2011 BMW 528i: More From Yosemite
November 20, 2010
We left Yosemite in the 2011 BMW 528i determined to take the Tioga Pass out of the park. Our only obstacle was the weather, which was rolling in quickly from the east and threatened to close the pass before we made it. We crossed our fingers and hit the road.
The drive out and more pictures in Yosemite after the jump.
We left our hotel in Wawona around midday, leaving time for the Tunnel View turnout. This spot is just off of Highway 41 and offers the first glimpse of the park if you're coming in from the west. It's a must see. Weather was cooperating at this point.
As the elevation gained we encountered pockets of dark clouds and rain. At some locations we even saw snow on the ground, remnants of the prior weekend's storm. To our surprise we reached the pass and it was open. We made it.
Just hours after we reached the Lee Vining (and the lone Mobil station) at the base of Tioga, we learned that the pass was closed due to snowfall. And from what we heard at the time, it was not likely to open again this season. That made the adventure that much more rewarding.
What else can I add about the 528i as a road trip car? It's summer tires feel confident in the rain. We hit plenty of the wet stuff on the Yosemite-to-Vegas leg of our trip. We hit some small patches eastbound on Highway 168 and larger patches southbound on Highway 95 through Death Valley. There wasn't a hint of traction loss on the straight stuff and very little on the twisty sections.
I'll tell you what, though. The 5 Series is not immune to crosswinds. A handful of gusts through the desert were enough to keep a tired driver awake. All in all it was a great road trip. We even won in Vegas.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager