The most frightening day of driving in my life - nothing short of stupid. After waiting a few days for the Tioga Pass to open,
with it still closed we decided to cross the Sierra-Nevada mountain range on the Sonora Pass. A few people told us
it was steeper and not that easy for a motor home, but it was possible. Crossing the Sonora Pass was easy compared
to the Wards Ferry Road (marked 2 on the map below) on the other side of the pass. We used our computer navigation system (Street Atlas USA) to determine
the quickest route and it sent us on some back country roads that started out quaint - passing through local
farms with llamas, sheep and lots of horses. But every few miles, the roads would get more
narrow and the turns more sharp. By the time we realized the road wasn't for us, it was
seemingly impossible to turn around so we continued on hoping, and eventually praying
in terror that our nightmare would end. There was about a 45 minute period where we were
on a steep, one-lane mountain road, with sheer cliffs on one side and jutting rock walls
on the other. The outside wheels were on the edge of the cliff while the roof of the
motor home was close to the rock walls. There were seemingly-constant blind switchbacks, so we were
frequently blowing the horn to hopefully prevent a head-on crash. Three times we encountered head-on traffic where
we stopped and waited for the other cars to back up to a place where we could move forward, then stop, then allow them to
squeeze by us. We crossed two rivers. One was the Tuolumne River - it had a nice two-lane bridge.
The second was Deer Creek and only had a narrow one-lane bridge.
The turn onto the Deer Creek bridge was so sharp, with no maneuvering room; it took
us about 10 minutes of moving forward and back just to get onto the bridge. Fortunately we
had no trouble getting off it on the other side. Most fortunately, we managed to get back
to a decent road. All three of us were miserable on this road, and it upset us for the
remainder of our drive into Yosemite National Park and back out to our campground at
Indian Flat, just outside El Portal. Looking back, no matter how hard it would have been,
I should have backed up for however long it would have taken to get off that horrible road.
If you ever find yourself in this area of the country IN A CAR I would recommend driving this road for the experience and beautiful views. But in anything else, stay far, far away.
At stop 1 on the map, we had lunch and saw the river being stocked with trout
Janet throwing a snowball at me on the top of Sonora Pass
The driver's view of the snow on the Sonora Pass
Ward's Ferry Road - Directly south from Soulsbyville to Big Oak Flat
Lee Vining, CA over the 1-Sonora Pass, across 2-Wards Ferry Road, into and out of 3-Yosemite National Park to Indian Flat Campground near El Portal, CA - 200 Hard Miles