Tioga Gas and Whoa Nellie Deli sign mono lake california

Best Convenience Store EVER?!

Brendan Leonard takes us to what may be the pinnacle of roadside convenience.

Tioga Gas and Whoa Nellie Deli. Photo by Jim Heaphy mono lake california
Tioga Gas and Whoa Nellie Deli. Photo by Jim Heaphy

ONCE IN A WHILE, I hear about something so bizarre that it makes me question reality. Often, I find out it’s some kind of hoax, and I can go back to my normal existence. Once in a while, however, I look it up, and find what shocked me to my core is real.

The Dirtbag Diaries podcast hurtled a real life-changer in my direction with its episode “The Mobil.”

I’ll never think of rest stops the same way again.

“The American convenience store is one of the best things about road travel. Each store is a unique expression of local tastes, an effort to meet the needs and prey on the boredom and hunger of drivers and passengers.”

Brendan Leonard tells a story about a gas station that is so much more than just a place to buy gas, or stock up on bald eagle t-shirts. The Tioga Gas Mart and Whoa Nellie Deli just outside Yosemite National Park has become a destination in itself.

Sure, I have convenience stores that I frequent on oft-traveled stretches of highway, enjoying a specialty sausage hot-off-the-roller, or the rare, but awesome, hands-free milkshake machine. But, a destination?

Five words: live music and trapeze lessons.

If that’s not enough to start planning a trip, I don’t know what is. If you’re still not convinced, listen to Leonard tell the story HERE.

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About this author:

Eric Warren editor photographer travel writerEric Warren has an unhealthy love of  all types of transportation, and is addicted to long stretches of open road.

More by this author:

American Gods Roadtrip
Montana Roadtrip in 1,062 Images
5 Awesome Geysers in Yellowstone that aren’t Old Faithful


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