A Departure from “Vacation Mode”

Days 31 – 40

After pushing reasonably hard for a month, we took advantage of Park of the Sierra’s low normal rates and a one-time special offer of seven days for the price of four. We were able to enjoy full hookups (although we did have restrictions on washer and dishwasher use) and 50A service in a quiet RV community, all for an effective rate of less than $15/day. Quite a deal.

I had figured that by the time we reached here, 3500 trailer miles from home, we would be ready for a break, and I was right. Even Oma seemed ready for a little break. Although the park was a bit farther from Yosemite Valley than I would have liked, our stay here was exactly what I hope many of our stops become in the future.

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Park of the Sierras

We are members of several rv organizations which gives us a lot of discounts and flexibility in choosing where to stay. We found Park of the Sierras, a lovely park near Yosemite Park which is available to Escapee members only. It’s not a campground and not typical of the average rv park. It’s a community really.

This building holds the community center, office and laundry
This building holds the community center, office and laundry

There is a clubhouse, complete with books, dvd’s, beverage and snack machines, big tv, lots of tables, some big stuffed chairs and sofas, and tons of space for visiting, etc. Attached to the clubhouse is a large laundry room. You can’t use your own washer or dishwasher because the detergents ruin their septic system. There are many planned activities that visitors are also encouraged to participate in, such as crafts, line dancing, eating out excursions, etc.

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Back to Yosemite

Yosemite Valley as the rain clears
Yosemite Valley as the rain clears
Upper and lower Yosemite Falls
Upper and lower Yosemite Falls

I had been to Yosemite in the early 90’s for a couple of days following a business trip to Silicon Valley. I didn’t have a lot of time, but had managed to do some day-hikes in and near the Valley. It was early April and there was still snow on the trails, but I hiked up to the top of Yosemite Falls (I was younger and in much better shape back then), did another hike (don’t recall which one, other than about 30% was actually snow traversal – the trail was buried somewhere below the snow), and hit one of the Sequoia groves on the way out. But mostly I remember how busy Yosemite Valley seemed in early April.

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“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” —John Muir

Awesome! I am finding it difficult to describe this spectacular place! Unsurpassed beauty! Magnificent! Towers of  granite mountains and cliffs with waterfalls toppling over them surrounding and protecting serene valleys and meadows below. I’ve never witnessed such spectacular nature!

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There Is No Paradise

Relaxing by the water
Relaxing by the water

Or another way of putting it is, “nothing is perfect.” Actually, this little phrase came up with another couple at the Sequoia RV Ranch. This nice RV park was located right on a sweet, trickling brook. The river sounded so soothing as it rolled over and around the rocks in its bed. We paid the price to have a site overlooking this beautiful scene complimented with birds flitting amongst the trees and bushes. It was lovely, almost paradise. But just keep looking at the river because if you look away, you will see a lot of campers who all also want that little piece of paradise. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t great. And I got my full hookups so that I could catch up with laundry and take long showers. I really can’t complain too much. But…

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Walking through the majestic forests of Sequoia National Park was spectacular
Walking through the majestic forests of Sequoia National Park was spectacular
Day 28

As we were staying near civilization for the first time since Texas, we had some chores to take care of. Most important was replacing my phone, which had taken an unplanned swim and did not survive. There was a Verizon store only 40 minutes away, so we did some chores in the morning and then headed into town.

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The Giants

Believe it or not, this tree is still alive! Over its lifetime of a couple of thousand years, fire and other calamities have hollowed out much of the base, allowing a great look at just how big these trees are.
Believe it or not, this tree is still alive! Over its lifetime of about two thousand years, fire and other calamities have hollowed out much of the base, providing a unique perspective of just how big these trees are.

Finally, I have learned the difference between the redwood trees and the sequoia trees. The coastal redwoods are the tallest trees while the sequoias are the largest by volume. The sequoias may not be quite as tall as the redwoods but they are much wider. I have been to the redwood forests a few times and admired the beauty of these tall beautiful trees but I’ve never seen a sequoia. Until now.



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A brief desert interlude

Day 25

There is a lot of desert between the Grand Canyon and Sequoia National Park, our next destination. We allowed ourselves three days for the 600 mile drive. And once again, once we hit the road, we just kept going. We ended up just short of Barstow, CA at a small RV park in the desert with less than 250 miles to our final destination.

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From Cold to Hot – Hello Mohave Desert

IMG_4490It was 40 degrees when we left the Grand Canyon. Nice and cool. But as we headed west and entered into a very dry barren land, it was hot. Ok, it was only 80 degrees, actually a very cool day for the desert, but it was a big change and hot for me.

We drove for 360 miles before stopping. In the barren desert. Really, you can see for miles and miles and miles! Continue reading “From Cold to Hot – Hello Mohave Desert”

Arizona National Parks

A dramatic sky over the Blue Mesas. No sunset for us due to the clouds.
A dramatic sky over the Blue Mesas, but no sunset for us due to the clouds.
Day 20

We were up early to explore the Petrified Forest National Park. The road through the park is 28 miles. With trail walks and pictures, we figured it would take most of the day.

Petrified wood
A petrified log near the visitor’s center

The temperature was very pleasant when we started and the forecast was calling for highs only in the mid-80’s, cooler than I had expected. We checked out the visitor’s center, watched the short film, and walked Big Trees and Crystal Forest trails. We had not realized that the Long Logs trail started at the visitor’s center, so since we had already moved on, we decided to defer it to the next morning. It was really nice to have only a handful of people on the trails. I always feel really lucky when we can be someplace beautiful and not have to deal with crowds of people.

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