Although the area seems relatively flat, the snow and trees give a clue. Just a few miles after leaving Mammoth, highway 395 hits the altimeter at 8,036 feet at Deadman Summit.
The tiny town of Lee Vining sits to the west of the lake, a nice rest stop along the highway. Closer to the lake, fans of Clint Eastwood movies might recognize the area of the town he had painted red in High Plains Drifter.
Just north of town, you can pull off to see the crazy tufa formations at the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve.
After crossing into Nevada, we stop in Gardnerville to have dinner at the Overland Hotel. It’s a creaky old place with a bar and a dining room serving Basque fare.