Gas and go

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

   Where to get gas is always an issue for trips to Yosemite. When I leave San Jose-by-the-sea, I can usually make it to Oakdale before answering the call of nature. There I can drain one tank and fill another. I have found a plethora of gas stations at this gigantic truck stop of a town. Don’t pull into the very first one you see. The name brand gas stations are all good for at least a dime to a quarter more than the no names. I am a believer that gas is gas is gas.(Unless it’s the rip off Ethanol that is being foisted on other locales.)  It’s all the same. Rotten Robbie, Terrible Herbst and 7-11 all provide fuel that is fine for your engine. Unless your machine is pinging or you a flying in a Hemi, you don’t need anything more than regular. Oakdale has an Arco conveniently next to a Burger King. “15 gallons and a Whopper to go, please.” Actually, the 7-11 is pretty cheap as is this Quick Stop and the similar sounding Kwik Serve station.




      If you come in via Highway 140 through Merced, I find that the bargain basement price is found at a market on the right, just after Highway 99. Look to your right in an older strip mall. They seem to beat the other cheapies by 3-5 cents every time I go this way. Whether you top off in Oakdale or Merced, you should be good for the round trip. The only gas near the valley is at Crane Flat. Be prepared to leave bags of cash there. If you forget and need gas – you can always stop at the 24 hour automated pumps at El Portal.


     This one takes gold dust for payment.  Plan on a buck-50 a gallon more here. But then they do have to get it here, so you gotta pay the fare.  I need help from readers who come via Highway 41 and 120/395.  Where do you gas up near Oakhurst and Lee Vining?

     Finally, an observation.  I’m in Las Vegas attending a car event. It’s in the mid 80’s this week. So what is with women wearing tank tops and shorts AND calf high fuzzy furry winter boots?

     Oprah postscript: The park is for ALL citizens and they are concerned that segments of the population are not coming.  Many groups cannot afford the admission, hotel fees and other expenses. Those issues need to be addressed. The NPS, Sheldon Johnson and Oprah are not trying to get more business for the park, but to make African Americans more aware that it’s their park, too. 

Unrelated thought worth quoting:Get it on, bang a gong, get it on.” – Trex

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


5 Responses to “Gas and go”

  1. john Says:

    Most every station in Oakhurst is cheap. Coursegold also runs cheap. There is a station about 5 miles toward Yosemite out of Fresno that also tries to be the cheapest along Highway 41. However, normally the Absolute Cheapest prices will be in downtown Fresno. You have to search around there too, but there is always someone running way cheap to bump pop and cigarette sales

  2. mrhalfdome Says:

    Thanks….Fresno is a bit too far to do a round trip in/out and around the park for me to risk.

  3. Joyce Says:

    I understand your route, the direction you are coming from. You don’t pass through Oakhurst. We come from San Diego and we seem to have pretty good luck with gas prices. As well as can be expected. The gas immediately outside of the valley is outrageous. Kind of like up and down the coast at times. Isolated places can charge what they want.

    I agree with your Oprah postscript. And, if anyone is giving her grief for trying to show African Americans what is out there, they need to get over it. Her show was not biased in anyway. Did you happen to see the people she was hanging out with?

    I loved the show, I loved her message, and I loved the way she viewed Yosemite. That is the reaction I love to see.

  4. Sönke Says:

    If you are entering the Tioga Road from the east your chances to get cheap gas are VERY limited. There’s the Tioga Gas Mart & Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining a few miles before you enter YNP. However unless absolutely necessary don’t refuel there as the prices will challenge those from the automated pumps in El Portal. Instead take a break and enjoy the excellent food at the Whoa Nellie Deli (during my last visit at the end of September I enjoyed a fantastic Swordfish Sandwich).

    If you are driving 395 north (maybe coming from LV/Death Valley/Grand Canyon etc.) you’ll drive through Lone Pine, Big Pine and Bishop. Nothing is cheap on the east side of the Sierra Nevada but usually you get the best gas deals in Bishop because there are a couple of gas stations to choose from. So I usually fill up in Bishop.

    If you take the 95 coming from LV probably your only choice is Beatty which does have a gas station with surprisingly moderate prices. But it’s still a few hours driving to YNP from there.

    @Joyce: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Oprah. To be honest I even enjoy watching her show once in a while. However from my point of view it’s totally unnecessary to exploit certain weaknesses of African Americans. It’s just reconfirming old prejudices.

    @John: did you spend a lot of time in Fresno?! I wouldn’t recommend driving around in downtown and other parts of Fresno unless you know exactly what you are doing. Fresno’s crime rate in certain areas is way above the nations average ( and Fresno had a lot of gang-related problems lately.

    • john Says:

      Yes, I spend a lot of time in and around Fresno. It always seems safe along the main shopping strips. The first time I visited, I was totally unfamiliar with the area, and exited the highway into Selma. This was Sunday July 5th and I immediately encountered a police sobriety checkpoint. People told me Selma had a lot of riff raff, and not to stay in a cheap motel. The Super 8 people recommended was quiet and safe. I asked the manager to keep an eye on my car all night, and parked right next to hers. The only real trouble I have had in California is San Francisco vagrants. There is one young black man that hangs out around the downtown library all day. He always approaches me and asks for a quarter, or tries to sell me used newspapers. I saw him receive a free sandwich from a charity, but he did not know I saw that. A short time later, he told me the sandwich was drugs he could sell me. I told him I’d seen him receive the sandwich. No wonder the library has armed security guards watching everyone. With all the driving I do, I should really have a gun, but I don’t do guns.

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