Published: May 18th 2013May 18th 2013
Contd..... Chapter 2.
Two days driving about 700 miles to get to Yosemite and what a drive it was - we climbed up to the Tioga Pass and this was a high mountain road( 56 miles)looking down into deep valleys....but the road was wide, well maintained and not scarey to drive ( have been on worse roads in France!!)we were above the snow line and you could see why this road had only been opened 2 days earlier.
We passed by meadows, rushing mountain rivers and streams, waterfalls - these mountains are massive white granite with smoothed tops - quite stunning...and beautiful rock. Hodgon Meadows campsite ( I had booked it ages ago - and you need to because otherwise you don't get a site) was on the Western side of the park so we had had this wonderful beautiful drive right across the park to get there. All that driving was worth it. We had a lovely campsite in the forest - and best of all - a FIREPIT - to keep Tracie happy. I had just about got parked when she was out Billybob tearing up paper, throwing on kindling and logs...( oh yes as we crossed
the California state line there was a vehicle inspection and the guy had to look at our wood and say if it was possible to bring it into California ) - we had bought it at Grand Canyon and it was all wrapped - so he passed it- good thing or Tracie would have gone mad!!) A little bit of firelighting know-how and patience and having watched Ray Mears and after a while with a bit of help we had a good fire blazing. So this is where the pine cones come in - as we arrived beneath these enornous trees a HUGE pinecone fell - yes as big as a wine bottle it was !!!! And we decided to save that one for the next night's fire... but Tracie was chief pinecone gatherer for the rest of the evening.
It was good to have 2 nights at Yosemite and we spent the next day in the Yosemite Valley - taking the shuttle to various points and walking - Yosemite Falls , Mirror Lake and after lunch at the posh hotel , Awanhee, and a change in the weather we set off again down the valley and puuled in
at more photo spots. It is certainly a most beautiful place and you could spend days there of course. And oh yes when the sign says steep 1 mile climb it did mean it - 1 mile down a STEEP zig zag path was easy to see a grove of giant sequoias but 1 mile back up - was knackering!!! Altogether we walked about 6 miles that day. And back at camp our neighbour had found another giant pinecone for us and so it was a ceremonial burning of the the giants as we sat by the fire and drank our beers.
Bye bye Yosemite ( at 6am- yes we are up with the larks!!) and onwards to San Francsico - good job Suz for driving us into the city in heavy traffic and a jam for miles where a truck had overturned...we had done almost 2000 miles when we said goodbye to Billybob 2 and got a taxi to the luxury of Hotel Donatello only a block from Union Square - so a great location. Yosemite had no electric or water hookups so we had been lving a bt "primitive" and it was lovely to have a long
hot shower and proper toilet!!!
And the allusion to handbags - well yes we are surrounded by lots and lots of lovely shops - so it didn't take long for the girls to change from champion seekers of pinecones to seeking out the best handbag bargains.
We have had 3 days in San Fran - I love the city and we have been out and about on hop on/off buses and also walked and walked ... more on that later ... Today ( Saturday) the girls fly back to UK and I get my rental car and will be driving off up the California Coast to Oregon, Portland and Seattle - another 1000 miles to go.
And yes Jocelyne we have had the clam chowder in a bread bowl.
Lv to all xx
There are more photos below