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Coast to coast

June 30, 2011

Malerie Yolen-Cohen, a journalist from Stamford, Conn. traveled the whole of U.S. 6, virtually from coast to coast, in her Toyota Prius. The adventure has taken her through 14 states over 3,000 miles and across dozens of local attractions, including museums in the Eastern Sierra. Photo submitted

A cross-country trip on U.S. 6 will bring travelers through a number of small towns and across even more scenic stops, but, according to Malerie Yolen-Cohen, Inyo County’s attractions have been some of the best so far.
Yolen-Cohen, a Stamford, Conn. resident and travel writer, is making the trip from Provincetown, Mass. to Long Beach, the traditional beginning and end of U.S. 6. Along the way, she has been blogging about her adventures.
Over the course of her trip, which began May 20 and will end this weekend, Yolen-Cohen has traveled through 14 states and countless small towns, soaking in the myriad sights along the way.
The end result of her cross-country road trip will be a book titled “Six Weeks on Six,” which will tell readers about some of the best attractions and dining in each small town in which she has stopped.
Yolen-Cohen said she hopes to have her book finished by the end of the year, but those who are interested in her travels may visit her blog at http://stayonroute6.blogspot.com/.
“I love road trips, and a lot of my articles are about road trips I’ve taken, but I’ve never done a cross-country trip, and U.S. 6 is one of the only highways that isn’t an inter-state,” she said. “I wanted to stick to a two-lane highway as much as possible, and U.S. 6 was a transcontinental road that people can actually take from the East Coast to the West Coast.”
Yolen-Cohen has had many adventures since the beginning of her journey, including a private demonstration by the Western Airs, a group of young, civic-minded trick horse riders near Denver, Colo., and dozens of good meals and friendly faces.
“I’ve had a lot of highlights,” she said. “I’ve been very surprised by the sophistication of some of the small western states. I’ve met some incredible people in the small towns.”
U.S. 6 officially ends at the north end of Bishop, but Yolen-Cohen has opted to follow the historic route, taking her through the Eastern Sierra down into the roaring metropolis of Los Angeles.
Monday evening she stayed in a room at Benton Hot Springs Bed and Breakfast before hitting the last leg of her journey.
While in Inyo County, she had an opportunity to meet some friendly faces, take a tour of Bishop and see popular museums in Independence, Manzanar and Lone Pine.
Upon arrival in Bishop, Yolen-Cohen met with Patty Holton and Susanne Olson of the Bishop Mural Society. After snapping a quick picture at the road sign that marks the start – or end, in Yolen-Cohen’s case – of U.S. 6, Olson and Holton took her on a tour of some of Bishop’s local murals, giving her a little insight into some of the history of the Owens Valley.
“I got a sneak peak at the new ceramic mural at the library. That was phenomenal,” she said. “The individual tiles were very cool.
“Bishop is great. It’s nice and clean and the stores are nice.”
From Bishop, Yolen-Cohen headed down to Independence and made a stop at the Eastern California Museum, where she was able to see some of the history that Holton and Olson had told her about.
She said that her tour of Bishop’s mural had come with a brief history lesson on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the famed L.A. aqueduct, but at the Eastern California Museum, she had an opportunity to see photographic evidence of the things she had learned in Bishop.
“I loved the Eastern California Museum. I was fascinated by the exhibits they had on mountain climbing. One of my sons is a climber.”
In Lone Pine she made a stop at the Lone Pine Museum of Film History, where she took in a couple short films from years gone by.
“I loved the short films. I had no idea that most of the old cowboy movies were filmed there.”
After seeing celluloid images of the Alabama Hills, Yolen-Cohen couldn’t resist, and made a detour to the famed filming location to see it for herself.
“It’s been a great six weeks. I’ve been through 14 states, avoided tornados and have had some good luck. I just hope my good fortune stays,” she said.
Due to problems with her laptop, blog updates on the last few days of her journey are not guaranteed, but she promised that, once she has the ability, she will post a blog about her adventures in Inyo County.

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