Every now and then you stumble across one of those really cool places. Not just a neat place, a welcome respite or spot to get a good meal. You know, a really cool place. One that you’ll fondly tell your friends and family to stop at if they are in the area. For various reasons we haven’t been hitting too many of those places. Until now. Maybe it has been the lack of cool places, or that we had been riding out afternoon thundershowers in the van for the past two weeks. Whatever the case, we stumbled onto the Tioga Gas Mart and the Whoa Nellie Deli just outside of Lee Vining, CA. This was one of those cool places. Jill read about this place in a free magazine and we had some people at one of our campgrounds swear by it. Plus there is live music on Thursdays and Sundays. OK, sounds good to us.
The idea was to create a good gas station with excellent food. Mission accomplished. We dove into fish tacos and lobster taquitos. And the world famous mango margaritas really are delish (if you’re staying for the band go ahead and treat yourself to a pitcher). Out under the front porch (Or is it the side porch?) the band plays while locals and tourists alike hang out. Our Sunday’s selection, The Akoustk 2. It really didn’t matter who was playing, we were just ready for some entertainment and glad to be out of the van. Turns out two guys playing acoustic covers of anything from Pink Floyd to Living Colour can be kinda fun. Cult of Personality acoustic…really? Really. Of course that one wasn’t as popular with the crowd as Stayin’ Alive, but to each their own.
A great moment in all this was when a couple of tour buses full of Euros shows up fresh from Yosemite. They wander into the gas station/deli and out onto the porch to take in the scene. Before long a few folks decide to get one of the American flags off the fence post and pose for a picture with Mono Lake in the background. Funny moment. Then a few more come over and do the same thing. And before you know it almost everyone of these tourists are getting their picture made with the flag. I’m sure we’re not the only ones who noticed, the ban played on, no one really batted an eye. Would Americans act this way in Europe?