Sunday, July 17, 2011

Driving to Yosemite

We woke up in San Francisco and loaded up on our way to Yosemite National Park.  We had heard from several people that they considered it to be one of the most beautiful places they’d ever been.  We were ready for another six-night stay in one location… especially one with a view!  And we weren’t driving up the coast this time, so we only had a four-hour drive!  Did you notice that I said “only” a four-hour drive.  It’s amazing how your perspective changes – a four-hour drive used to seem like forever! 

Our hotel at Yosemite was two miles from the park entrance.  When we booked this hotel several months ago, we had tried to get lodging inside of the park, but they were all booked for the dates and the length of time we wanted to stay.  As we got closer to the park entrance, we noticed that there wasn’t really any kind of grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, etc. nearby.  In fact, our hotel was the only one we had seen in the half hour before arriving.  And there had been only one gas station/convenience store, and that was ½ mile from our hotel.  Now we know why the hotel rates were ridiculous!

Now I know I have been spoiled with regards to hotels… it’s Scott’s fault!  But when we arrived at this hotel, I admit I was nervous.  I’m not a big fan of hotel rooms that open to the great outdoors, and this one did.  And I was the one who booked this one.  So after checking in, we headed to our room.  It had been so long since I booked it, I couldn’t remember anything about it.  I prayed… HARD… that it wouldn’t be a dump.  So I let Scott and the girls go in ahead of me so I could see their reaction first.  Luckily, all was well.  And then Scott opened the curtains to the sliding glass door to the balcony, and here was our view.  Whew!

After we got the car unloaded, we decided to drive on into the park to the visitor’s center so we could get some information to plan our visit.  It was about 4:00 PM, and we wondered where all the people were.  We had been told to expect long traffic delays… especially on July 4th weekend.  So far we weren’t seeing many cars, so we thought it was maybe just the time of day.  We passed through the entrance to the park, and here was our first fun site.

We drove just a bit further into the park and oh my goodness!  Gorgeous waterfall on the right.  So we stopped at the turnout to take some pictures.  We drove a bit further into the park and WOW!  A bigger waterfall on the left.  So we stopped again.  And again, and again, and again.  So many beautiful views, one right after the other, in one place. 

We had stopped off so many times to take pictures that it was getting late, and we still didn’t have any food supplies.  Not only were there no shops close by, but there were only a handful of restaurants (two at our hotel – expensive!) and I think maybe a couple inside the park somewhere but I’m thinking they weren’t cheap either.We finally made it a ways into the park and found a small grocery store.  And, yes, we should have stopped way before we got anywhere close to the park.  If Scott is reading this, I admit it was my fault that we didn’t.  At this point the closest grocery store with halfway decent prices was about two hours away, and that’s one way.  So we went into the park’s mini grocery store to get a few supplies for the next couple of days.

As we were loading our groceries into the car to head back to our hotel, Scott noticed a crowd of people about 50 yards away.  Well, curiosity killed the cat, so we went to check it out.  Might be a bear!  It was hard to see past the crowd, but all we could see was the front of a fire truck, and someone was taking pictures of people posing in front of it.  Still trying to figure out what was going on, we inched forward.  Standing in front of the fire truck was a huge trophy.  Seems that the “Stanley Cup” was on tour, and a photographer was snapping pictures of whoever wanted to pose with it.  Scott took the girls toward the front for a picture, and then we both decided we should jump in it too.  Then they gave us a business card with a website to be able to download the free picture.  Once again, in the right place at the right time.

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