleaner than some nice hotels we've stayed in, which has left Brad wondering if there's now a video of me washing my hair doing the rounds on the internet. This idea was fuelled by an extremely openly advertised brothel just down the road. Did I mention this was a tiny town?

Our journey from Mariposa then took us via Las Vegas to stop in on the guy who provided Brad information on buying an RV while we were still in Aus. Vegas didn't grab us the first time we visited, nor the second time, so why we decided a third visit was necessary, I'm not quite sure. Brad's “friend” was as we expected, a bit odd, very opinionated, and generally disinterested in talking about travel (despite having allegedly travelled to 40 countries), places worth seeing in the US or even us, but seemed to enjoy ranting at length about a certain religion. It made for an interesting couple of hours, and he didn't do anything to dispel the American stereotype.

Eventually we were able to leave the city which by day feels like the morning after a particularly seedy night out (possibly one ending in a one night stand) and head back to a national park.

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