We left Sunday afternoon for the long drive to California and proceed to drive hours through the middle of nowhere. Highway 6 in Nevada has got to be one of the boringest roads ever. We found a lovely motel in Tonopah called the Clown Motel. The name scared me a lot, but the price was good. The hotel was decorated in clowns, not my choice of décor, but it was clean and functioning and most of all cheap so it worked for a night.
Back to the road, we made it to Yosemite before lunch and entered the east side on the Tioga Road. It’s not the prettiest part of Yosemite, quite a bit like what are mountains are here and I don’t need to drive hours to see that. We did climb the Lembert Dome which was a four mile hike to the top of a granite capped mountain. It’s a good way to wimp out of hiking half-dome. Peter hiked a lot too.
We camped up at Hodgdon’s Meadow. It was a bit far from things but at least in the park (reservations aren’t plentiful a month before going). That evening we made a stop to Bridal Veil Falls and then to the store to buy everything we forgot, including a can opener and flashlights. I’m miffed about the flashlights. I love a good headlamp. A cheap flashlight was not a good replacement.
The next morning we went down to Mariposa grove to see the Sequoias. We took the bus down (Peter quite enjoyed that), and enjoyed a stroll through the forest. I absolutely love old-growth forests with huge trees. We went back up to Yosemite Valley and took a bike ride to Mirror Lake. It wasn’t much of lake, but was a fun ride. Joe set to work building something with sand and Peter and I waded around the creek. There was a good view of half-dome there too. We visited the visitor’s center and finished by hiking to lower falls.
Back at camp we had our only camp fire of the week. (I really don’t like camp fires.) We cooked hot dogs and strawberry marshmallows and Peter didn’t get burned. (Last trip he picked up a hot hot-dog stick and burned his hand pretty good.) That was it for Yosemite—we camped up and drove out the next morning.
We went through agriculture paradise mixed with very dry areas to visit Joe’s brother in Pacific Grove. After a short visit, we went down the coast to camp at Limekiln State Park. It is a beautiful place to camp. We were about 100 yards from the beach. There were also areas up in a redwood grove.
The next morning, we hiked the few trails in the park. That was probably the most serene, fun and pretty part of the whole trip. There was a 100 ft waterfall, lots of redwoods, creeks, and the lime kilns for which the park was named. The kilns were much bigger than expected and pretty cool to see as they gradually eroded into the landscape. On our way back a random guy hailed us. He recognized us from the Yosemite campground. We were neighbors for a couple of nights there, and then ended up in the same campground 5 hours away. Very random.
We drove to a few other State Parks, including a cool waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer state park, and another less-cool one at Big Spur. That one involved a hot, ugly trail up to it. The original trail went thought the cool redwoods, but had been burned out and instead we bypassed the redwoods for a steep, shrubby slope. We went to Pfeiffer Beach in the afternoon and played in the sand. I even got a little nap in.
Friday we spent visiting Joe’s brother and family again. He had a double sea kayak that we took out on the ocean. Even Peter got a ride. We also took a very long walk over to Fisherman’s Warf for chowder and ice cream. It was a lot of fun to visit with them.
Saturday we drove home. It included a delicious lunch at Chili’s, which was wonderful except Peter threw up his huge pizza right after. He threw-up a total of five times before I wised up and gave him Dramamine. After that, he was so much happier. The drive home was long and almost uneventful. We ended up getting a flat tire 40 miles west of Wendover at 10:30 at night. Somehow we still made it home on the spare and pulled up at 2:30 am on Sunday.
Here’s a load of pictures to complete the long post. Enjoy.